Forensic Science

Forensic science is primarily concerned with the application of scientific principles for the investigation of crime. Forensic science is the acquisition and analysis of scientific data for application to the study and resolution of crime, investigation, civil and regulatory issues, and criminal identification. Using the very latest in technology, forensic scientists convert the clues collected from a crime scene into evidence admissible in a court of law. It is the use or application of science in courts or legal proceedings. This is a challenging and interesting field for those who are inquisitive and love adventure. 


Forensic Science is essentially a crime and laboratory-based profession. But the expertise of a forensic professional is also used in civil cases for issues like proving the validity of a signature on a will, to a claim of the products liability, to find out whether an industry is complying with environmental rules or not.

Forensic science is broadly grouped into three Types: Medical, laboratory and field science.

Medical / Datamedicine - is a broad medical subject which includes forensic pathology, psychiatry, psychology, forensic medicine and odontology (dentistry).

Laboratory sciences - include chemistry, biology, toxicology, ballistics, fingerprints, questioned documents and marks &  impressions. 

Field sciences - include crime scene investigation which incorporates areas such as fire and explosion scenes and clandestine drug laboratories.

Eligibility

One can join graduation in forensic science (B.Sc. Forensic Science). In order to take up a masters course in forensic science you need to be a graduate preferably with a first division in Physics, chemistry, zoology, botany, biochemistry, microbiology, B.pharm, BDS or applied science. Most forensic science lab positions require at least a Bachelor's degree in physical science. Majors that are required depend on the area in forensic science you wish to go into.

Career prospects

A forensic scientist may take up the following job positions: 

Forensic pathologists determine the time and cause of death in cases of suspected murder or suicide. This involves post mortem examinations of deaths reported to determine the cause and the manner of death.. 

Forensic anthropologists use their knowledge of human skeletal anatomy to assist in identification of skeletal remains and discover the age, sex, ancestry, stature, and unique features of the deceased. For example, they are called to identify individuals murdered or killed in disasters such as plane crashes, explosions, fires and other tragedies resulting in the loss of life and mutilation of bodies.

Forensic psychiatrists and psychologists are concerned with psychological issues. They determine whether a mental state may be a mitigating circumstance in the commission of an alleged crime and whether a person is mentally fit to stand a trial. 

Forensic dentists deal with the collection, evaluation and proper handling of dental evidence in order to assist law enforcement officers. The role of the odontologist is to identify bodies and skeletal remains from dental records, reconstruct faces from skulls and interpret bite marks.

Clinical forensic medicines experts examine victims of crime and suspects who may have sustained an injury while allegedly committing a crime. They give interpretations of their findings such as the possible causes and timing of the injuries. 

Forensic entomologists study insect life on or near bodies to determine the time and/or date of death. 

Forensic serologists study the blood groups, blood, and other bodily fluids for identification purposes following a crime. Biological materials such as blood, body fluids and hair are identified and compared using forensic DNA analysis, microscopic analysis and biochemical methods. 

Forensic chemists deal with the detection and identification of illicit drugs, explosive and gunshot residues, trace evidence, including paint, glass, polymers and fibers. 

Forensic linguists analyze the content of written or oral communication to identify who is speaking and indicate the speaker's intent, and determine whether two communications are from the same person. They also deal with fraudulent documents.

Forensic engineer deals with traffic accidents, fire investigations, and a variety of wrongful injury cases. Engineers are involved in failure analysis, accident reconstruction, causes and origins of fires or explosions, quality evaluation of construction or manufacturing etc. 

Forensic artists can draw a likeness of a person based solely on eyewitness accounts. Forensic sculptors can reconstruct faces, usually in modelling clay or on a computer from skulls or other fragments. The expertise may enable the police to find out who a person was when no other clues are available.

Institutes/Universities

Many universities/institutes offer M.Sc. Courses in Forensic Sciences. These include:

  • Punjabi University, Patiala
    It offers a two year course of M.Sc. in Forensic Science
  • Amity Institute of Behavioral & Health Allied Science, Noida:
    The university offers 2 years M.Sc. Course in forensic Science. Minimum qualification for the admission is B. Sc.
  • Department of Criminology and Forensic Science, Sagar University, Madhya Pradesh
    The department offers M.Sc (Master of Science) in Forensic Science and Forensic Toxicology.
  • University of Chennai, Chennai
    This University offers an MA in Criminology. Eligibility is a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, (UP)
    This University offers an MA in Criminology. Eligibility is a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Forensic House, Mylapore, Chennai
    This institute offers a course in Criminology and Forensic Science. Eligibility is a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, Chemistry or Applied Science or MBBS, BDS, and B.Pharm.
  • Department of Criminology and Forensic Science, Karnataka University, Karnataka: Karnataka 
    University offers M.Sc. in Forensic Science and Forensic Toxicology. To be eligibile, you have to have a BA, B.Sc. or B.Com. degree with a minimum of 50% aggregate. The admission is through an entrance test
  • Department of Forensic Science, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra, U.P
    This University offers an M.Sc. in Forensic Science.
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
    This institute offers Criminology as a specialization course with Masters in Social Work programs.
  • Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi
    It offers a certificate course in Forensic Science.
  • Department of Anthropology, University of Pune, Maharashtra
    This University offers a Masters course as well as a P.G. Diploma course in Forensic Sciences.
  • Osmanaia University, Hyderabad: The University offers an (MSc) in Forensic Science.
  • National institute of criminology and forensic science, Delhi
    offers an M.A /M.Sc courses in Criminology & forensic Science through affiliation to the GGS IP University, Delhi.
Many laboratories also conduct courses on forensic science, these include:
  • Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad, CFIs Complex,Ramanathapur, Hyderabad.
  • Neutron Activation Analysis Unit, BARC, Mumbai.
  • Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Chandigarh, CFIs Complex, Sector 36A, Candigarh.
  • Central Forensic Laboratory, Kolkata, CFIs Complex, 30 Gorachand Road, Kolkata
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