Do more than pursue scientific answers. Use those answers to pursue justice.

Forensic science uses scientific principles to assist our criminal justice system through ballistics, crime scene investigation, DNA analysis, forensic toxicology, fingerprint analysis, forensic drug analysis, and digital forensic analysis. Forensic chemists typically analyze non-biological evidence and controlled substances found at crime scenes or taken from crime suspects.

You’ll use a variety of sophisticated lab techniques, including gas chromatography, infrared spectroscopy, microscopy, spot testing and mass spectroscopy and apply knowledge from diverse areas, such as chemistry, biology, and genetics, to help solve crimes.

The forensic chemistry option prepares you for a career in chemistry, toxicology, forensic science, and law enforcement as a chemist, scientist, or crime scene investigator.

What You'll Do 

  • Interact closely with experienced faculty who are current and former forensic professionals.
  • Gain hands-on learning experiences training in our $700,000 forensic education “mock” crime lab, using the same methods, instruments, and tools used by forensic professionals.
  • Experience coursework recommended by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
  • Connect with a network of forensic science alumni and gain opportunities for mentoring and internships.

What Can You Do with a Forensic Chemistry Degree?

Your education is just one piece to launching an extraordinary career. Once you’ve mastered the material, you still have to find the job you want, make the right connections, sell your knowledge and experience—and if all this is giving you anxiety, don’t panic. SEMO’s Career Services office is here to help you with the next step. They’ll provide the expertise and support you need, so you’re landing your dream job in no time. 

Internship, Employment, and Graduate School Opportunities of Recent Graduates

  • Arkansas State Crime Laboratory
  • Illinois State Police Forensic Sciences Command
  • Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Laboratory Division
  • Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department
  • US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory
  • US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
  • United States Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Numerous state and local forensic laboratories nationwide
  • Biokyowa
  • Buzzi Unicem USA
  • Eli Lilly
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Monsanto
  • Pharmacia (currently part of Pfizer)
  • PPG Industries
  • Proctor and Gamble
  • MilliporeSigma
  • Numerous additional chemical companies
  • John Hopkins University
  • Purdue University
  • University of Illinois (School of Medicine, Graduate School)
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of WisconsinMadison
  • Washington University
  • Michigan State University
  • Numerous additional top-tier chemistry graduate and professional schools

Forensic Chemistry Degree Map

Explore the courses you'll need to complete your degree.

Outcomes & Careers

  • $63k

    Forensic Science Technician

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for a forensic science technician is $63,740.

  • $90k


    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for a chemist is $90,530.

  • $81k

    Chemist & Materials Scientist

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for a chemist and material scientist is $81,810.

What You'll Study

Degree Map

As a forensic chemistry major, you’ll prepare for careers in forensic science or chemistry. You’ll complete a minimum of 120 credit hours to complete this degree, including the general education requirements and at least 39 senior division hours. A minor is required. 

“Critical Courses” are italicized and bolded. Data shows that students who have completed this course in the first two years and have earned the noted grade are most likely to complete this program of study.

Required Courses:

  • CH184 General Chemistry I Lab (1)
  • CH185 General Chemistry I (3)
  • CH186 General Chemistry II (3)
  • CH187 General Chemistry II Lab (1)
  • CH195 Chemistry Seminar I (1)
  • CH271 Foundations of Analytical Chemistry (5)
  • CH295 Chemistry Seminar 2 (2)
  • CH306 Inorganic Chemistry (3)
  • CH341 Found of Organic Chem (4)
  • CH342 Organic Chemistry Lab I (1)
  • CH360 Polymer Chemistry (1) 
  • CH495 Chemistry Seminar 3 (1)
  • CH531 Found of Biochemistry (3)

Forensic Chemistry Option:

  • CH313 Physical Chemistry Laboratory (3)
  • CH343 Advanced Organic Chemistry (3)
  • CH420 Forensic Chemistry (4)
  • CH533 Biochemistry Laboratory (2)
  • CH575 Chemical Instrumentation (4)
  • EV460 Introduction to Toxicology (3)
  • FS351 Criminalistics (3)
  • FS550 Forensic Microscopy (2)
  • FS553 Analysis of Pattern Evidence (3)
  • MA423 Statistical Analysis for Forensic Science (3)
  • Choose 3-4 hours of CH or FS electives (300-500 level)
Choose one course:
  • CH311 Foundations of Physical Chemistry (4)
  • CH312 Advanced Physical Chemistry (3)

Additional Requirements:

  • MA140 Analytical Geometry and Calculus I (5)
  • MA145 Analytical Geometry and Calculus II (4)
  • PH120 Introductory Physics I (5)
  • PH121 Introductory Physics II (5)
  • PH230 General Physics I (5)
  • PH231 General Physics II (5)

Some requirements may be fulfilled by coursework in major program.
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences – 6 hours
  • Constitution Requirement – 3 hours
  • Written Communication – 6 hours
  • Oral Communication – 3 hours
  • Natural Sciences – 7 hours (from two disciplines, one to include a lab)
  • Mathematics – 3 hours
  • Humanities & Fine Arts – 9 hours (from at least two disciplines)
  • Additional requirements – 5 hours (to include UI100 for native students)
  • Civics examination

Freshman Year    

Fall Semester (14 Hours)     
  • UI100 (1) 
  • EN100 (3)  
  • CH184/185 (4) 
  • CH195 (1)
  • MA140 (5) 
Spring Semester (15 Hours)    
  • CH186/187 (4)
  • MA145 (4)
  • General Education (3) 
  • General Education (3) 

Milestone: Maintain 2.0 cumulative GPA

Sophomore Year    

Fall Semester (15 Hours)
  • CH271/071 (5) 
  • CH341 (4) 
  • CH342 (1)
  • PH120/020 or PH230/030 (5) 
Spring Semester (16 Hours)    
  • CH295 (2)
  • CH343 (3)
  • PH121/021 or PH231/031 (5)
  • General Education (3)
  • General Education (3)

Milestone: Maintain 2.0 cumulative GPA

(summer courses are encouraged to avoid 18 hour semesters)

Junior Year    

Fall Semester (16 Hours)    
  • CH306 (3) 
  • CH360 (1)
  • CH420 (4) 
  • CH531 (3)
  • FS550 (3) 
  • General Education (3) 
Spring Semester (14 Hours)     
  • CH533 (2)
  • FS351 (3)
  •  MA423 (3)
  • General Education (3)
  • General Education (3)

Milestone: Maintain 2.0 cumulative GPA

Senior Year    

Fall Semester (15-16 Hours)     
  • CH311 or CH312 or CH/FS elective (3-4)
  • EV460 (3) 
  • FS553 (3) 
  • Elective (3) 
  • Elective (3) 
Spring Semester (13-14 Hours)  
  • CH311 or CH312 or CH/FS elective (3-4)
  • CH313 (3)
  • CH495 (1)
  • CH575 (4)
  • Elective (2-3) 

Milestone: Maintain 2.0 cumulative GPA

A “Milestone” signifies a significant stage for a student in the completion of a degree.

Become a Redhawk.

Do more than dream about the future. Take the first steps to make it all happen.

I am a chemistry major with an emphasis in forensics. A few of my classes are taught by adjunct faculty who work at the local crime lab. This is awesome because it really helps to learn from individuals who are experienced in the field.

Brynn Myers, Student
Rhodes Hall 306
Mailing Address

Department of Chemistry and Physics
One University Plaza, MS 6400
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701