Chemistry class at York College of Pennsylvania

Forensic Chemistry

Be the expert, from the lab to the courtroom.

The criminal justice field involves more than police officers and lawyers. Forensic chemists also play an important role in investigations. They specialize in analyzing evidence, and they use scientific processes to draw conclusions about a crime. 

York College’s major in Forensic Chemistry places you at a distinct advantage for careers requiring both a robust understanding of chemistry and problem-solving skills. You’ll get hands-on experience with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, and you’ll work closely with a faculty of expert chemists who will guide you through research and project-based learning. 

Employment opportunities in forensic chemistry are projected to grow by 14% from 2019 to 2029 — a much faster rate than most other occupations. As a result, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that 2,400 new forensic chemistry jobs will be created during this 10-year period. In the Forensic Chemistry program at York College, you’ll build a strong foundation for a future in this quickly growing field.

A student in a lab coat and safety goggles places a label near a mock crime scene's dining table. A second student stands back and photographs the scene.

Majoring in Forensic Chemistry

  • Key Courses

    Key Courses

    The Forensic Chemistry major offers a wide variety of required classes, electives, and real-world learning opportunities. These include:

    • FCM 210: Criminalistics
    • FCM 362: Crime Scene Processing
    • FCM 392: Forensic Chemistry
    • FCM 394: Forensic Biology
    • CHM 455: Professional Practice in Chemistry and Forensic Chemistry
  • Career Opportunities & Benefits

    Career Opportunities & Benefits

    No matter your interests, York College’s experienced faculty will guide you toward real-world opportunities that allow you to build a strong professional network in your preferred subject area.

    These are just a few of the many career opportunities available to graduates of the Forensic Chemistry program:

    • Forensic Science Technician
    • Crime Lab Chemist
    • Researcher
    • Wildlife Forensic Scientist
    • Forensic Chemist
    • Toxicologist

    Forensic Chemistry Salary Information

    With a Forensic Chemistry degree, you’ll develop the skills needed to work in a variety of areas. About 90% of forensic chemists work in labs associated with a federal, state, or local police department; medical examiner’s office; forensic services lab; or branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). To work in these labs, you’ll need an undergraduate degree in forensic science or a related field. Lab managers or supervisors may also require a master’s degree.

    The median salary for forensic chemistry jobs is around $60,000. Entry level trainee positions may start at a lower rate of pay ($27,000-$44,000), but top salaries can reach to nearly $130,000 per year with advanced degrees or work experience.

    Benefits of a Degree in Forensic Chemistry

    In the York College Forensic Chemistry program, you’ll learn to identify physical evidence and use the power of science to discover how it ended up on a scene. A major benefit of a degree in forensic chemistry is the opportunity you’ll have to support justice. You’ll use science to solve crimes and bring the truth to light. If this combination of scientific analysis and criminology sounds interesting to you, a career in forensic chemistry may be a great fit. 

    • Participate in the criminal justice process from a behind-the-scenes research perspective
    • Do exciting work! No two days are the same.
    • Help to put criminals behind bars, based on forensic evidence and expert testimony. 
  • Internships & Work Experience

    Internships & Work Experience

    York College’s state-of-the-art facilities allow you access to the types of equipment used by professional forensic scientists — so when you start your first job after graduating, you’ll feel comfortable in the lab from day one. 

    During your senior year, you’ll also complete a forensic laboratory experience (CHM 455: Professional Practice in Chemistry and Forensic Chemistry) and either an internship or independent study in the field of forensic chemistry.

  • Mentorship & Community

    Mentorship & Community

    As a Forensic Chemistry major, you’ll work closely with faculty who are practitioners in their field. Students often conduct research side- by-side with professors, even as undergraduates. 

    You’ll also have opportunities to participate in scholarly events and networking. Forensic Chemistry students have attended conferences around the country — and around the world! Past trips have included global climate talks in Paris, in addition to other domestic and international travel. 

    Membership in the Chemistry Society is also an option for students in the Forensic Chemistry program. This student organization provides a social network for York College scientists, featuring peer support, field trips, and special projects.

  • High-Demand Skills

    High-Demand Skills

    Skills to be a Forensic Chemist

    Outside of the required scientific abilities, a background in criminology is useful for many careers in forensic chemistry. Employers also value forensic chemists with skills in public speaking and technical writing. This job is about more than just scientific analysis; it also involves writing detailed reports and objectively testifying in court during criminal trials. 

    Best Minors for a Degree in Forensic Chemistry

    One of the best minors for a degree in forensic chemistry is criminal justice/criminology. A good forensic chemist may often assist law enforcement or others in the criminal justice system as they analyze evidence. A minor in criminal justice, paired with a degree in forensic chemistry, will ensure you have necessary knowledge in both the sciences and the law. 

Program Requirements

Required Courses and Degree Requirements for Graduation
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2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Contact Us
Jessica M. Fautch, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Chemistry
Campbell Hall, Room 211A
Phone: 717.815.1328
Contact for appt.