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Forensic Science

Overview

Forensic science is the intersection of scientific investigation and the search for justice. While television crime procedurals have turned the field into a pop culture phenomenon, the real-life work of solving crimes happens in the lab, where you’ll apply physical, natural and social science to civil and criminal law. You’ll learn how to answer questions like: Does a DNA sample match the suspect? Is the signature on a document a forgery? What can the blood spatter pattern from a shooting reveal about the how a crime was committed?

Hofstra’s Forensic Science program is interdisciplinary, with a strong grounding in chemistry as well as significant coursework in biology, physics, math, law, psychology and even photography. Our laboratories feature state-of-the-art instrumentation – equipment universally found in modern forensic laboratories, industrial and institutional facilities.

Your professors are working professionals who bring decades of experience in courtrooms and at crime scenes into the classroom. Among our faculty, you’ll find forensic scientists and expert analysts from the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, and the crime labs for the New York Police Department, and the Suffolk and Nassau County Police departments. They are document examiners, ballistics and firearms experts, arson analysts, crime scene investigators, forensic pharmacologists, microscopists and trace analysts, accident scene reconstructionists and explosive experts.

Their real-world perspective and professional networks will give you a significant edge as you compete for internships and jobs, whether your interest lay in a career as a forensic investigator or analyst, or in pursuing an advanced degree or professional studies in forensic science, law, medicine or dentistry.

Curriculum

The BS in Forensic Science provides students with a strong foundation in physical and natural sciences and acquaints them with various aspects of the legal system. The program is housed in the Department of Chemistry.

Up-to-date information about required classes and more is available in the Hofstra Bulletin.

BA in Forensic Science

Students learn how to examine, process and compare all types of criminal evidence, including drug analysis, DNA analysis, crime scene processing and reconstruction. They’ll also develop meticulous research and analytical skills, as well as learning how to present complex scientific findings in a clear, accessible way.  All students also must complete an internship.

First-year students start with the seminar class - Survey in Forensic Science, which introduces select topics in the field and some of the physical, chemical and instrumental methods used by detectives and forensic scientists to investigate evidence at the crime scene or in the laboratory. Topics include identifying physical evidence, forensic investigative techniques, and chemical and instrumental methods of analyzing evidence.  All majors also take Forensic Expert Witness Testimony, which is a collaboration with Hofstra law students to teach the skills necessary to conduct and participate in trials that use expert testimony. The class uses mock trial situations in which law and forensic science students play roles as prosecutors, defense attorneys and expert witnesses.

Forensic Science may also be taken as a minor to complement majors like criminology, journalism, biology, and psychology.

Recent Alumni Outcomes

A forensic science degree from Hofstra prepares students for a wide range of careers in the public and private sector, including law enforcement agencies, government labs, and private companies that specialize in varying types of forensic analysis. The job and salary outlook depends on the career path a student chooses.

About a quarter of our recent graduates reported average salaries of $60,000-a-year or more. Among their employers: Applied Forensics, Craneware Healthcare Informatics, Dartmouth Hitchcock Healthcare System, and Sustainable Innovations.

Our graduates also have gone on to advanced studies at prestigious institutions including: Harvard University Stanford University, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Wesleyan University, University of Virginia and George Washington University.

100% job, grad school or both
100% accepted a job within six months of graduation
$42K median salary
Get More Info on Program Outcomes

Internships/Experiential Learning

Students in Class

Internships are a key component of the Forensic Science major, and many students complete more than one during their time at Hofstra.

Some recent examples include: the Suffolk County Crime Lab, the Vermont Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Austin Police Department, Nassau County District Court, Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Students also take advantage of research opportunities with professors. The Dr. Bruce and Doris Lister Endowed Fellowship in Chemistry Research provides sophomore and junior chemistry majors with a $4,000 stipend and a grant to cover half of their on-campus housing costs to immerse themselves in a faculty-mentored research program over the summer.

Forensic science and chemistry students also participate in CSI Hofstra, an active student organization that holds career events and lectures, and attend conferences, including the Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists, where they connect with professionals in the field. The club also hosts weekly meetings where it provides hands-on activities relating to forensic laboratory practices.

Meet NICOLE HOMBURGER and Professor LING HUANG

Nicole Homburger, president of CSI Hofstra, is working with Associate Professor of Chemistry Ling Huang to identify the components of designer opioids, which are the source of a growing nationwide epidemic.  They hope their work will help law enforcement curb the distribution of the lethal drugs.


Forensic Science