Forensic Sciences Program

Forensic Sciences (FRSC)

Forensic Sciences refers to the application of scientific disciplines for the purposes of legal investigations, either criminal or civil in nature. With this broad definition, forensic scientists can be trained in many different fields, including biology, anthropolgy, chemistry, genetics, toxicology, psychology, etc. In Canada, police forces are regularly involved in forensic investigations, but there are others, (e.g., medical personnel, dentists, biologists, criminologists and anthropologists), who are interested in, or can benefit from, training in forensic sciences.

The Certificate in Forensic Sciences is a recognition of the successful completion of a set of requirements, designed to expose students to selected facets of the application of science to the law. Progressing through the program as a cohort group, students learn directly from both research faculty and external field experts, to develop their awareness of the science underpinning physical evidence investigation. The Certificate program is an added distinction to the Bachelor degree with Major (or Honours), which is completed concurrently with the fulfillment of the requirements for the student’s chosen major. It is not a stand-alone program.

The Certificate builds on a required first-year science foundation, and is comprised of an eighteen (18) credit-hour core in fundamental forensic sciences breadth, and an additional six (6) credit hours of selected program electives aligning with the student’s particular major, and with their future goals in related practice or continued study.

Program Goals

The Certificate is intended to provide motivated undergraduate students focused opportunities to explore their expressed interest in the application of scientific concepts, methods of analysis, and critical evaluation, to forensic matters. The goal is to add special interest, applied study to a core discipline major in a way that can help to prepare students for post-graduate education in desired related fields. Critical thinking practice is at the core of the program with an inherent focus on the development of such intellectually disciplined processes of applying, analyzing, and evaluating information, results, and conclusions.

Admission to the Certificate in Forensic Sciences 

Admission to the Certificate in Forensic Sciences is by approval of the Program Coordinator following review of student applications on an annual basis (normally in February of each year). Directions and deadlines for applicaions  are available online on the Forensic Sciences webpage. Interested students should commence their inquiry about the Certificate Program with a Science Advisor as soon as possible so that they are best prepared for admission.

Applicants must be current Saint Mary's University students with a declared major (or clearly-stated intended major, if admission to the particular major is not yet allowable). Applicants must have completed at least thirty (30) credit hours by the end of the winter semester in the year in which they are applying, with a minimum CGPA of 3.00, including the following admission pre-requisite courses:

Stream One

Students in Stream One are currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at Saint Mary‘s University or are transferring from a recognized university degree program, and wish to pursue the Diploma in Forensic Sciences concurrently with their degree program. Stream One students must have completed thirty (30) credit hours by the end of the winter semester in the year in which they are applying with a minimum CGPA of 3.00 out of 4.30, and have declared a major. Stream One students are regarded as being in a dual academic program (Academic Regulation 24).

Stream Two

Students in Stream Two possess an undergraduate degree (with a minimum CGPA of 3.00 out of 4.30) from Saint Mary’s University or other recognized university, and intend to pursue only the Diploma in Forensic Sciences. Stream Two students may request to transfer up to half the required credit hours (30) from their previous degree (Reference Academic Regulation 20).

Stream Three

Stream Three students are members of the RCMP, police officers, or those having work-related experience in forensic science, who wish to pursue only the Diploma in Forensic Sciences. Stream Three students may not possess a university degree or previous university training.

Procedures for application are described at

Certificate in Forensic Sciences - Requirements

The twenty-four (24) credit hours used to satisfy the requirements for the Certificate in Forensic Sciences are listed below. A minimum GPA of 3.00 must be achieved in the courses used to satisfy these twenty-four credit hours. Students must complete any prerequisites for these courses.

 Required Courses [eighteen (18)]

  • FRSC 2200 Basic Sciences for Forensics I 
  • FRSC 2201 Basic Sciences for Forensics II
  • FRSC 3300 Application of Forensic Techniques 
  • One of: CHEM 1211 General Chemistry II for Physical Sciences, OR CHEM 1212 General Chemistry II for Life Sciences, OR CHEM 1213 General Chemistry II for Engineering (note MATH pre-reqs for these courses)
  • BIOL 2307 Genetics
  • One of: FRSC 3007 Forensic DNA Typing OR BIOL3419 Molecular Biology

 Science-Electives [six (6) credit hours] from:

The following courses are resricted to those students accepted into the Certificate in Forensic Sciences Program at Saint Mary’s University.  Courses in Forensic Science cannot be used to satisfy course requirements for the major or honours in Biology.

All the following courses have 3 hour classes and 3 hour lab/tutorial per week.