Office: Donnelly Science Center, Room 258
Director: David B. Rivers, Professor of Biology
The Forensic Studies major provides a framework for students to explore ideas, concepts, and technology related to a broad realm of legal matters, including crime, homeland security, and growing threats to individuals, institutions, and nations through acts of terrorism and attacks on security. Concomitantly it provides a solid foundation in the natural, applied, and social sciences through courses in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology; complemented by rigorous focus on biological and chemical concepts and analytical thinking through coursework in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematical sciences, physics, and statistics. Students will also experience and receive training in multidisciplinary approaches to forensic studies; analyses applied to criminal and civil investigations; matters of administrative law; exploration of factors and events that influence individuals and groups to engage in criminal activity or commit acts of violence; and examination of issues that threaten national security and the tactics to counter such threats.
The major is distinctive in the degree of interdisciplinarity woven into the curriculum. Students have the opportunity to complete courses from 18 departments encompassing the sciences, humanities, social sciences, and business. No other program in the United States rivals this unique and collaborative approach to introduce students to forensic studies. The curricular path for the major encourages breadth of understanding, interdisciplinary approaches, critical understanding, team skills, excellent communication skills, and deductive reasoning. Specifically, the major's curriculum develops and promotes skills needed for multiple career paths, including excellent oral and written communication skills, intellectual curiosity, use of interdisciplinary approaches, critical and analytical thinking skills, and commitment to lifelong learning. Additionally, the program and its curriculum emphasize the development of strong moral and ethical character in students.
All majors participate in the forensic studies experience, a capstone project in the form of an internship, research experience or independent study, with faculty at Loyola or at off-site locations. The Baltimore-Washington D.C. corridor provides access to numerous internship and research opportunities with the FBI, Maryland State Police, Baltimore City Police, Baltimore County Police, Sinai Hospital Cancer Center, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland and The District of Columbia, the Kennedy Krieger Institute, and hundreds of companies in the BioHealth Capital Region. Graduates are equipped with the technical and professional skills to pursue careers in forensic laboratories, law enforcement, judiciary, policy analysis, corrections, rehabilitation, intelligence, medicine, allied health, biohealth industries, cybersecurity, as well as many other fields. For a complete list of potential career and internship opportunities, please visit the forensic studies website.
The forensic studies major curriculum will bestow the following learning and curricular outcomes:
- Students will master current factual content, concepts, theoretical perspectives, and historical trends of different subfields of forensic studies.
- Students will demonstrate proficiency in communicating effectively in a variety of formats, including verbal, written, and symbolic channels relevant to forensic investigation, criminology, and presentations in the judicial system.
- Students will develop an understanding of the moral and ethical issues surrounding crime and forensic investigation.
- Students will demonstrate a clear understanding of major concepts and techniques used in subfields of forensic studies based on their ability to read, interpret, and critically evaluate primary literature; design experiments or conduct independent investigation to test ideas and hypotheses; and interpret data through statistical and graphical packages.