Bachelor of Science in
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Biology provides students with a foundation in biology, chemistry, and law with the necessary course work to become a certified molecular biologist or chemist by the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) through examination upon graduation. Students will also accrue all of the prerequisite courses to continue into medical, dental, graduate, or law school, should they choose one of those paths.
The accompanying laboratory components within all of the biology and chemistry classes will offer ample hands-on experiences with techniques and equipment. In the Forensic Crime Scene Investigation Lab and the Forensic Biology Lab, students participate in evidence collection, crime scene investigation, tissue sampling and analysis, and DNA and biological specimen analysis techniques.
Led by faculty from science, law enforcement and judicial backgrounds, the program provides the necessary breadth and expertise to students’ studies. Students enrolled in this program will be part of a team of experts that has had and will continue to have an impact in forensic science.
Students have the chance to join Lambda Alpha Epsilon (ACJA-LAE), the ERAU chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association, as well as the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). Students can also opt to participate in annual national and regional competitions in crime scene investigation, firearms, physical agility, and academics, in addition to participating in undergraduate research projects with various faculty mentors.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics has predicted that employment opportunities for forensic science professionals will grow 17 percent from 2016 through 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Graduates of the Forensic Biology program often find jobs in local and state crime labs, private forensic labs, medical examiners’ offices, offices of prosecutors and defenders, the FBI, or even the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab, to name a few in the forensic branches. Students can also find gainful employment in medical research, biotechnology companies, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies.
About Forensic Biology at the Prescott, AZ Campus
At ERAU’s Prescott Campus, the B.S. in Forensic Biology degree program, housed within the Department of Biology and Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, combines the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and law to give students the skills and background needed by professionals in forensic science laboratories, law enforcement, and related fields.
Students will get the opportunity to work in four brand new laboratories with professional equipment and experts in the field, which will give graduates the knowledge and technical skills needed to confront issues in forensics that affect evidence acceptance and validation, as well as ethical dilemmas.
Students who have interests in analyzing evidence found at a crime scene, the justice system, medicine, and working in the outdoors should explore this growing, rewarding, and promising career field.
Core curriculum and program requirements in Forensic Biology are designed to give students fundamental science knowledge and demonstrate the ways in which biology, chemistry, and law integrate with aspects of their future careers.
Undergraduate research with faculty in specialized subject areas is a valuable way to increase knowledge through hands-on experience.
Travel to the annual national AAFS conference with faculty is highly encouraged and a great opportunity to network by meeting people in the field, which can lead to internship and job offers.
Study abroad opportunities include visiting internationally recognized forensics labs and tours of infamous crime scenes.
Get access to state-of-the-art labs and fieldwork opportunities locally from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. ERAU students have the chance to intern with that office’s Volunteers In Protection (VIP) program, assisting in criminal investigations, working with the forensics unit, cold case unit, and much more.
Prescott’s small campus atmosphere creates an ideal learning environment in which students interact closely with faculty, enhancing their educational experience.
Required internship or co-op gaining valuable hands-on experience in the student’s career of choice, in addition to valuable networking.
The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Biology curriculum brings together the disciplines of forensics, biology, chemistry, and law to give students the basic laboratory skills and theoretical background required of investigators and leading professionals in forensic science laboratories, law enforcement, pre-medical fields, research areas, and legal contexts.
Students in Forensic Biology take 123 credits. Students in the program need a solid foundation in science, which is achieved through 31 credit hours in biology and 20 credit hours in chemistry. All of the biology and chemistry courses have accompanying hands-on laboratory components. The students also take 19 credits from the SIS/SS curriculum to gain an understanding of law and the legal system and an understanding of the unique requirements for evidence in a court of law. A forensic internship/co-op is highly recommended between junior and senior years. The course of study for the program is completed with credits from the general education offerings, including several courses in math and communication.
It is recommended that students earn a C grade or better in core biology and chemistry courses before moving on to subsequent courses.
Suggested Program of Study
|Foundations of Biology I||4|
|Foundations of Biology II||4|
|General Chemistry I||4|
|General Chemistry II||4|
|COM 122||English Composition||3|
|MA 241||Calculus and Analytical Geometry I||4|
|PSY 101||Introduction to Psychology||3|
|UNIV 101||College Success *||(1)|
|Organic Chemistry I||4|
|Organic Chemistry II||4|
|COM 222||Business Communication||3|
or COM 221
|Technical Report Writing|
|SIS 220||Investigative Methodology and Forensic Science||4|
|SS 120||U.S. History||3|
or SS 204
|Introduction to Geography|
|BIO 302||Instrumental Analysis and Trace Evidence||3|
|Human Anatomy and Physiology I||4|
|IT 109||Introduction to Computers and Applications||3|
or CS 118
|Fundamentals of Computer Programming|
|MA 222||Business Statistics||3|
|PS 113||Introductory Physics I||3|
|SIS 200||Introduction to the U.S. Legal System||3|
|Molecular and Cell Biology||4|
|Forensic DNA Analysis||4|
|HU 330||Values and Ethics||3|
|Introductory Physics II||4|
|SIS 308||Courts and Criminal Justice||3|
|SIS 411||Procedural Laws and Evidence||3|
|SIS 421||History and Philosophy of Law/Jurisprudence||3|
|SS 320||Government of the U.S.||3|
UNIV 101 is taken in excess of degree requirements or meets open elective credit
To be completed between Junior and Senior years.
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Undergraduate Research Demonstrates a Less Invasive Way to Assess Wildlife Communities
In a collaboration between Embry-Riddle’s new Forensic Biology and Wildlife Science programs, an Embry-Riddle undergraduate has tested field research methods to demonstrate a cheaper, more efficient and less invasive way of identifying and assessing wildlife communities. The project involved drawing water samples out of the Verde River in Arizona’s central highlands and analyzing the DNA present in those samples using sophisticated sequencing methods.