What is Forensic Science?
Forensic science is the application of science to address issues of concern to the legal system. There are a wide variety of specializations within these disciplines, including for example: forensic biology, forensic chemistry, forensic anthropology, forensic psychology, etc.
What concepts and ideas do students learn? What courses would a student take?
Students choose 1 of 4 streams depending on their ultimate career goal: forensic biology, forensic chemistry, forensic anthropology, or forensic psychology. Depending on the stream, the courses will differ. All students take core courses in forensic science that address topics such as: overview of the discipline and the many sub-specialties; ethics; Canadian law and the expert witness; crime scene investigation; specialized lab courses; and an internship course for Specialists in the program.
What is unique about studying Forensics Science at U of T?
Our program provides students with the flexibility of focusing on forensic applications of their science, or in following a more mainstream career because students in each forensic stream take the same core courses as students in the broader related field. For example, forensic biology students take the same courses as biology students, in addition to their forensic courses. This results in students who are qualified for jobs in more traditional areas of biology, as well as in the specialized area of forensic biology. The core forensic courses also provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become a police officer, or civilian crime scene investigator (Forensic Identification Assistant). Depending on the stream a student selects, the specialist degree in forensic science also provides the necessary foundation to apply to medical school, dental school, law school, or graduate school. Students therefore have many career paths available to them.
What should a high school student know about the field of Forensics Science before applying to it?
Forensic Science is a science, which means students should have a strong foundation in chemistry, biology, physics, and math. There are many career options in Forensic Science and the choice of program stream (forensic bio, forensic chem, forensic psych, forensic anthro) should be based on what the student would ultimately like to do for a living, not on whether you need to have physics to get into it.
What kind of student would excel in Forensics Science?
Someone who pays attention to the details, but can also see the larger picture. Someone who is patient, can communicate complex ideas (or at least wants to learn how to become proficient at scientific communication), enjoys puzzles and is able to grasp complex concepts, is not afraid to state their opinion even when it is not a popular one, has a strong ethical foundation, and is compassionate.
What can I do with a degree in Forensics Science?
Depends on the forensic science program. As noted above, at UTM the options are almost endless. It is a stand alone degree for people who want to become police officers, forensic biology or chemistry lab technicians, civilian crime scene officers, or any other field that requires a science degree. It is an excellent undergraduate degree for someone who wants to continue into law school, medical school, dental school, any health-based graduate program, and graduate school. It can lead to a career as a forensic pathologist, forensic odonatologist, forensic psychologist, or forensic anthropologist with the appropriate postgraduate training.