Pursuing a career in forensic science or a related field means pursuing a challenging academic path to prepare you to work in a field where what you do affects many lives. Working in forensic science means committing yourself to the pursuit of justice. It takes drive, acute attention to detail, an inquisitive and collaborative spirit, compassion and strong communication skills.
What is forensic science?
Forensic science involves the evaluating of physical evidence from a crime scene or space/location related to a crime. This may involve analyzing things such as fingerprints, blood, semen, firearms, saliva, drugs and may involve reconstructing skeletal bones. It may also involve analyzing data on a device such as a computer, camera or cell phone or examining documents or financial accounts. In addition, forensic scientists write reports, preserve evidence, testify in court and discuss evidence collection with attorneys and law enforcement personnel.
About UT Austin’s Forensic Science Certificate
The Forensic Science Certificate provides an interdisciplinary perspective for students interested in careers in forensic science. This certificate is open to all undergraduate students at UT Austin. Students interested in seeking employment upon graduation in a forensic science laboratory or other field that requires a strong base in natural sciences are encouraged to select biology and chemistry courses. Please note that some of these courses may require introductory biology and chemistry courses as prerequisites.
The certificate requires completion of 18 hours of approved coursework with a grade of C- or better. A minimum of 9 hours must be completed in residence at UT Austin. Credit by exam can be applied toward the certificate requirements if the credit is for a specific course from the certificate course list.
Students may also apply for the certificate within one year after earning their undergraduate degree. A maximum of 9 hours may be taken after earning an undergraduate degree.
Preparing for your future
If you want to start getting ready for a forensic science career early, the College Board career website recommends:
- Taking as many math and science courses as possible
- Developing public speaking skills by participating in activities such as debate or theater
- Practice writing detailed notes and keeping an organized notebook and lab books
- Visiting or interning at a courthouse and watching legal cases
- Developing and honing your writing skills
Taking the next step
There is no need to apply for the Forensic Science Certificate as part of your admissions application. Once admitted to UT, you can simply inform your academic advisor any time after New Student Orientation that you wish to pursue the Forensic Science Certificate as part of your academic curriculum at UT Austin. Your academic advisor can then guide you on how to get started.
Pursue the Forensic Science Certificate
An application for admission is required in order to pursue the Forensic Science Certificate.
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