Forensic Science Major Resources

Forensic Science Major Resources

The major in Forensic Science (FOS) is designed to provide academic and professional training for students seeking to work in forensic science laboratories, or who are planning to pursue careers as research scientists, teachers or medical professionals. The major draws primarily from chemistry (organic, analytical and physical) with courses in biology, physics and law. Students may specialize in one of three tracks: Criminalistics, Molecular Biology, or Toxicology.

Here you will find:
● Key information about your major
● How and when to meet with your major advisor
● Planning tools that will help you track your progress in the major
● Ways to explore career opportunities related to the Forensic Science major
 
Take a few moments to look at the information below. It will help you plan effectively and avoid surprises during your studies at John Jay.
 
Forensic Science Requirements

Admission Requirements

Freshmen
To be admitted to the Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) major as a freshman, you must meet the following criteria:
 
Out-of-State Freshmen
High School academic average of 81 or higher AND
3 years of HS Math AND
3 years of HS Science AND
Have taken HS Chemistry course
 
In-State Freshmen
High School academic average of 81 or higher AND
3.5 units of HS Math AND
4 units of HS Science AND
Have taken HS Chemistry Regents OR HS Chemistry course
 
 1. If you meet the above criteria and select Forensic Science as your desired major on your admissions application, you will be approved for the FOS major. Your first chemistry and biology courses at John Jay will be determined by your math placement.
 
2. If you do not meet the above criteria, you will be defaulted to a Criminal Justice BS (CJBS) major, which you could change to another non-science major if you wish. If you still have a strong interest in the FOS major, you can try to achieve admission to the major by doing the following:
  • Register for a Life and Physical Science course in your first semester at John Jay (SCI 114, in-person lecture rather than on-line, is the preferred choice, or SCI 110 or 112).
  • Register for your math placement course.
  • Earn at least a 2.5 GPA in your math and science courses
  • ​At the end of the term, after your grades have been posted, consult with the Science Department about whether you can declare the FOS major, or possibly consider a biology or chemistry minor.

 

​3. If you did not apply for the FOS major but are interested in declaring it, at your freshman registration session you must express this interest. An academic advisor will give you a Referral Form to take to the Admissions Office, where they will evaluate your eligibility. If admitted, you will be allowed to register for the appropriate biology and chemistry courses. If not, see the steps above for students who do not currently meet the major's admission criteria.

 
Continuing Students
If you would like to switch to FOS from another major, consult with Dr. Sandra Swenson (sswenson@jjay.cuny.edu) to discuss the feasibility of this switch and learn what you can do to put yourself in the strongest position for admission.
 
Transfer Students
In order to gain admission to FOS as a transfer student, you must have completed core science courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, or calculus at another college with a GPA of 2.5 or higher in these courses. If you don’t meet these admissions criteria, consult with Dr. Sandra Swenson (sswenson@jjay.cuny.edu)  to discuss your options.

Major Requirements

You are responsible for the major requirements that were in effect when you declared the major. To confirm the requirements you should be following, go to the Undergraduate Bulletin for that academic year. For example, if you declared the Forensic Science major in Fall 2015 or Spring 2016, you would click on the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin. If you declared the major and then left the College for more than one full semester, you’re responsible for the major requirements in effect when you return, if they have changed. Not sure when you declared the major? Find out here.
 
Below, find the Undergraduate Bulletin that was in effect when you declared the major.

FOS Courses That Meet General Education Requirements

Below is a list of FOS courses that can also meet your general education requirements. Note that a single science course cannot meet both the Life and Physical Science requirement and the Scientific World requirement. You must meet these requirements with two separate courses.

 

Math &
Quantitative Reasoning

Life & Physical Science

Scientific World
 
 

 

Major Advising

Schedule an Advising Appointment

The FOS major advisor is Dr. Sandra Swenson, whose advisement hours are Monday and Wednesday, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. Her preferred way for students to make an appointment with her is through AdvisorTrac:
 

1.       Go to AdvisorTrac.

2.      Log in with your John Jay email username (firstname.lastname) and password (the same as your John Jay email password).

4.      To schedule an appointment, click “Search Availability” at the top of the page.

5.      In the drop-down box, choose “ Science Department.”

6.      Click the “Search” button to view available appointments. (Leaving the search options set to their default will provide you with the most available appointments.)

7.      Click on a time slot that works with your schedule.

8.     Select a REASON and save the appointment. The Welcome page will appear and show the appointment you have scheduled.

Major Advisors

Coordinator

Professor Nicholas Petraco, Department of Sciences

Referrals will be made to faculty in each of the tracks within the major.

npetraco@jjay.cuny.edu

212-484-1315

 

Advisor

Professor Sandra Swenson, Department of Sciences

Program planning, permission for taking the placement exam, permission for courses

sswenson@jjay.cuny.edu

212.237.8820

 

Science Internship Directors

Professor Linda Rourke for forensic science laboratory internships

lrourke@jjay.cuny.edu

646.557.4501

 

Edgardo Sanabria-Valentin for research internships
212.393.6489

Major Advising in Summer/Winter

If you need FOS advising during summer session 2019, you can email Dr. Shu-Yuan Cheng (shcheng@jjay.cuny.edu) or make an appointment with Dr. Sandra Swenson via AdvisorTrac. Please see the Schedule an Advising Appointment section for simple AdvisorTrac instructions. Dr. Swenson's regular summer advising hours will be Mondays 2:00-5:00 p.m. and Tuesdays 12:30-3:30 p.m. but if necessary she can arrange to meet at other times.

Registration and Major Holds

Sophomores with 45-59 credits may have a hold on their registration. The hold will be removed when they have a major advising appointment with Dr. Sandra Swenson (212.237.8820, sswenson@jjay.cuny.edu). This discussion will encourage wise planning and allow students to ask any questions they may have about the major. How do you know if you have a major hold? Go to CUNYfirst and complete the following steps:

 

  1. Check the Holds box of your CUNYfirst Student Center. If "Advisement Required" appears, click on “details.”

 

 

  1. Click on “Advisement Required.”

  1. See which type of advisement you need. If you must see a major advisor, then make a major advising appointment following the steps preferred by this department.

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Plan Ahead: Graduate on Time

Avoid Course Planning Mistakes!

The Forensic Science major has several courses that build on each other in a sequence, so it is important to be aware of this and plan accordingly.

 

HQ FOS Math Sequence.jpg

Math

You are required to take two semesters of calculus (MAT 241 and MAT 242) and one semester of probability and statistics (MAT 301).  If you place into MAT 105, you will need that course and then MAT 141 as foundation for the MAT 241-242 calculus sequence, so it is important to take these math courses as early as possible.

 
Other important considerations:
  • MAT 105 or higher is a prerequisite or co-requisite for certain Biology and Chemistry courses.
  • MAT 241 is a prerequisite for PHY 203. MAT 242 and PHY 203 are both prerequisites for PHY 204. You are expected to take Physics in your sophomore year.
  • If you start with MAT 105 in a Fall semester, then take MAT 141 in spring, you can take MAT 241 during summer session to be ready for Physics in the upcoming fall.
 

 

 

 

Biology

 

You will take a placement test in the Science Department to determine your first Biology course. You will start with either BIO 101 or BIO 103.

 

  • If you start with BIO 103 (a 5 credit lab science course), you will then take BIO 104.
  • If you start with BIO 101 (a 2 credit course), you will then take BIO 102 (3 credits) before taking BIO 104.

 

The Biology sequence should be completed by the end of freshman year or fall of sophomore year.

 

 
 
 
 
 
Chemistry

You will take a placement test in the Science Department to determine your first Chemistry course. You will start with either CHE 101 or CHE 103.

 

  • If you start with CHE 103 (a 5 credit lab science course), you will then take CHE 104.
  • If you start with CHE 101 (a 2 credit course), you will then take CHE 102 (3 credits) before taking CHE 104.

 

Be sure to complete the Chemistry sequence by the end of your freshman year (spring or summer) to prepare for the Organic Chemistry sequence in your sophomore year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internship

An internship is required for the forensic science degree. You may fulfill this requirement with either FOS 401 or FOS 402. The internship is to be completed after the junior year in the Forensic Science major progression. To learn more about your internship options, please contact one of the Science Internship Directors below:
 
Professor Linda Rourke for forensic science laboratory internships
646.557.4501
 
Edgardo Sanabria-Valentin for research internships
212.393.6489

Monitor Your Progress in the Major

  • DegreeWorks degree audit - Use this online planning tool to track your overall progress toward graduation. You will see which of your general education and major requirements are completed, in progress, or still needed.  Refer to the DegreeWorks FAQs to better understand how to use this helpful tool. Note: be sure to confirm the accuracy of your degree audit with a general advisor and major advisor.
 
  • Forensic Science Advisement Form - Fill out this printable worksheet to keep track of which major requirements you have completed and which ones you still need.

Meet with a General Academic Advisor

A General Academic Advisor will confirm what general academic requirements you still need, make suggestions about smart course planning that will help you graduate without delays, discuss your interest in adding a minor or second major, inform you about opportunities such as study abroad, discuss general questions and concerns, and make helpful referrals. Visit the Academic Advisement Center's webpage for more information.

 

Forensic Science and Careers

Masters of Science Degree in Forensic Science

The Master of Forensic Science degree program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY is designed to provide training and expertise to individuals planning to become scientists, administrators, laboratory directors, educators, and professionals in a variety of forensic science sub-specialties. More information is available on the Master of Forensic Science webpage.

Careers in Forensic Science

Resources

Learn about FOS-related careers on the American Academy of Forensic Sciences website.

 

For personalized guidance concerning internships, jobs, and careers, visit John Jay’s Center for Career and Professional Development. CCPD staff are available to meet individually with students and alumni in L72.00 New Building. To request a 45-minute counseling appointment, log on to John Jay Careers Online. 15-minute drop-in sessions are available all day Mon-Fri. (Stop by in person earlier the same day to make a drop-in appointment.)

 

Background Checks

Because forensic science is part of the criminal justice system, personal honesty, integrity, and scientific objectivity are paramount. Those seeking careers in this field should be aware that background checks similar to those required for law enforcement officers are likely to be a condition of employment. The following may be conducted and/or reviewed before an employment offer is made and may remain as ongoing conditions of employment (This list is not all-inclusive):

  • Drug tests

  • History of drug use

  • Criminal history

  • Personal associations

  • Polygraph examination

  • Driving record

  • Past work performance

  • Credit history

  • Medical or physical examination