Forensic Science

Forensic science is where science and the law intersect. Experts in this field use their knowledge to assist with legal proceedings. Forensic work can be used to be used in criminal and civil cases, and branches of science that can be associated with it include the following:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Dentistry
  • Engineering
  • Medicine


Since this field such a large one, forensic scientists tend to specialize in a particular area. Scientists may obtain the necessary skills and training to become a forensic pathologist, for example, and give evidence at criminal proceedings about the precise manner in which a person died.

Forensic toxicologists conduct tests to determine whether drugs or poisons are present in a person's body and help to establish the cause of death. They are familiar with the effects of a number of substances, including alcohol, narcotics, prescription medications, metals and gases.

Types of Forensic Science Work

There are three main categories of forensic science work that someone could choose when looking at a career in this field. Opportunities exist in the field, as well as in medical, and laboratory services jobs.

Field services jobs involve scientists visiting crime scenes to collect evidence, take measurements and make direct observations. These forensic scientists may visit any type of crime scene, including arson, assault, rape and murder.

Many people are familiar with laboratory services work, thanks to the popularity of television shows where forensic investigations are featured. Most tests and toxicology reports are conducted in a laboratory setting. These forensic scientists must work carefully and precisely to track the procedures they follow, as well as their results.

Medical forensic scientists, like pathologists and dentists, are called on to conduct examinations and tests. When a case gets to the court system, they may be called upon to give expert testimony, either on behalf of the prosecution or the defense in a criminal trial.

No matter which branch a person working in this field chooses to focus on, forensic science is always focused on the evidence. Finding the truth is always the ultimate goal in legal proceedings, and science can play a vital role in providing evidence to help lawyers and judges.