Career in Forensic Science
Forensic science is an applied science that is basically concerned with application of scientific principles for the investigation of crime. Forensic scientists handle various clues collected form scene of the crime and use latest and sophisticated technologies to convert these clues into evidences which are later produced in court for prosecutions of the criminals. The scope of forensic science is increasing to include even civil cases now days, where the forensic expert is needed to validate signatures in documents etc. In fact forensic science includes three different professions in it: Medical, laboratory and field science.
One can starts career in Forensic Science by pursuing B.Sc. Forensic Science. The minimum qualification for this degree in 10+2 passes with science subjects. This is a three year course. Graduates in traditional and applied science subjects are eligible for M.Sc. in Forensic Science which is a two-year course .
Students with science background can pursue a career in forensic science. On completion of 10+2, one can get into a graduation degree in forensic science (i. e B.Sc. Forensic Science) .Consequently they can go in for diploma courses in Forensic Science & Criminology which is of 1 year duration. Post-mortem experts have to join MD in Forensic Science after MBBS degree. Higher studies like M.Phil and PhD courses are also there in Forensic Science . For pursuing this ,students need to be a graduate preferably with a first division in Physics, chemistry, zoology, botany, biochemistry, microbiology, B.pharm, BDS or applied science.
To become a specialist who conducts post-mortems on dead bodies to find out the cause of death, you must first secure an MBBS degree and then go for an MD in Forensic Science. All Indian Universities that offer MBBS courses also offer an MD in Forensic Science.
Career Prospects in Forensic Science
A Forensic Scientist works with police departments, law enforcing agencies, legal systems and investigative agencies. Besides they can also work with private detective agencies and the vigilance department. There are enough scopes for career growth even in foreign countries. Medical examiner, crime laboratory analyst, crime scene examiner, forensic engineer are the job prospects abroad.
The career prospect of a Forensic Expert depends on his area of specialization. They can specialize in subjects as varied as medicine, engineering, fingerprinting, insect study, languages, geology etc. The specializations are mentioned as under:
Crime Scene Investigation: Scene investigation involves locating and collecting relevant items of evidence, interpretation of evidence and possible reconstruction of the event. Scenes can range from a relatively simple house break to a fire in a multi-storey building or a city bombing.
Qualification: Diploma in Forensic Investigation or Degree in Forensic Investigation or Degree in Analytical Chemistry.
Forensic Pathology/ Medicine: This field deals with the post mortem examination of the dead body to find out the cause of death. His chief work is to determine the time and cause of death in cases of suspected murder or suicide or accidental deaths.
Qualification: Medical degree (MBBS) with M.D or appropriate post-graduate qualifications in Forensic Science.
Forensic Anthropology: Forensic anthropologists use their knowledge of human skeletal anatomy to assist in the identification of skeletal remains. They are called to identify individuals murdered or killed in disasters such as plane crashes, explosions, fires and other tragedies resulting in the loss of life and mutilation of bodies. They may also be able to discover the age, sex, ancestry, stature, and unique features of the deceased.
Qualification: A Ph.D in anthropology with an emphasis on the study of human osteology and anatomy or a Medical degree (MBBS) with appropriate post-graduate qualifications.
Forensic Psychology and Psychiatry: A forensic psychologist is any psychologist who by virtue of training or experience may assist a court or other fact finder in arriving at a just or correct decision regarding the mental state of the person person or convict who is standing the trial.
Qualification: Medical degree (MBBS) with appropriate post-graduate qualifications
Forensic Dentistry (Odontology): It is a branch of dentistry which deals with the collection, evaluation and proper handling of dental evidence in order to assist law enforcement officers and in civil & criminal proceedings. The role of the odontologist is to identify bodies and skeletal remains from dental records, reconstruct faces from skulls and where possible, interpret bite marks.
Qualification: Degree in Dentistry, Post Graduate Diploma of Forensic Odontology.
Clinical Forensic Medicine: Those involved in clinical forensic medicine examine victims of crime and suspects who may have sustained an injury while allegedly committing a crime. They give interpretations of their findings such as the possible causes and timing of the injuries.This is another field of forensic science that depends heavily on medical science.
Qualification: Medical degree (MB BS) with appropriate post-graduate qualifications
Forensic Entomology: Forensic entomology is the application of the study of insects and other arthropods to legal issues. The time of death, for example, can be determined using insect evidence gathered from and around a corpse.
Forensic Serology: Forensic serology is the study of blood groups, blood, and other bodily fluids for identification purposes following a crime. Forensic serologists also carry out DNA fingerprinting, which offers the possibility of positive identification of an individual from samples of blood or semen.
Dactyloscopy: Dactyloscopy is the scientific study of fingerprints. This is one of the well known and widely used field in the field of forensic science.
Forensic Linguists: Forensic linguists analyze the content of written or oral communication to identify who is speaking and indicate the speaker's intent, and can determine whether two communications are from the same person.
Ballistics: Ballistics is the study of the flight paths of projectiles, but modern ballistics now include the study of everything to do with firearms. It also involves the determination of the angle and distance a gun was fired from to hit a specific target.
Qualification: Science degree with a major in a relevant discipline, Diploma in forensic investigation, Degree in forensic investigation.
Toxicology: Toxicology involves the detection and identification of illicit and pharmaceutical drugs and poisons, interpreting toxicity levels and the effects on the functions of the body.
Qualification: Science degree with a major in chemistry or biochemistry.
Forensic Engineer: Deals with traffic accidents, fire investigations, and a variety of wrongful injury cases. Engineers are involved in failure analysis, accident reconstruction, causes and origins of fires or explosions, quality evaluation of construction or manufacturing etc.
Qualification: An Engineering degree with post-graduate qualifications in Forensic Engineering.
Cytology: Bullet cytology is a new subject which makes it possible to determine which part of the body a bullet went through by the tissue which is left on the bullet.
Geology: Forensic geologists can determine such things as where the suspect or victim walked by examining soil samples taken from their shoes or feet.
Forensic science is a highly remunerative career options for youngsters. Forensic experts employed in state departments get starting salary of Rs 4,000. A post graduate in Forensic science may get a salary of Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000. But the salary structure is not same as it varies from organisation to organisation. Private forensic laboratories offer lucrative pay packages to scientists with a few years of experience behind them. A freelancer in the field can charge according to requirements of the individual case.
Institutes Offering Courses in Forensic Sciences
Forensic Sciences , as a course of study is offered by many institutes across the country.Please Click here for a list of institutes and universities that offer various courses in Forensic Sciences: