For those who are interested in the pursuit of justice and have a scientific mind, a degree in forensic science, criminal justice, or a related field can be an ideal educational path.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 17 increase in the number of jobs for forensic science technicians between 2016 and 2026, and this is one of many opportunities open to professionals trained in forensics. By comparison, the BLS predicts an average 7 percent growth among all occupations nationwide in the same decade.
Delaware—the first state to ratify the constitution and the second smallest in land area—has several options for individuals interested in such a career.
Forensic science combines biological knowledge and laboratory techniques to prevent, deal with, and solve breaches in law enforcement, criminal justice, homeland security, and other areas. Careers available to graduates with bachelor’s degrees in forensic science include positions in state or federal crime labs, medical examiners offices, private investigations firms, and homeland security agencies. Graduates with a BS in forensic sciences are prepared for graduate work in biology, chemistry, medicine, or other scientific areas.
Related careers in criminal justice and information security are also on the rise. Criminal justice professionals may work in a variety of public and private settings, such as law enforcement bureaus, probation and parole offices, and correctional facilities in addition to law offices, child welfare agencies, and juvenile detention centers. And with the ever increasing use of the internet, digital platforms, and electronic transmission of data across all industries, cybersecurity professionals are becoming increasingly in demand to deal with issues of internet privacy, ethical commerce, and national security.
Read on to learn more about forensic science and related programs in criminal justice and information security in the state of Delaware.
Delaware County Community College – Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice
DCCC has several campus-based associate’s degrees in criminal justice. The only of its kind in Delaware, the program entails coursework in English, math, psychology and public speaking, in addition to criminology, abnormal psychology, and the principles of investigation. This degree is intended to support students planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the criminal justice field.
Delaware State University – Bachelor of Science in Forensic Biology
Home to one of the a handful of bachelor of science (BS) in forensic biology programs in the country, Delaware State offers an interdisciplinary degree program for aspiring forensic scientists.
Coursework spans biology, chemistry, mathematics, and criminal justice areas, in addition to psychology and photography. Emphasizing practical experience, students have the opportunity to work with professionals in the field at law enforcement, military, or community agencies. Select students are granted internships in lieu of doing research for their Capstone project, affording the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a crime laboratory.
Graduates of the BS in forensics are equipped with the skills necessary to analyze crime scenes, conduct cause-of-death investigations, carry-out DNA analysis, and prepare reports and presentations of test results. Courses are taught by both academics and professional experts in the field.
University of Delaware – Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice
UD offers a campus-based bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice with four areas of study: criminology, criminal law, international criminal justice, crime and inequality, and social justice.
These majors are designed for students seeking careers in law, law enforcement, and the courts, as well as in victim service counseling, financial fraud investigations, and research. The graduate school offers degrees in law, criminology/criminal justice, social sciences, public administration, social work, and forensic science.
The criminal justice department is affiliated with the internationally renowned Disaster Research Center (DRC) and the Center for Drug and Health Studies (CDHS). In addition to studying under the guidance of an esteemed faculty, students have the opportunity to participate in research, field experience, and study abroad programs in professional settings within the criminal justice field. The university also offers the unique opportunity for undergraduates to take courses inside a correctional institution with incarcerated men and women though its Inside/Out Program.
Wilmington University – Online Bachelor of Science in Computer and Network Security; Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice; Online Master’s in Cybersecurity
Also recognized as a national center of academic excellence in cyber defense by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, the bachelor of science in computer and network security at Wilmington University allows students to specialize in areas such as digital forensics. The program is offered both online and face-to-face at the New Castle, Dover, Cumberland, Brandywine, or McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst campuses.
The BS in computer and network security provides training in the technical skills needed to solve cybersecurity breaches as well as the “soft skills” needed to understand such problems, as well as the risks and solutions. Examples of such skills are written and oral communication and critical thinking. Courses included in the digital forensics degree include: electronic discovery, foundations in cyber investigations, introduction to computer forensics, mobile device security and forensics, computer incident response, and network forensics.
Some of the roles that graduates fulfill upon graduation with this degree are computer crime investigator, computer network defense forensic analyst, digital forensic examiner, network forensic examiner, security engineer, and ethical hacker.
WilmU also an MS in cybersecurity-mastery of offensive security tactics program. This 100 percent online degree addresses topics such as cyber intelligence, cybercrime investigative principles, forensics, preservation of critical infrastructures, counter sabotage and espionage. Program participants are assessed on their expertise in information systems prior to entrance; prerequisite courses will be required based on the individual performance on the placement exam.
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers a related undergraduate program, a bachelor of science in criminal justice, for students seeking careers in law enforcement, corrections, courts, probation, parole, private security, and related justice-oriented professions. Offered online or onsite, students in the criminal justice undergraduate degree program have the option of participating in a community and academic partnership (CAP) co-op experience. Students opting for the co-op complete a semester in a supervised educational work setting in conjunction with six credits of coursework. Co-op participants typically work at the same field placement for two consecutive semesters. Students must have completed 60 credits of coursework with a minimum GPA of 2.5 to be eligible for the CAP/Co-op program.
University of Delaware – Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity
UD offers an online master of science (MS) in cybersecurity. Designated a national center of academic excellence in cyber defense education, the program offers a strong theoretical foundation and practical training.
Students are taught how to design sound networks, software and systems. Ideal candidates for UD’s MS in cybersecurity have a background in fields such as computer science, information systems or engineering. The 30-credit program can be completed in two years. Graduates have the skills to use apply forensic tools to mitigate threats using virtual machines.
To learn more about distance-based degrees open to students in Delaware, please visit the online forensics programs page.
Aspiring forensic scientists may have science, math and or information/computer science prerequisites to fulfill before gaining entry to a forensics, criminal justice, or cybersecurity program, as an undergraduate or graduate student. Be sure to consult an advisor as you begin the application process in order to confirm program requirements and the appropriate sequence and progression of courses.
A bachelor of science in forensic biology, for example, typically entails about 125 credits of coursework in the following areas:
Criminal justice programs typically require the following foundation and core courses:
Computer and network security core curricula typically includes study of the following:
Though it is advantageous to attend a program in forensic science recognized by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), there are many quality programs that have not been evaluated by FEPAC and still offer solid educational preparation in the field.
Regardless of whether a degree program is accredited by FEPAC, certification in the area of specialization an aspiring forensics professional plans to pursue is recommended. Certification attests to the body of knowledge possessed and area of professional expertise. It also demonstrates a commitment to the field and sets a standard for excellence in practice.
Forensic DNA specialists at the Delaware Division of Forensic Science (DFS) are required to have a BS/BA degree in biology, chemistry, or forensic science. In addition, the degree program must have included coursework in genetics, biochemistry, statistics, and molecular biology. Employment with the DFS also entails a minimum of six months of on-the-job training. Other employment specifications detail that candidates with large-scale laboratory work experience receive special consideration.
It is recommended by the National Commission on Forensic Science that all forensic science practitioners become certified in all relevant areas of testing within one year of eligibility. The following is list of certification organizations and their testing areas:
As a final note, the following are certification recommended for computer and network (information) security professionals: