Major in Forensic Chemistry

Forensic Chemistry is a field in which many opportunities exist within law enforcement agencies and private companies. There is a critical shortage of qualified professionals in the field. Graduates of this program will be well prepared for employment in the forensic field with minimal on-the-job training or to pursue a graduate degree.

The major in Forensic Chemistry requires the completion of all the required and ancillary courses that are listed below, as well as satisfying the university’s Core Curriculum requirements.  A student may repeat no more than two courses, including multiple attempts at the same course, required for the Forensic Chemistry major. This includes all foundation courses, as well as required courses for the major.

Students who wish to earn internship credit (CHEM 395) for work in a crime laboratory must have a GPA of 3.00 or higher, must have attained junior class rank, and must pass a background ­investigation.

The Forensic Chemistry major is offered in three separate tracks. These tracks provide the student with options to prepare for the specialized areas of forensic science in the professional work force or for graduate programs. Students are expected to declare their track of study by the end of their sophomore year.

For further information, please contact one of the following:

Mark Profili
Smith Hall 514A
Phone: 410-704-2668
Email: mprofili@towson.edu

Kelly Elkins
Smith Hall 561
Phone: 410-704-6217
Email: kmelkins@towson.edu

Ellen Hondrogiannis
Smith Hall 563
Phone: 
410-704-5043
Email: 
ehondrogiannis@towson.edu

Sarah Stokes
Smith Hall 514E
Phone: 410-704-5867
Email: sstokes@towson.edu

Cynthia Zeller
Smith Hall 573
Phone: 410-704-2170
Email: czeller@towson.edu

Repeat Policy

A student may repeat no more than two courses, including multiple attempts at the same course, required for the Forensic Chemistry major. This includes all foundation courses, as well as required courses for the major.

Courses Required of all Forensic Chemistry tracks

CHEM 131
131L
GENERAL CHEMISTRY I LECTURE
and GENERAL CHEMISTRY I LABORATORY
4
CHEM 132
132L
GENERAL CHEMISTRY II LECTURE
and GENERAL CHEMISTRY II LABORATORY
4
CHEM 220
220L
ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY [LECTURE]
and ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY [LAB]
5
CHEM 301PROFESSIONAL ETHICS FOR SCIENTISTS3
CHEM 331ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I5
CHEM 332ORGANIC CHEMISTRY II5
CHEM 351BIOCHEMISTRY I3
FRSC 367FORENSIC CHEMISTRY3
FRSC 368PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES IN FORENSIC SCIENCE3
FRSC 440FORENSIC SCIENCE, EMERGENCY MEDICINE, AND DEATH ANALYSIS3
Ancillary Courses
ANTH 357INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC CRIME ANALYSIS3
ANTH 457ADVANCED FORENSIC INVESTIGATION3
BIOL 200
200L
BIOLOGY I: INTRODUCTION TO CELLULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS [LECTURE]
and INTRODUCTION TO CELLULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS [LAB]
4
BIOL 202INTRODUCTION TO ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION4
CRMJ 254INTRODUCTION TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE3
CRMJ 384ADVANCED CRIMINAL LAW3
MATH 237ELEMENTARY BIOSTATISTICS4
MATH 273CALCULUS I4
Select one of the following: 8
GENERAL PHYSICS I; NON CALCULUS-BASED
and GENERAL PHYSICS II; NON CALCULUS-BASED
GENERAL PHYSICS I CALCULUS-BASED
and GENERAL PHYSICS II CALCULUS-BASED
Capstone Experience
Select one of the following:3
INTERNSHIP IN CHEMISTRY
RESEARCH IN CHEMISTRY
FORENSIC SCIENCE CAPSTONE
Total Units77

General Forensic Science Track

This track is intended for students who are considering employment in a drug analysis, trace evidence analysis or DNA analysis laboratory, or to pursue a graduate degree in a non-specialized forensic master’s program.

In addition to the University’s Core Curriculum courses and the required and ancillary courses for all Forensic Chemistry tracks, the following courses are required for the General Forensic Science track:

BIOL 309GENETICS4
BIOL 409MOLECULAR BIOLOGY4
CHEM 310INSTRUMENTAL ANALYSIS4
FRSC 363CHEMISTRY OF DANGEROUS DRUGS3
FRSC 467FORENSIC ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY3
Total Units18

Trace Evidence/Drug Analysis Track

This track is intended for students who desire a strong chemistry and instrumental analysis education and are considering a profession in a forensic chemistry laboratory or graduate program specializing in the analysis of trace evidence (fibers, paint, soil, flammables, explosives, etc.) or in the analysis of illegal drugs and toxicology.

In addition to the University’s Core Curriculum courses and the required and ancillary courses of all Forensic Chemistry tracks, the following courses are required of the Trace Evidence/Drug Analysis track:

CHEM 310INSTRUMENTAL ANALYSIS4
CHEM 345PRINCIPLES OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY3
CHEM 372PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY2
CHEM 480CHEMICAL TOXICOLOGY3
FRSC 363CHEMISTRY OF DANGEROUS DRUGS3
FRSC 467FORENSIC ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY3
Total Units18

DNA Track

This track is intended for students who desire a strong biochemistry and molecular biology education and are considering a profession in a forensic laboratory or graduate program specializing in body fluid and tissue analysis, and human identification using serology and DNA technology.

In addition to the University’s Core Curriculum courses and the required and ancillary courses of all Forensic Chemistry tracks, the following courses are required of the DNA track:

BIOL 309GENETICS4
BIOL 409MOLECULAR BIOLOGY4
BIOL 410MOLECULAR BIOLOGY LABORATORY2-3
or CHEM 356 BIOCHEMISTRY LAB
FRSC 420BODY FLUID ANALYSIS4
FRSC 422ADVANCED SEQUENCING METHODS3
Total Units17-18

General Track Suggested Four-Year Plan

Based on course availability and student needs and preferences, the selected sequences will probably vary from those presented below. Students should consult with their adviser to make the most appropriate elective choices.

Freshman
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
CHEM 131 (Core 7)3CHEM 132 (Core 8)3
CHEM 131L1CHEM 132L1
MATH 273 (Core 3)4MATH 2374
Core 1 (or Core 2)3Core 2 (or Core 1)3
Select one of the following:4Select one of the following:4
 15 15
Sophomore
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
BIOL 2003BIOL 2024
BIOL 200L1CHEM 3325
CHEM 3315CRMJ 3843
CRMJ 254 (Core 11)3Core 53
Core 43 
 15 15
Junior
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
ANTH 3573ANTH 4573
CHEM 2203CHEM 3104
CHEM 220L2FRSC 3683
CHEM 3513FRSC 4403
FRSC 3673Core 103
Core 63 
 17 16
Senior
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
BIOL 3094BIOL 4094
FRSC 3633CHEM 301 (Core 9)3
Core 133FRSC 4673
Core 143Core 123
Select one of the following:3 
 
 
 
 16 13
Total Units 122

DNA Track Suggested Four-Year Plan

Based on course availability and student needs and preferences, the selected sequences will probably vary from those presented below. Students should consult with their adviser to make the most appropriate elective choices.

Freshman
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
BIOL 2003BIOL 2024
BIOL 200L1CHEM 132 (Core 8)3
CHEM 131 (Core 7)3CHEM 132L1
CHEM 131L1MATH 2374
MATH 273 (Core 3)4Core 2 (or Core 1)3
Core 1 (or Core 2)3 
 15 15
Sophomore
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
CHEM 3315CHEM 3325
CRMJ 254 (Core 11)3CRMJ 3843
Core 43Core 53
Select one of the following:4Select one of the following:4
 15 15
Junior
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
ANTH 3573ANTH 4573
BIOL 3094BIOL 4094
CHEM 2203FRSC 3683
CHEM 220L2FRSC 4403
FRSC 3673Core 63
 15 16
Senior
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
CHEM 3513CHEM 301 (Core 9)3
FRSC 4204FRSC 4223
Core 103Core 133
Core 123Core 143
Select one of the following:3Select one of the following:2-3
 
 16 14-15
Total Units 121-122

Trace Evidence/Drug Analysis Track Suggested Four-Year Plan

Based on course availability and student needs and preferences, the selected sequences will probably vary from those presented below. Students should consult with their adviser to make the most appropriate elective choices.

Freshman
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
BIOL 2003BIOL 2024
BIOL 200L1CHEM 132 (Core 8)3
CHEM 131 (Core 7)3CHEM 132L1
CHEM 131L1MATH 2374
MATH 273 (Core 3)4Core 2 (or Core 1)3
Core 1 (or Core 2)3 
 15 15
Sophomore
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
CHEM 3315CHEM 3325
CRMJ 254 (Core 11)3CRMJ 3843
Core 43Core 63
Select one of the following:4Select one of the following:4
 15 15
Junior
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
ANTH 3573ANTH 4573
CHEM 2203CHEM 3104
CHEM 220L2FRSC 3683
CHEM 3513FRSC 4403
FRSC 3673Core 103
Core 53 
 17 16
Senior
Term 1UnitsTerm 2Units
CHEM 3453CHEM 301 (Core 9)3
CHEM 4803CHEM 3722
FRSC 3633FRSC 4673
Core 123Core 133
Select one of the following:3Core 143
 
 
 
 15 14
Total Units 122
 
  1. Apply the principles of crime scene investigation, evidence collection, preservation and chain of custody.
  2. Demonstrate mastery of the tools of scientific inquiry in forensic analysis.
  3. Understand the importance of ethics in forensic science.
  4. Communicate analytical/research findings and present court testimony.
  5. Present clear and persuasive written evidence of analytical findings.
  6. Demonstrate proficiency in the use and knowledge of specific software programs relevant in the field of forensic chemistry.