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Department of Chemistry

Forensic Chemistry

Forensic chemistry is the application of chemistry to criminal investigation. This major is recommended for individuals who wish to pursue a career in criminal investigation, in the laboratory analysis of forensic evidence, or pursue graduate study in forensic science. This course of study would also develop the analytical skills required for careers in other areas of civil law such as environmental pollution, accident investigation and product liability. Due to the nature of forensic investigations, the forensic chemist requires a strong background in chemical analysis and must be able to effectively communicate the results of laboratory analyses in reports and in the courtroom. The curriculum is designed so that the major provides a strong theoretical and experimental background in chemistry as well as written and oral communication skills.


BA/BS Degree in Chemistry - Forensic Option: this major may only be taken in conjunction with the Forensics minor designated for chemistry majors.

The minor provides specialized training in forensics. Students in the program will benefit from experience gained via the required practicum.


Chemistry Major - Forensic Chemistry Emphasis (71-73 Credits):

CH 221, 222, 223 General Chemistry (15)

CH 312 Quantitative Analysis (4)

CH 313 Instrumental Analysis (4)

CH 334, 335, 336 Organic Chemistry (9)

CH 337 Organic Chemistry Lab (1)

CH 338 Organic Chemistry Lab (2)

CH 340 Elementary Physical Chemistry (4)

CH 345 Introduction to Toxicology (3)

CH 350W Chemical Literature (1)

CH 407W Seminar (1)

CH 409 Practicum (1)

CH 450 Biochemistry I (3)

CH 461W, 462W Experimental Chemistry (4)

BI 211 Principles of Biology (5)

BI 314 Introductory Genetics (4)

MTH 243 Probability and Statistics (4)

ES 341 Geographic Information Systems (4)


Choose one elective below (3-4):

. BI 475 Molecular Biology (4)

. CH 452 Biochemistry Lab (3)

. CH 445 Toxicology Laboratory Techniques (3)


The B.A. requires MTH 252, CH121 or 161 and completion of the third term of the second year modern language course. The B.S. requires a combined 12 credit hours of coursework in mathematics and computer science including MTH 252 and CH121 or 161. For this major the six hours of writing intensive coursework should come from CH 350W, CH 407W, CH 461W, and CH462W. The sequence PH 201, 202, 203 or PH 211, 212, 213 is to be completed as the LACC science requirement. PHL 251, PHL 252, or PHL 255 must be completed as the LACC philosophy or religion requirement. For students interested in pursuing a career as a DNA analyst, the BI 475 Molecular Biology option is recommended.


Students completing this major must also complete the Forensic Science Minor for Chemistry Majors.


Forensic Science Minor: Chemistry Majors (30 credits):

CH 161 Fundamentals of Photography for Forensic Science (2)

CH 320 Introduction to Forensic Science (3)

CH 420W Forensic Laboratory Techniques and Documentation (4)

CH 430, 431, 432 Applications of Forensic Science (6)

CJ 321 Principles of Forensic Investigation (4)

COM 327 Communication in the Legal Field (3)


Choose two electives below (8):

. BI 315 Cell Biology (4)

. BI 331 General Microbiology (4)

. BI 334 Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology (4)

. BI 335 Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology (4)

. BI 336 Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology (4)

.CH 313 Instrumental Analysis (4)

.CH 322 Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology (4)

.CJ 213 Introduction to Criminal Justice (4)

.CJ 322 Foresnic Anthropology (4)

.CJ 323 Introduction to Crime Scene and Crash Diagramming (4)

.CJ 324 Advanced Crime Scene and Crash Diagramming (4)

.CJ 328 Forensic Osteology (4)

.CJ 333 Forensic DNA Analysis (4)

.CJ 341 Introduction to GIS (4)

.CJ 342 Strategic Crime Analysis with GIS (4)

.ES 341 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (4)


This minor may be taken by other scientific disciplines providing they complete CH 221, 222, 223, CH 334-338, and CH 313. (Note: for non-chemistry majors, up to 4 of the elective credits required by the minor may come from the CH 334-338 series). In addition, majors of disciplines other than chemistry must complete PHL 251, PHL 252, or PHL 255 as the LACC Philosophy or Region requirement and MTH 243 as part of the mathematics requirements.


Forensic Science Minor: Non-Chemistry Majors (28-29 credits):

CH 104, 105, 106 Introductory Chemistry (12)

CH 320 Introduction to Forensic Science (3)

CH 430, 431, 432 Applications of Forensic Science (6)

CJ 321 Principles of Forensic Investigation (4)


Choose one elective below (3-4):

. CH 322 Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology (4)

. CH 345 Introduction to Toxicology (3)

. CJ 322 Forensic Anthropology

. CJ 323 INtroduction to Crime Scene and Crash Diagramming (4)

. CJ 328 Forensic Osteology (4)

. CJ 333 Forensic DNA Analysis (4)

. CJ 452 Criminal Procedures (4)


It is suggested that students pursuing this minor take BI 102 as part of their LACC science requirement. Alternatively, CH 104, 105, and 106 may be applied to the LACC. In this case, an additional 4 hours of science elective approved by the minor advisor may be substituted.


Degree requirements, class descriptions and availability

Your degree requirements are determined by the year that you entered WOU.

If you are an undeclared major you will need to work with Academic Advising and possibly the Chemistry Department to determine your course of study. If you have declared a major within the Chemistry Department, you will need to work with your assigned faculty advisor.


Department of Chemistry (503) 838-8207 | or e-mail:

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