Jul 14, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Calendar 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Calendar [ARCHIVED CALENDAR]

Forensic Science – Biology specialization

General information

Forensic Science is an emerging interdisciplinary area of science that includes elements of social science and involves the use of scientific principles to analyze evidence for legal investigations. The Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Forensic Science is distinguished by a strong scientific foundation in biology and chemistry, with allied courses related to forensic aspects of identification, toxicology, ethics and law.

The first year of the program has core courses in each of biology, chemistry, calculus, and physics. This provides students with a basic grounding in fundamental science disciplines, both in order to prepare them for future scientific developments in any area they choose to pursue, and also to allow the flexibility for selecting different scientific specializations in the upper years of study. Forensic Science program specializations include Biology , Chemistry , and Physics , and provide students with opportunities inherent in typical programs in these areas, including post‐degree and graduate studies. In keeping with our university’s mission to prepare students for careers, this program also includes development in leadership skills and is accredited by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) – Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

Biology specialization

Forensic biology spans a multitude of applications of biological evidence, such as blood and other body fluids, hairs, botanical remains, microbes and insects, to criminal, civil and regulatory law investigations and prosecutions. Biological evidence is particularly valuable to the justice system due to the presence of DNA and the ability to associate such evidence with an individual or species, and to do so with a statistically relevant degree of reliability. Forensic biologists analyze DNA using technologies such as real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) quantitation, short tandem repeat (STR) analysis and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis, and assess the weight of evidence referring to principles of statistical analysis and population genetics.

Admission requirements

Admission is competitive. The specific average or standing required for admission varies from year to year. Students are selected by taking into consideration a wide range of criteria including school marks, distribution of subjects taken, and performance in subjects relevant to the academic program. Possession of the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance. Preference will be given to applicants with the best qualifications.

Current Ontario secondary school students must complete the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with six 4U or 4M credits including English (ENG4U), Advanced Functions (MHF4U), and two of Biology (SBI4U), Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U), Chemistry (SCH4U), or Physics (SPH4U). In addition, a combined minimum 70 per cent average in math and science courses is required. It is recommended that all four MCV4U, SBI4U, SCH4U and SPH4U be taken. All other applicants should refer to admissions  for the requirements for their specific category of admission.

Program details and degree requirements

Although reasonable efforts will be made to adhere to the following program map, course requirements and term offerings may change.

Note: This program specialization is limited to students who entered Year 1 in the 2013-2014 academic year or later.

Year 1 (30 credit hours)


No more than 42 credit hours may be taken at the first-year level.

*Electives and breadth requirements

All students must complete 24 elective credit hours. At least 12 elective credit hours must be in courses offered by the Faculty of Science including 6 credit hours in biology (refer to recommended Biology electives). In order to satisfy breadth requirements 9 elective credit hours must be in courses outside the Faculty of Science. Students must take the remaining 3 elective credit hours in a general elective (offered by the Faculty of Science or outside the Faculty of Science).

**Capstone courses and Senior Science electives

Students in clear academic standing who have completed 90 credit hours of their program and the six required third year FSCI courses must apply to take one (and only one) of the three capstone courses.

These options are:

  1. FSCI 4460U – Mock Crime Scene Practicum plus one additional senior science elective. Students taking this option must also attend FSCI 4420U classes in the winter term.
  2. A two-course sequence consisting of FSCI 4410U – Forensic Science Thesis Project I and FSCI 4420U – Forensic Science Thesis Project II.
  3. FSCI 4430U – Directed Studies in Forensic Science plus one additional senior science elective. FSCI 4430U may be offered in either semester, depending on demand. Students taking this option must also attend FSCI 4420U classes in the winter term.

A senior science elective is defined as any third- or fourth-year series science course not explicitly specified in the program map. Opportunities for Thesis Project I/II, Directed Studies, and Mock Crime Scene Practicum are each limited; for any of these options, students must apply to the forensic science fourth-year thesis co-ordinator by March 30 in the third year of their program.

Program progression requirements

Progression through the Forensic Science program is restricted. After the spring session of each academic year, students must be in clear academic standing and have successfully completed the full set of required courses, including electives, of the prior academic terms in order to progress into the program’s next academic year. Failure to do so will result in program dismissal . Students who have achieved clear academic standing and have completed all missing courses may reapply to the Forensic Science program. Applications for readmission must be submitted by October 31 for the winter semester and May 31 for the fall semester. Readmission to the program will be dependent upon program space, resource availability, and the students’ grades.