a female forensic science student investigates a dirt sample

Applied Forensic Sciences

Bachelor of Science

Are you eager to solve criminal cases in the real world? Guided by one of the nation's leading forensic anthropologists, you'll identify, collect, analyze, and interpret forensic evidence through hands-on experience in the lab and in the field.聽

The 六合彩开奖记录t University Department of Applied Forensic Sciences offers a multidisciplinary undergraduate major dedicated to educating students in matters related to science, forensic science, society and the law. Starting with a deep understanding of the natural sciences, students gain valuable hands-on experience in our state of the art forensics lab on campus and in hundreds of real-life cases outside of 六合彩开奖记录t. Graduates are prepared to enter the workforce or pursue advanced degrees following their completion of the program.聽

B.S. in Applied Forensic Sciences

The Department of Applied Forensic Sciences at 六合彩开奖记录t University was created in 2002 in an effort to provide students with a solid undergraduate education in the general sciences, with a forensic science focus. Students graduating with a degree in Applied Forensic Sciences will be able to pursue a variety of career options from graduate school in the sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, anthropology) to specific training programs in the field of forensic science and investigations.

The strength of our program will continue to reside in the Forensic Anthropology concentration, which arose out of the Department of Anthropology. This concentration focuses on the recognition and documentation of physical evidence at the outdoor crime scene and the analysis of human skeletal remains recovered from those contexts. These methods prove useful whether the crime scene involves a surface scatter of human remains, a buried body feature, a fatal fire site or a large-scale mass fatality incident.

The development of the undergraduate Applied Forensic Sciences Program represents the first truly multidisciplinary major at 六合彩开奖记录t that incorporates the major natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics) and mathematics within the core curriculum. The program includes three concentrations:

  • Criminalistics/Forensic Biology
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Chemistry

The 六合彩开奖记录t core curriculum is enhanced by these three specialized concentrations which meet students' interests while reflecting the changing face of forensic science.

Mission Statement

The 六合彩开奖记录t University Department of Applied Forensic Sciences offers a multi-disciplinary undergraduate major dedicated to educating students in matters related to science, forensic science, society and the law. Students receive a solid natural science education, bolstered by the thematic forensic science courses. The program advances the student鈥檚 knowledge of science-based forensic fields of study and advocates critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Classroom learning is strengthened by strong, hands-on components of many courses. The Department of Applied Forensic Sciences stresses the importance of reasonable and ethical behavior in regard to the field of forensic science to all members of the department: faculty, staff and students.

Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize, employ and perform the basic and advanced principles, methods and practices of the various forensic science disciplines.
  • Gain the ability to identify, collect, analyze and interpret forensic evidence.
  • Critically analyze and interpret past and current research in the forensic sciences.
  • Display comprehensive scientific writing skills.
Concentrations

    Criminalists and Forensic Biologists are typically called upon to locate, document, preserve, analyze, interpret and testify with respect to the significance of physical evidence. They must possess extensive skills and training in many diverse fields of natural and physical sciences. Pattern recognition in fingerprints and ballistics and the interpretation of biological materials such as hairs, fibers, paints, polymers, soil, glass and other trace materials are important. Competency in the methods for collection and preservation of human biological evidence in regard to DNA testing is stressed in lecture and in the laboratory. This concentration prepares students for advanced training in Criminalistics or as trainees in forensic science laboratories

    Forensic Anthropologists are often called upon to comprehensively analyze human skeletal remains from a variety of crime scenes, ranging from surface scatters to mass fatalities. The skills of physical anthropology and archaeology are paramount to the training of competent forensic anthropologists. The undergraduate program prepares students for graduate studies in both physical and forensic anthropology.聽

    Forensic Chemists analyze the chemical aspects of evidence that is collected from crime scenes and rarely conduct investigative work themselves. Their job is to identify and characterize physical and biological evidence as part of the larger process of solving a crime. Evidence is often in trace amounts and may include hair, paint, gunshot residue, inks, fibers, fire debris, explosives, drug residue, and blood. This field of work requires a fully developed knowledge in the natural sciences, specifically in analytical chemistry and instrumental methods.聽

Students Solve Criminal Cases

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  • Internships and Outcomes

    Our majors have completed internships with the Drug Enforcement Agency, Lake County (Ohio) District Attorney's Office, NCIS, and the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.

    Applied Forensic Sciences alumni are currently placed in masters and Ph.D. programs in forensic science fields or working as crime scene technicians and lab specialists within law enforcement jurisdictions.

    a group of forensic science students outside taking measurements
  • Cutting-Edge Facilities

    Applied Forensic Sciences students study in 六合彩开奖记录t's top-of-the-line facilities including the Ted A. Rathbun Osteology Laboratory, Forensic Anthropology Processing Lab, and Criminalistics Lab, ensuring high-quality, hands-on research training.聽

    a closeup of students examining skulls
  • Real-World Experience

    Our students work closely alongside their professors to conduct thorough searches for potential evidence and human remains at crime scenes throughout the region.

    a group of forensic science students outside at a crime scene
Student Resources

    The Applied Forensic Sciences program offers courses leading to the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Applied Forensic Sciences with concentrations in Forensic Anthropology, Criminalistics/Forensic Biology and Forensic Chemistry. Students seeking the Applied Forensic Sciences, Bachelor of Science degree are required to take the courses and credits in the curriculum as in the course catalog. Credits from short courses and seminars (1-2 credits) at other university and research institutions may be used to complete credit requirements following approval by the Program Chairperson and Academic Dean of the College.

    Students must maintain a GPA of 2.75 overall and in the major. No required courses in the major may be taken on a Pass-Fail basis. Students who earn a grade less than a C in a required major course must repeat the course. Only a Pass (PA) will be accepted in the repeated course. Only two courses in the major may be repeated, either the same course or two different courses. No third repeat of any kind will be accepted. The necessity to repeat a third course will result in disenrollment from the program.

    Research Experience for Undergraduates - sponsored by the National Science Foundation

    The Research Experience for Undergraduates is a summer internship program funded by the National Science Foundation and administered through various institutions in the United States and abroad. The REU programs offer undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in multiple areas of research including, and not limited to, Chemistry, Biological Sciences and Physics. Most programs offer a stipend and potentially housing. Students must contact the individual sites for information and application materials.

    The Duke TIP Program

    The Duke TIP Program is an opportunity for undergraduate students to assist in teaching grade 4-12 students in a variety of educational programs. The programs are offered at multiple sites in the United States and abroad. All participants receive a stipend with room/board considerations.

    Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Education Programs

    The Department of Homeland Security sponsors the DHS HS-STEM Summer Internship Program that offers a 10-week summer research experience. Students have the opportunity to conduct research in DHS mission-relevant areas at federal research facilities located across the country. Participants receive a stipend plus transportation expenses to/from their internship location.

    Internships through the Smithsonian Institution

    Anthropology Internship at the National Museum of Natural History

    Anthropology Internships through the American Anthropological Association

    *Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office, Pittsburgh, PA

    *Cuyahoga County Coroner鈥檚 Office, Cleveland, OH

    *Erie County District Attorney鈥檚 Office, Erie, PA

    *Erie Police Department, Erie, PA

    Internship with the NY State Police

    Internships from the U.S. Secret Service

    *North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Raleigh, NC

    *VA Medical Center, Erie, PA

    *Indicates programs where Applied Forensic Sciences students have previously completed internships. For more information on those programs contact the Career Development Center.

    American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS)

    American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI)

    International Association for Identification (IAI)

    Crime Scene Investigator Network

    American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD)

    Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS)

    Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE)

    American Chemical Society (ACS)

    American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS)

    American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI)

    International Association for Identification (IAI)

    Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE)

    American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA)

    American Board of Criminalistics (ABC)

    Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS)

    Association of Forensic DND Analysts and Administrators (AFDAA)

    American Chemical Society (ACS)

    American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD)

    Graduate Student Publications and Meeting Presentations

    The following are some publications and presentations produced by current and past students in the Master鈥檚 in Forensic and Biological Anthropology Concentration, based on their research work at 六合彩开奖记录t University. The students at 六合彩开奖记录t often present at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences; American Association of Physical Anthropology; Forests, Lakes, & Grasslands Forensic Anthropology; Midwest Bioarchaeology & Forensic Anthropology; and Mid-Atlantic Bioanthropology Interest Group meetings each year.

    Publications

    Overbury RS, Cabo LL, Dirkmaat DC, Symes SA. 2009. Asymmetry of the os pubis: implications for the suchey-brooks method. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 139(2):261-268.

    Passalacqua NV. 2009. Forensic age-at-death estimation from the human sacrum. J. For. Sci. 54(2):255 - 262.

    Beach JJ, Passalacqua NV, and Chapman EN. 2008. Heat-related changes in tooth color: temperature versus duration of exposure. In CW Schmidt and SA Symes, editors, The analysis of burned human remains. San Diego: Academic Press. p 137-144.

    Garvin HM. 2008. Ossification of laryngeal structures as indicators of age. J. For. Sci. 53:1023-1027

    Symes SA, Rainwater CW, Chapman EN, Gipson DR, Piper AL. 2008. Patterned thermal destruction of human remains in a forensic setting. In CW Schmidt and SA Symes, editors, The analysis of burned human remains. San Diego: Academic Press. p 15-54.

    Vald茅s AV, L贸pez MR, Gonz谩lez SH, Passalacqua NV, Wilson AC, Cabo LL. 2008. Avance sobre el estudio de la necr贸polis medieval del Chao Samart铆n en Castro (Grandas de salime, Asturias). Territorio, Sociedad y Poder: Revista de Estudios Medievales 3:57-84

    Meeting Presentations

    Chapman EN, Stewart CN. 2014. The utility of GIS in analyzing patterns of osteoarthritis in the people of the erie county poorhouse. Poster presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists 83rd Annual Meeting. April 8-12, Calgary, AB, Canada.

    Gentner LS. 2014. Sexual dimorphism in the cementoenamel junction of american blacks. Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 66th Annual Meeting. February 17-22, Seattle, WA.

    Grosso AR. 2014. Examination of saw blade teeth-per-inch measurements in bone. Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 66th Annual Meeting. February 17-22, Seattle, WA.

    Lewis CJ, Garvin HM. 2014. Evaluating the need for population-specific wquations when assessing non-metric cranial sex traits. Poster presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists 83rd Annual Meeting. April 8-12, Calgary, AB, Canada.

    Lewis CJ, Garvin HM, Taylor AM. 2014. Inter- and intra-observer reliability using the walker non-metric sexing technique. Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 66th Annual Meeting. February 17-22, Seattle, WA.

    Meyers PL, Kuo S, Schultz JJ, Symes SA. 2014. An analysis of process signatures to burn progression of human bodies during commercial cremation. Podium presentation at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 66th Annual Meeting. February 17-22, Seattle, WA.

    Murphy RE, Garvin HM. 2014. A comparison of cranial trait and craniometric sexual dimorphism in a medieval nubian sample. Poster presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists 83rd Annual Meeting. April 8-12, Calgary, AB, Canada.

    Sanders KE, Ousley SD, Rose J, Hanihara T. 2014. Craniometric analysis of the howells egyptian sample: the greek connection. Poster presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists 83rd Annual Meeting. April 8 12, Calgary, AB, Canada.

    Taylor AM, Ousley SD, Garvin HM. 2014. Craniometric concordance: 3D surface scanner and digitizer measurements. Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 66th Annual Meeting. February 17-22, Seattle, WA.

    Carlson-Greer S, Jenkins K, Yezzi K, Chisholm L, Coil R, Tappen M. 2013. Taphonomy of a cutmark: post-depositional changes to cutmark morphology in a simulated fluvial environment. Presented at the Forests, Lakes, and Grasslands Forensic Anthropologists 3rd Annual Meeting. September 27-29, Roscommon, MI.

    Gentner LS. 2013. Sexual dimorphism in the cementoenamel junction of american black males and females. Presented at the Forests, Lakes, and Grasslands Forensic Anthropologists 3rd Annual Meeting. September 27-29, Roscommon, MI.

    Hatza AN, Ousley SD, Tuamsuk P. 2013. Stature estimation in modern thais: are population-specific estimation equations necessary? Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 65th Annual Meeting. February 18-23, Washington D.C.

    Lewis CJ. 2013. A review of the walker cranial sex estimation technique: observer error and population specific equations. Presented at the Forests, Lakes, and Grasslands Forensic Anthropologists 3rd Annual Meeting. September 27-29, Roscommon, MI.

    Messer DL, Ousley SD, Tuamsuk P. 2013. Human craniometric sexual dimorphism and rensch鈥檚 rule. Poster presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists 82nd Annual Meeting. April 9-13, Knoxville, TN.

    Messer DL, Ousley SD, Tuamsuk P. 2013. Patterns in worldwide craniometric sexual dimorphism and its importance in forensic anthropology. Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 65th Annual Meeting. February 18-23, Washington D.C.

    Murphy RE. Gentner LS. 2013. Testing the accumulated degree day methods of megyesi and vass using mercyhurst cases. Presented at the Forests, Lakes, and Grasslands Forensic Anthropologists 3rd Annual Meeting. September 27-29, Roscommon, MI.

    Powell EE, Roth MH, Garvin HM. 2013. Environmental plasticity of intralimb indices. Poster presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists 82nd Annual Meeting. April 9-13, Knoxville, TN.

    Powell EE, Ousley SD, Tuamsuk P. 2013. Sex estimation in a modern thai sample using non-metric traits of the innominate. Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 65th Annual Meeting. February 18-23, Washington D.C.

    Roth M, Ousley SD, Tuamsuk P. 2013. Sex estimation using non-metric traits in thai crania with the walker (2008) method. Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 65th Annual Meeting. February 18-23, Washington D.C.

    Siegel ND. 2013. The use of the endocranial base in the estimation of ancestry. Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 65th Annual Meeting. February 18-23, Washington D.C.

    Stewart CN. 2013. Utilization of electronic mapping at the outdoor recovery scene. Presented at the Forests, Lakes, and Grasslands Forensic Anthropologists 3rd Annual Meeting. September 27-29, Roscommon, MI.

    Stewart CN, Coschino F. 2013. GIS applications at medieval monastery in tuscany (italy). Presented at the Midwest Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology Association 20th Annual Meeting. November 8-10, Columbus, OH.

    Stromquist AK, Ousley SD. 2013. Secular changes in robusticity of limb bones in americans. Poster presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists 82nd Annual Meeting. April 9-13, Knoxville, TN.

    Taylor AM, Gentner LS. 2013. Utilizing ArcGIS explorer: an interactive approach to outdoor recovery scene mapping. Presented at the Forests, Lakes, and Grasslands Forensic Anthropologists 3rd Annual Meeting. September 27-29, Roscommon, MI.

    Yuzwa TS, Ousley SD. 2013. Modularity and integration in the human cranial vault. Poster presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists 82nd Annual Meeting. April 9-13, Knoxville, TN.

    Yuzwa TS, Ousley SD, Tuamsuk P. 2013. Sexual dimorphism in thai postcranial measurements. Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 65th Annual Meeting. February 18-23, Washington D.C

Forensic Sciences Facilities

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  • Applied Forensic Sciences Classroom

    The main classroom for Applied Forensic Sciences is in Zurn Hall, Room 119. 聽While primarily used as a lecture room, the classroom is also used by faculty and graduate students for research and casework and is often the location of special presentations given by guest lecturers.

    Common courses hosted in Zurn 119 include Paleoanthropology, Forensic Archaeology, and other graduate and undergraduate Forensic Anthropology courses. The classroom is also the primary location for the annual summer short courses in Forensic Anthropology which welcome students, faculty, and law enforcement professionals from national and international institutions.聽

    an applied forensic sciences classroom
  • Forensic Anthropology Processing Lab

    The Hirtzel Laboratory Extension, referred to as the Forensic Anthropology Wet Lab, is a secure facility located on the 六合彩开奖记录t campus. The Wet Lab is primarily utilized for processing specimens for the zooarchaeology collection housed in the Comparative Osteological Collection Laboratory.

    Vertebrate faunal remains are documented, macerated (soft tissue removed), and cleaned in this laboratory. This is where undergraduate students and work-study students receive most of their experience and training in processing. The Wet Lab is also used for undergraduate research, with assistance from and/or in collaboration with graduate students and faculty.

    In addition to processing zooarchaeology specimens, many graduate and undergraduate students use the Wet Lab to take overall, group, and individual photos for cases. The Wet Lab also stores all necessary supplies for labeling and casting which are needed for classifying and identifying skeletal elements that are housed in Evidence Lock-Up. Due to the sensitive nature of materials processed in the Wet Lab, this room is kept locked at all times and a daily activities log is maintained.聽

    六合彩开奖记录t's Forensic Anthropology Wet Lab
  • Briggs Annex Graduate House

    The Briggs Annex Graduate House, commonly known as the Annex, is a building that accommodates offices for all Forensic Anthropology graduate students and Professor Luis Cabo (Health and Safety Manager and Director of Graduate Student Research). Graduate students and faculty have 24/7 key access to this facility. Each graduate student maintains a desk in the Annex, which can be used for studying or for TA office hours. The Annex also maintains a kitchenette for graduate student use.

    Additionally, the Annex contains a technology lab providing students access to software such as Adobe Photoshop and ArcGIS, as well as a large desktop space and 3D scanners available for research and casework. All forensic archaeological excavation and recovery equipment can be found in the shed adjacent to the Annex.

    the mercyhurst briggs annex building
  • Ted A. Rathbun Osteology Laboratory

    The Ted A. Rathbun Osteology Laboratory, also known as the Bone Lab, serves the purpose of providing a smaller teaching facility (capacity of 12-15 students) for hands-on intensive courses, such as Fragmentary Human Osteology and Skeletal Trauma Analysis. It is also utilized as a storage resource facility for the human and animal osteological collections in the possession of the Department of Applied Forensic Sciences.

    The Bone Lab includes a wall with drawers from floor-to-ceiling containing our comparative collections of human remains, large vertebrate skeletons, vertebrate faunal collections, fossil hominid casts, and donated human skeletal remains. This laboratory is equipped with osteometric devices including digital sliding and spreading callipers, osteometric boards, and FORDISC 3.0, an interactive computer program used by Forensic Anthropologists for biological profiling. In addition, this laboratory is home to an extensive range of osteological and anthropological literature, available to faculty and students as references, research, and study materials.聽

    a pile of bones on a table in a lab
  • Hirtzel Forensic Anthropology Laboratory

    六合彩开奖记录t's Department of Applied Forensic Sciences houses one of the most well-equipped facilities offered by a forensic anthropology program in North East, Pennsylvania. The Hirtzel Forensic Anthropology Laboratory includes a secure processing laboratory with an autopsy suite, state-of-the-art autopsy tools and benches, a digital x-ray machine, a classroom, and a walk-in cooler for the storage of human remains.聽

    the hirtzel laboratory at 六合彩开奖记录t North East
  • Criminalistics Lab

    The Criminalistics Laboratory, also called the Crim Lab, is located in Zurn Hall, room 64B. This versatile lab, designed to look like a living room in a house, is used to set up mock crime scenes where students practice blood spatter analysis, microscopic comparison of ballistic evidence, fingerprinting, and crime scene sketching. The Crim Lab can be set up to accommodate any topic that is discussed in the Introduction to Forensic Science and Criminalistics classes. The Crim Lab doubles as an office for Professor Dennis Donovan, a retired Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant, and as a main workspace for the department's work-study students.聽

    the mercyhurst criminalistics lab
  • 六合彩开奖记录t Forensic Anthropology Van

    The Department of Applied Forensic Sciences has a 15-passenger van used for transporting students, faculty, and equipment to case recoveries and the North East Hirtzel Forensic Anthropology Laboratory. The van is kept at the Briggs Annex Graduate House.

    mercyhurst's forensic sciences van