Since its first induction in 1971, the B.S. in Forensic Chemistry program in the Chemistry Department at Buffalo State has been committed to providing a high-quality and well-rounded experience for its students. We have striven to inform, educate and provide a learning environment that will best prepare our students for a wide-range of career options in forensic science and related areas. Thus, it is important that students have a firm foundation in chemistry, mathematics, biology and physics, so that they will understand the intricacies of their chosen field. We labor to prepare each student individually for the rigors of forensic analyses, research and legal mandates within the context of the Chemistry Department. In today’s world, textbooks are only a part of the information that can be used to enhance one’s knowledge—it is also important to help the student become open-minded, ethical, adaptable, and to develop critical thinking skills—to ensure success in the continually evolving field of forensic chemistry. We achieve this mission by:
-- Providing a high-quality and comprehensive curriculum wherein students can acquire the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for success in their chosen field.
-- Integrating coursework in chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics with research and hands-on experience
-- Helping students to develop skills in analytical thinking, quantitative methods, problem-solving, critical thinking, and effective communication
-- Embracing diversity
-- Enabling students, staff, and faculty to gain new knowledge through research
-- Providing students with thorough academic and career guidance
-- Contributing to the college community, Western New York, and beyond through outreach, engagement, and public education
Forensic scientists work in morgues, laboratories, court settings and police departments. They are employed by local, state and federal government agencies; public and private universities; medical examiner offices; forensic and medical laboratories; hospitals; law firms; police departments and a growing number of private companies. They can also be self-employed as consultants to courts, law enforcement agencies, university-based research laboratories, law firms and medical examiner offices. According to the survey of the American Academy for Forensic Sciences (AAFS) in 2004, more than 10,000 job opportunities in the field of forensic science are expected over the next decade to address an expanding case backlog.
Although employment rates will differ regionally, and depend on national and statewide funding, local populations and state crime rates, employment opportunities will always exist. The expected employment opportunities for forensic scientists can, in part, be driven by the continued scientific and technological advances. New methods and instrumentation for the chemical/biological sciences have created unprecedented and revolutionary opportunities to collect and examine criminal evidence. This has created backlogs in forensic laboratories, particularly in DNA analyses.
The need for an adequate supply of trained forensic scientists to perform complex analyses is a significant challenge for forensic laboratories. Newly trained forensic scientists from our program will have learned about the concepts and instrumentation underlying the technologies that will be the future of forensic science, while developing an understanding of the practical issues related to the analysis of evidence is performed in a professional, timely manner. Our program offers rigorous training in the theories and practical aspects of chemistry, with a focus on analytical techniques, and contributes to the development of both the practical aspects of forensic practice, as well as the training of future forensic practitioners. This program also meets the requirements for certification by the American Chemical Society, and as such, fully prepares students to enter a professional career not only in forensic science, but also in analytical chemistry, with direct relevance to any prospective employment positions requiring the precision and performance associated with forensic chemistry techniques.
-- Drugs, toxicology, firearms, trace, DNA, arson, etc.
-- Local and state law enforcement
-- Standard material testing
-- Paint manufacture
-- Personal products
-- Building materials
-- Molecular biology
-- Forensic science
-- Food science
-- Dental school
Your success in our forensic chemistry program can benefit greatly from forensic internships, volunteer programs, and research programs during your time in school. Such opportunities can provide you with an introduction to the forensic careers available and help you get hands-on experience working beside an experienced crime scene investigator. These experiences can pay off in the form of a better education and lead to rewarding forensic jobs. It will be to your advantage to begin investigating some of the following opportunities early in your forensic education. Students in the forensic chemistry program must enroll internship (FOR412) that will give them an additional training in professional local forensic laboratories such as Erie County Central Police Services, Erie County Medical Examiners Office, and Niagara County Sheriff's Office. Internships are generally unpaid.
Important Note: Internships for some places may require background checks similar to those listed above. Individuals seeking employment in a forensic science laboratory may be required to undergo an extensive background check including a lie detector test, fingerprinting, and drug testing.