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 provide impartial scientific evidence for use in courts to support the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. Saint Mary’s 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 — all of our professors are involved with criminal investigations on a regular basis. For example, the Chief Medical Examiner of Nova Scotia is one of our instructors. Our professors also hold positions as the toxicology specialist for the RCMP lab, RCMP officer and blood stain analyst, and forensic entomologist.

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

Hands-on experience outside the classroom

Saint Maryʼs has well-developed partnerships with organizations such as the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service, the 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 co-authoring 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. You will also be involved with a mock crime scene where you will investigate simulated crime scenes in a realistic setting.

Sample courses offered:

  • Basic Sciences for Forensics I and II
  • Application of Forensic Techniques
  • Forensic DNA Typing

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