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Certificate in Forensic Studies

The Certificate in Forensic Studies is primarily designed as a step toward a baccalaureate degree for those interested in a career in the forensic sciences or a related field. It is also designed as an avenue for law enforcement agents, forensic scientists, or other professionals in the justice system to satisfy mandatory continuing education requirements for continued employment or promotion. It may also fill needs for personal enrichment and the satisfaction of intellectual curiosity among those with a non-vocational interest in forensic science. The curriculum design derives from ethnographic observations of forensic scientists and their work. The following observations about forensic scientists are relevant.

  • Forensic scientists work within the criminal and civil justice systems. Therefore courses in criminology and the justice system are appropriate.
  • Forensic scientists are scientists, and exhibit a broad range of expertise and training in a wide variety of natural and social sciences. Therefore courses in a wide variety of sciences are appropriate.
  • Forensic scientists examine, analyze and interpret evidence; they then document their findings and opinions in reports that are used by investigators, attorneys and other persons involved in the justice system. Therefore, courses related to writing, drawing, photography, and other mechanisms of non-oral communication are appropriate.
  • Forensic scientists testify in court about their analyses and opinions. Therefore, courses related to public speaking and oral communication are appropriate.
  • Forensic scientists must follow strict codes of ethics. Therefore, courses related to ethics are appropriate.
  • These observations about forensic scientists are embodied in the curriculum for the Certificate in Forensic Studies, which includes specific courses about forensic science, courses in the natural and social sciences, courses related to effective communication, and courses related to ethics.

Certificate in Forensic Studies (18 cr)

Core Forensic Science Courses: Both of the following classes are required (6 credits)
  • CJUS 125N (ANTH 286N) Introduction to Forensic Science 3cr

  • CJUS 488 (ANTH 488) Forensic Science Beyond the Crime Lab
Science Electives: 6 credits in appropriate courses from the following departments. In general courses with a suffix of "N" (courses that have been designated as University of Montana – Missoula General Education Group XI, Natural Sciences courses in any department) are appropriate. Courses numbered under 100 may not be counted toward this requirement.
  • Anthropology:  Physical Anthropology or Archaeology methods or theory
  • Biology:  Any
  • Chemistry:  Any
  • Computer Science:  Any
  • Environmental Studies:  101N
  • Geology:  Any
  • Pharmacy:  110N
  • Mathematics-Statistics:  STAT 216
  • Physics:  Any
  • Psychology:  Any
  • Science:  SCI 225N, 226N
  • Sociology:  SOCI 110S, Criminology courses

Communication: One 3 credit course related to written, oral, or pictorial communication including selected courses in Art, Curriculum & Instruction, Communication, Communications Studies, Computer Science, English, Forestry, Journalism, Linguistics, and Media Arts. Courses numbered under 100 may not be counted toward this requirement.

Ethics: One 3 credit course that has been designated as a University of Montana – Missoula General Education Group VIII (Ethics and Human Values) course in any department.

For more information, please contact:
Associate Professor Randall Skelton
(406)243-4245
randall.skelton@umontana.edu