Forensic Science

Why study Forensic Science?

Forget what you might have seen on TV shows like CSI and Bones. Real forensic science is much more complex; giving you a firm grounding in the sciences as a foundation for forensic investigations.

Forensic science applies scientific knowledge to legal matters. Forensic scientists strive to provide impartial evidence for use in courts to support the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. Saint Mary’s University has the only forensic science program east of Toronto, and you can apply for this program during the first year of your undergraduate degree.

The Saint Mary’s approach

Our certificate program provides a unique opportunity to learn first-hand from instructors who also “do” forensic science: many of our core courses are taught by working professionals  involved with criminal investigations on a regular basis. These include local experts in fingerprinting, blood spatter analysis, as well as the Chief Medical Examiner of Nova Scotia.

Most students take the Forensic Sciences Certificate at the same time as a BSc (usually Biology or Chemistry). You can also combine the Forensic Sciences Certificate with a BA in Criminology.

Hands-on experience outside the classroom

Saint Maryʼs University has well-developed partnerships with organizations such as the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Halifax Regional Police, and other law enforcement agencies across Canada. Students are involved with researching entomology, decay, and decomposition through experiments with decomposing animal remains, and regularly co-author papers in international journals. In the forensic labs, you will learn how to lift fingerprints from a crime scene, collect DNA samples, analyze blood spatter, and create a biological profile from human skeletal remains.

Sample courses offered:

  • Basic Sciences for Forensics I and II
  • The Role of Science in Forensics
  • Forensic Science in Practice
  • Forensic DNA Typing
  • Forensic Human Anatomy
  • Wildlife Forensics

Future career opportunities:

  • Medicine, dentistry, law, pharmacy
  • Law enforcement
  • Forensic labs, e.g. toxicology, biology, DNA, arson/explosives
  • Forensic photography
  • Morgue or mortuary technicians; funeral home directors
  • Environmental testing, chemical/pharmaceutical/bio pharmaceutical manufacture and development, ecological survey, and food science
  • Museum curator