Did you know that some of the most important work in criminal justice is carried on behind the scenes in crime labs? Criminal forensic biologists analyze evidence from crime scenes and work hand-in-hand with law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. They study the fundamentals of DNA, fingerprints, and other biological evidence to offer assistance in convicting the guilty and exonerating the innocent. You can play a part in this important work as a Forensic Biology major at Western New England University.
Why Choose Forensic Biology?
This fascinating field uses investigative techniques and tools to explore many applications of analyzing biological evidence. Forensic biologists help us to find clues to events that occurred in the recent or distant past. They play an important role in piecing together the clues to give prosecutors the corroborative evidence needed to get criminals off the street. They are also critical in helping us to identify the organic remains that are key to tracing human history through anthropology, the origins and evolution of plant life through botany, or the path of infectious disease outbreaks through pathology or entomology.
What Will You Study?
Our Forensic Biology curriculum will provide you with the theoretical background, practical skills, and scientific techniques utilized in modern crime laboratories. This is accomplished through coursework heavily augmented by practical laboratory experiences at the Center for the Sciences and Pharmacy and/or professional internships. Required science coursework includes general biology, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, recombinant DNA/fingerprinting, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physics. In addition, you will complete coursework in the areas of ethics and criminal investigation. Students also are required to provide expert testimony in the courtroom at our School of Law.
Forensic scientists work in city, county, state, and federal crime labs; private medical and pharmaceutical labs; and government agencies. With a growing interest in forensic science related to the environment and combating crime and terrorism, employment for Forensic Science Technicians is expected to grow 27% by 2024. Alumni have continued to graduate study at Boston University School of Medicine, Cedar Crest College, George Washington University, SUNY-Albany, UConn, and the University of South Carolina. Graduates have been hired at Alpha Analytical; Arvinas; Bode Laboratories; Boston Children's Hospital; Connecticut Department of Public Health; Con-Test Laboratories; Massachusetts State Police Forensic Services Group and CODIS Unit; Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Washington, DC; ProVerde Laboratories; and Spectrum Analytical Laboratories.
Clubs & Organizations
Forensic Biology students may have interests in: Alpha Lambda Delta (First-year honor society), Criminal Justice Association, Delta Delta Epsilon (Forensic Science Honor Society), and Forensic Science Club. Many of our students also participate in varsity and intramural sports, special interest groups, and student government.
You will be mentored by outstanding faculty that have studied at such institutions as Princeton, Columbia, Boston College, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Western New England University School of Law. Their diverse research interests include such fields as nuclear energy, human evolution, forensic entomology, fusion theory, and expert testimony, yet outstanding classroom teaching is always each professor's top priority.
Unique Learning Opportunities
Internships and Field Work
Western New England University students in the Forensic Biology major have internship opportunities to work in lab settings and conduct independent research in order to hone their crime lab investigative techniques. Our students have interned at organizations including the Brigham & Women's Hospital Morgue, the Connecticut Controlled Substance and Toxicology Lab, Con-Test Laboratories, Suffolk County (NY) Crime Lab, the Connecticut State Police Forensic Lab, the Maine State Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory, Northeastern Correctional Center, Suffolk Crime Lab, and many other sites.
Study Abroad: Become a Global Citizen
Today’s workforce needs professionals who see the big picture. The College of Arts and Sciences will help you to become a student of world cultures and histories as they relate to your studies while making valuable contributions in your explorations. Whether you participate in a faculty-led summer seminar course or spend a semester at an international university, the experience will broaden your horizons and help you compete in the global landscape.