Enhancement of Biology Undergraduate Curriculum and Infrastructure to Establish a Forensic Science Certificate Program

The necessity for greater representation and advancement of minorities in the forensic science community is apparent from current events that emphasize the struggle for justice and equality in criminal justice and law enforcement. This activity will serve a twofold purpose: 1) enhance the Biology undergraduate curriculum and infrastructure and 2) establish an embedded Forensic Science Certificate Program in which coursework will result in a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and an accredited certificate of Forensic Science being earned at the same time.

Forensic science is the application of a broad spectrum of sciences and technologies to law enforcement. Forensic biology, a rapidly evolving sub-discipline of forensic science applies the principles of biology to law applications. Forensic biology integrates all areas of biology represented in the Biology curriculum.

Implementing forensic biology across the Biology curriculum will have a positive impact on students, the Biology Department and the University. Exposing students to the field of forensic biology will strengthen the biology curriculum, and support learning in core academic subjects.  Offering students a certificate in Forensic Science will prepare them for a wide range of career opportunities in specialized areas of forensics as well as professional school. The Career Outlook/Job Demand: 2013-2014 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that forensic scientist careers are expected to increase by 19% by the year 2020. A student career interest survey administered by Dr. Alphonso Keaton showed overwhelming interest in the Forensic Biology (~175 student, data available upon request). Additionally, implementation of forensic biology into the curriculum can be used as a recruitment tool to attract students interested in the field of Forensic Science.

Contact :
Deirdre Vaden, Ph.D.-Associate Professor
Phone : 936-261-3163
E-mail : dlvaden@pvamu.edu