Forensic Science Program

HazMat

Forensic Science students
practice using HazMat
suits and equipment.

Click here for Forensic Science Frequently Asked Questions.
Click here for Program Goals and Expected Student Learning Outcomes.

The Forensic Science degree program at Russell Sage College was started in May 2001. This interdisciplinary program, offered through the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, is built on the foundation of our well-established programs in biology, chemistry and criminal justice.

CODISWhat is Forensic Science?
Forensic scientists work in a laboratory setting, where they apply the principles and techniques of scientific analysis to the study of physical evidence gathered from a crime or accident scene. TV programs such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and The Forensic Files have popularized careers in this area. The Coalition of Women's Colleges has identified forensic science as an up-and-coming field for women.

Many job openings can be expected over the long term in New York State and throughout the U.S.

  • Highly-sophisticated scientific analysis of evidence has become routine and expected in the criminal justice system (especially in identifying and quantifying suspected illegal drugs).
  • More and more convicted offenders (felons and some others as well) are being required to provide a DNA sample for analysis and entry into a state or national DNA Databank.
  • The development of new, more reliable techniques and technologies can lead to the re-opening of old cases (especially in death penalty situations).
  • Systems of information exchange amongst forensic laboratories are increasing both productivity and workload.
  • Forensic scientists are working on evidence related to acts of terrorism.

Graduates of our program compete favorably for technical positions in any State or private forensics laboratory. Some of our graduates have gone to law school. The program is also suitable for students interested in medical school or preparation for graduate study in forensic biology or chemistry (with some additional coursework-- see our Frequently Asked Questions page).

A dual major of Forensic Science and Chemistry (non-certified)
requires only four additional courses, making it an attractive option.
See our Catalog Page for details.

For more information on career possibilities, consult these Web sites:

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences
The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Program Features

The Bachelor's Degree program in Forensic Science at Russell Sage College gives you:

  • a solid foundation in the sciences of biology, chemistry and physics,
  • intermediate-level study of chemical analysis techniques and instrumentation,
  • courses in criminology and investigation/evidence,
  • a junior-level professional course,
  • at least three credit hours of internship in a forensics lab, and
  • an extracurricular component that includes guest speakers, and student-run activities.

Students in the program utilize facilities at Russell Sage College including a well-equipped instrumental analysis laboratory and an extensive collection of histology slides and other materials. Our students have completed internships at the New York State Police Forensic Investigations Center, Therion DNA, the New York State Department of Health, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Schenectady Police Department, the Colonie Police Department, Evident Technologies, and more. The team-taught professional course in the junior year features field trips to possible internship sites, and hands-on training in the use of the instrumentation of forensic science.

printA career in forensic science requires a clean record: job applicants should expect to submit to polygraph and urinalysis testing as well as a thorough background check.

Transfer students: note that the ability to complete the program in four total years of study (eight semesters) depends on an early start in taking the introductory science and criminal justice courses. See our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Note also that availability of some internships may be limited by high demand, and at some sites requires a six month or longer waiting period to complete a background check.

For further information about this program of study at Russell Sage College, contact:

Dr. Frank Vozzo
e-mail: vozzof@sage.edu
telephone: (518) 244-2495

So that we can serve you better, please let us know if you are a prospective first year student or transfer student.

For information about admission procedures and/or financial aid, see the Admissions Office Web page.

Chemistry Faculty