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Forensic Chemistry

ForSciForensic Chemistry at Muskingum University

Forensic science in its broadest definition is the application of science to law.  More specifically, forensic science is the application of science to those criminal and civil laws that are enforced by police agencies in a criminal justice system.  This discipline is best described as an applied science that draws heavily from a multitude of scientific areas, but especially chemistry and biology.

The Forensic Chemistry program at Muskingum University is offered as a track within the chemistry major, and includes course work in chemistry, criminal justice, and the interface of chemistry and biology.  Completion of this track will enable students to pursue a career working as a forensic chemist in a private or government crime laboratory.  Students will also be prepared to move into masters or doctoral programs in forensic science.  These advanced degrees can allow individuals to move into management positions in crime laboratories.

Forensic Chemistry Track Curriculum

Required Courses


Chemistry 111, General Chemistry I (4 hrs)                            
Chemistry 112, General Chemistry II (4 hrs)
Chemistry 240, Topics in Forensic Chemistry (1 hr)
Chemistry 213, Organic Chemistry I (4 hrs)
Chemistry 214, Organic Chemistry II (4 hrs)
Chemistry 315, Physical Chemistry I (4 hrs) 
Chemistry 335, Analytical Chemistry (4 hrs)
Chemistry 355, Advanced Laboratory in Chemistry (3 hrs)
Chemistry 440, Topics in Forensic Chemistry (1 hr)
Chemistry 419, Biochemistry II (3 hrs)
Chemistry 425, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (4 hrs) 
Chemistry 441, Forensic Chemistry Laboratory (3 hrs)
Chemistry 454, Chemistry Seminar or Internship (2 hrs)
Chemistry 455, Chemistry Seminar or Internship (4 hrs)

Total hours in chemistry 45


Physics 121, Classical Physics I (4 hrs)
Physics 122, Classical Physics II (4 hrs)

Total hours in physics 8


Math 190, Beginning Calculus (4 hrs)
Math 200, Intermediate Calculus (4 hrs)

Total hours in math                     

Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice 101, Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 hrs)   
Criminal Justice 331, Criminal Investigations (3 hrs)

Total hours in criminal justice 6

Total Credit Hours for the Forensic Chemistry Track:  67

Suggested Electives

Completion of the biology courses listed below will result in a student receiving a biology minor in addition to a chemistry major. The courses marked with an “*” are required for employment in the DNA units of crime laboratories accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLAD).


Biology 112, Organismal Biology II (3 hrs)
Biology 107, Biology Laboratory: Forensic Biology (1 hr)
Biology 226, Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology (3 hrs)*
Biology 306, Genetics   (4 hrs)*
Biology 312, Microbiology (4 hrs)|Biology 375, Molecular Biology (4 hrs)*


Math 140, Statistics (3 hrs)*

Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice 351, Criminal Evidence and Procedure (3hrs)
Criminal Justice 318, Criminal Law (3hrs)
Criminal Justice 317, Constitutional Law II:  Civil Rights and Liberties (3hrs)
Criminal Justice 341, Ethics Issues in Criminal Justice (3 hrs)
Criminal Justice 320, American Law Enforcement (3 hrs)

Additional Information

Students are encouraged to participate in internships working in crime laboratories to gain experience through hands-on practice and observation of forensic analysis techniques.  Muskingum University provides internship opportunities through the Institution’s Muskie Fellows Summer Internship Program.  In addition, the University maintains a database of internship programs and opportunities, which can serve as a guide for students searching for such activities.  These experiences help students build a well-rounded skill set that is desirable for potential employers and admission committees of forensic science graduate programs. 

At Muskingum, faculty advisors to the students interested in forensic chemistry will provide guidance and mentoring in the following:

  • Suggest guidelines and timetables for students to successfully complete coursework and other degree requirements.
  • Advise students about extracurricular activities desirable for preparing students for careers as a forensic scientist such as community service, shadowing experiences, internships, and leadership roles.
  • Sponsor guest speakers such as professional forensic scientists or academics carrying out fundamental research with forensic science applications.
  • Assist students with preparation of their graduate school and job application materials, and advise them about personal essays and interviews.


Dr. Paul Szalay, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Muskingum University
163 Stormont St.
New Concord, OH 43762
Email: pszalay@muskingum.edu


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