Forensic Science is the application of scientific principles to matters defined by civil and criminal law. It is a compilation of all the hard core sciences, including the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, geology, and mathematics in the solving of crimes by the evidence left behind at a crime scene. All three of the major tracks and the minor are designed to prepare students with a strong scientific background directed to the recognition, identification, individualization, and evaluation of physical evidence. The major, minor and tracks focus on the main elements of criminalistics, including analysis of blood, fibers, glass, paint, soils, hair and the fields of toxicology, DNA analysis, serology, forensic anthropology, human pathology and numerous other areas germane to the scientific study of evidence.
The major tracks prepare the student to work either as a crime scene investigator or in a laboratory environment or to continue their education at the graduate school level.
Forensic Science at UGF is unique compared with the many other programs in the USin that most programs spend their time on criminal justice topics. UGF’s program spends the majority of time on forensic sciences, hard-core sciences, and mathematics necessary to be a well-rounded and educated forensic investigator or laboratory expert. This is reinforced by the numerous laboratory classes for the diverse areas of forensic investigation.
The entire range of forensic sciences topics are covered at UGF, ranging from the most useful, such as fingerprint analysis, DNA analysis, serology, and blood spatter analysis, to the less well-studied, such as evidence and lab analysis of hair, glass, soils, bones, drugs, poisons, and some thirty other areas. The current literature in a variety of fields is used to ascertain the students know the most up-to-date techniques and methods applicable, either in field investigations or for laboratory analysis. As an additional aid to becoming proficient in the field, numerous opportunities have been developed for internships during the summer, including working at real crime laboratories in Montana, other states, and for the federal government.
In addition to the courses offered, the unique character of the program depends on the faculty. Dr. Arthur Alt has ten degrees, including a doctorate in science education and degrees in chemistry, mathematics, anthropology, archaeology, history, and computers, with minors covering other sciences, and a passion for teaching that has sustained him for more than 30 years. A tremendous variety of teaching techniques in addition to lectures, are applied. This forces students to become creative and develop abilities in critical analysis and problem-solving. Dr. Diane Lund is an expert in biology and chemistry, with special expertise in DNA analysis and cellular biology. She has a wide range of interests in student undergraduate research. In addition, faculty from our Criminal Justice and Paralegal Studies programs reinforce the learning for students on criminal procedures and dealing with the legal system, the law and how it applies to solving crimes, procedures in court, and being a competent witness for forensic investigations.
Forensic Biology Track
Forensic Chemistry Track
Forensic Science Track