Forensic Science, B.S.

Program Code: FRNSC_BS

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to the Forensic Science major, a student must have:

  1. attained at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average
  2. completed and earned a grade of C or better in each of the following courses: CHEM 110, CHEM 111, CHEM 112, FRNSC 210, and MATH 140.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Science, a minimum of 124-126 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 97-99

18 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 3 credits of GH courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CHEM 110Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 111Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course1
CHEM 112Chemical Principles II Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 113Experimental Chemistry II Keystone/General Education Course1
CHEM 210Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 212Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 213Laboratory in Organic Chemistry2
FRNSC 100Introduction to Forensic Science Keystone/General Education Course3
FRNSC 210Essential Practices of Forensic Science3
FRNSC 400Courtroom Proceedings and Testimony1
FRNSC 410A Scientific Approach to Crime Scene Investigation2
FRNSC 411Criminalistics: Trace and Impression Evidence3
FRNSC 413Criminalistics: Biology3
FRNSC 415WLaboratory in Crime Scene Investigation2
FRNSC 475Forensic Science Seminar1
FRNSC 485WCoalescence of Forensic Science Concepts.4
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
PHIL 132Bioethics Keystone/General Education Course3
STAT 250Introduction to Biostatistics Keystone/General Education Course3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CRIM 100Introduction to Criminal Justice Keystone/General Education Course3
or CRIM 113 Introduction to Law
Select one of the following sequences:8
General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course
and General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Physics I Keystone/General Education Course
and Introductory Physics II Keystone/General Education Course
Requirements for the Option
Select an option34-36

Requirements for the Option

Forensic Biology Option (36 credits)
Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
BMB 251Molecular and Cell Biology I3
BMB 400Molecular Biology of the Gene3
BMB 401General Biochemistry3
BMB 442Laboratory in Proteins, Nucleic Acids, and Molecular Cloning3
FRNSC 421WForensic Molecular Biology4
MICRB 201Introductory Microbiology3
MICRB 202Introductory Microbiology Laboratory2
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
BIOL 222Genetics3
or BIOL 322 Genetic Analysis
Select two of the following:6
Molecular Evolution
Advanced Genetics
Human Genetics
General Biochemistry
Physical Chemistry with Biological Applications
Molecular and Cellular Toxicology
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 6 credits in consultation with adviser6
Forensic Chemistry Option (34 credits)
Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
BIOL 110Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course4
BIOL 230WBiology: Molecules and Cells Keystone/General Education Course4
CHEM 227Analytical Chemistry4
CHEM 425WChromatography and Electrochemistry4
FRNSC 427WForensic Chemistry4
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select three of the following:9
Physical Chemistry with Biological Applications
Inorganic Chemistry
Transition Metal Chemistry
Chemical Spectroscopy
Structural Analysis of Organic Compounds
Organic and Inorganic Preparations
Physical Chemistry - Thermodynamics
Physical Chemistry - Quantum Chemistry
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 6 credits in consultation with adviser6

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Noelle Waggett, M.Ed.
Academic Adviser
235 Ritenour Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-9572
nrw107@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Biology Option : Forensic Science, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 110*#†3CHEM 112*#†3
CHEM 111*#†1CHEM 113*†1
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡†4
PSU 161FRNSC 100*3
CRIM 100*3General Education Course3
ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 153 
 15 14
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 210*3CHEM 212*3
BMB 251*3CHEM 213*2
PHYS 211 (consult with an academic advisor for alternative options))*†4MICRB 201*3
FRNSC 210*#3MICRB 202* 2
General Education Course3STAT 250 (consult an academic adviser for alternative options)*3
 PHYS 212 (consult with an academic adviser for alternative options)*†4
 16 17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 222 (consult with an academic adviser for alternative options)*3BMB 401* 3
FRNSC 410* 2FRNSC 411* 3
FRNSC 4133FRNSC 415W*2
CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C3PHIL 132 (consult an academic adviser for alternative options)*†3
General Education Course3ENGL 202C, 202A, 202B, or 202D3
 Supporting course (consult with an academic adviser for options)*3
 14 17
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BMB 400*3FRNSC 485W*4
Supporting course (consult with an academic adviser for options)*3FRNSC 475*1
General Education Course3Supporting course (consult with an academic adviser for options)*3
General Education Course 3FRNSC 421*4
BMB 442*3General Education Course3
FRNSC 4001Supporting course (consult with an academic adviser for options)*3
 16 18
Total Credits 127

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Chemistry Option: Forensic Science, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 110*#†3CHEM 112*#†3
CHEM 111*#†1CHEM 113*†1
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡†4
PSU 161FRNSC 100*3
CRIM 100*3General Education Course3
ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 153General Education Course3
 15 17
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 210*3CHEM 212*3
FRNSC 210*#3CHEM 213*2
PHYS 211*†4STAT 250 (consult with an academic adviser for alternative options)*3
General Education Course3PHYS 212 (consult with an academic adviser for alternative options)*†4
BIOL 110*†4BIOL 230W*4
 17 16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C3PHIL 132 (consult with an academic adviser for alternative options)*† 3
CHEM 227*4FRNSC 413*3
FRNSC 411*3Supporting course (consult with an academic adviser for options)*3
Supporting course (consult with an academic adviser for options)*3General Education Course3
FRNSC 410*2Supporting course (consult with an academic adviser for options)*3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
General Education Course3FRNSC 485W*4
Supporting course (consult with an academic adviser for options)*3FRNSC 475*1
Supporting course (consult with an academic adviser for options)*3General Education Course3
FRNSC 400*1ENGL 202C, 202A, 202B, or 202D3
FRNSC 415W*2FRNSC 427*4
CHEM 425W*4 
 16 15
Total Credits 126

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Accreditation

Our degree programs in Forensic Science are accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). FEPAC promotes academic quality through formal accreditation of forensic science programs. Meeting FEPAC guidelines assures the public that our programs are of the highest quality.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ACCREDITATION BY THE FORENSIC SCIENCE EDUCATION PROGRAMS ACCREDITATION COMMISSION

Contact

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
329 Whitmore Lab
University Park, PA 16802
814-867-2465
mrd1@psu.edu

http://forensics.psu.edu/