How to Become a Forensic Biologist

How to Become a Forensic Biologist

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

Forensic biologists are scientists by definition, so a four year college degree in biology, biochemistry, molecular biology or forensic biology is mandatory.

Extensive laboratory experience is required and courses in biostatistics, genetics, general chemistry and organic chemistry are recommended.

Considerable knowledge in physics and math is preferred. Programs chosen by students should be accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission.

The preparation timeline below provides an example biology curriculum:

Grade Level Example Courses
  • General Chemistry I & Lab
  • General Chemistry II & Lab
  • College Algebra & Statistics
  • Introduction to Kinesiology
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Statistics
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology II
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Applied Kinesiology
  • Athletic Care & Prevention
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Nutrition for Atheletes
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Lower Body Injury Evaluation
  • Athletic Training Clinical I & II
  • Exercise Testing
  • Upper Body Injury Evaluation
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Health in the US
  • Health Education & Planning
  • Healthcare Management
  • Health Policy
  • Capstone
  • Remaining Requirements & Electives

2. Take the Graduate Requisite Exam (GRE)

Most graduate programs revolving around forensic science require the Graduate Requisite Exam (GRE) for admittance. It's a 3 hour and 45 minute, standardized, multiple choice exam that covers analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning.

The GRE is broken down into six primary sections:

Section Section Breakdown
1 Analytical Writing Section
  • 2 writing assignments
  • 60 minutes
  • Tests student's abilities to assess arguments and communicate ideas.
2 Quantitative Reasoning Sections
  • 20 multiple-choice questions
  • 35 minutes per section
  • Tests student's abilities to solve mathematical problems and interpret data.
2 Verbal Reasoning Sections
  • 20 questions per section
  • 30 minutes per section
  • Tests the ability to understand and analyze written material
1 Unscored Section
  • A duplicate of one of the above sections

3. Earn a Master's Degree (2 Years)

A master’s degree in forensic science is required by most employers in order to seek employment in a private or federal crime laboratory.

The preparation timeline below provides an example forensic science curriculum: 

Year Courses
  • Crime Scene Investigation & Reconstruction
  • Forensic Toxicology & Chemistry Analyses
  • Biostatistics
  • Genetics
  • Equilibrium & Analysis
  • Law & Ethics
  • Principles of Pharmacology
  • Forensic Serology
  • Forensic Chemistry Forensic Microscopy
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Human Molecular Biology
  • Forensic Trace Evidence Analysis
  • Advanced Forensic Chemistry
  • Quality Management
  • Graduate Practicum in Forensic Biology
  • Research Project in Forensic Biology