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West Virginia University

Morgantown , West Virginia ,United States

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Examiner

Just 100 years ago, forensic investigation of even the most complicated crimes relied on little more than a notebook, perhaps a photograph or two and some common sense.

Today, the practice of examining and identifying evidence involves a sometimes bewildering array of technology and equipment. Teams of specialists work together to generate the critical information needed to solve a case. It requires a surprising depth of scientific and professional knowledge to be a successful part of this modern process.

Forensic Examiner students are treated as scientists first. Investigators and laboratory analysts need to understand how their tools work, both to get maximum performance and so that they can effectively defend their choices on the witness stand. To meet this goal, students spend two years mastering fundamental biology, chemistry and physics. Math and statistics, more important now than ever, are also essential parts of the STEM curriculum for future forensic scientists.

After building that strong foundation, students move into two years of specialized courses emphasizing professional skills and applications. These courses are taught by a faculty with a variety of deep skill sets, both in practical casework and in academic research and understanding, and with an average course size fewer than 20 students.

In the two-semester crime scene investigation course progression, students gain the practical skills to identify, collect and preserve evidence at even the most unusual crime scenes. World-class facilities such as the four crime scene houses, vehicle garage and large collection of staging props make these classroom experiences as realistic as possible.

Beyond the scene, core laboratory competencies for investigators such as fingerprint development and classification, photography, microscopy and documentation are integrated across the curriculum, so that they are repeatedly practiced and deeply mastered. A departmentally-facilitated internship makes use of those skills in a real, professional environment before graduation, helping hone skills and focus student interest.

Based on their individual interests and skills, students can shape their curriculum to best suit their goals through their elective courses. That could be an interest in pattern evidence like firearms evidence or footprints, or it might lean more into investigative skills such as bloodstain pattern analysis or gravesite recovery.


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Application Processing Time in Days: 30

Minimum English Language Requirements

English Level Description IELTS (1.0 -9.0) TOEFL IBT (0-120) TOEFL CBT (0-300) PTE (10-90)
Expert 9 120 297-300 86-90
Very Good 8.5 115-119 280-293 83-86
Very Good 8 110-114 270-280 79-83
Good 7.5 102-109 253-267 73-79
Good 7 94-101 240-253 65-73
Competent 6.5 79-93 213-233 58-65
Competent 6 60-78 170-210 50-58
Modest 5.5 46-59 133-210 43-50
Modest 5 35-45 107-133 36-43
Limited 4 32-34 97-103 30-36
Extremely Limited < 4 < 31 < 93 < 30

Job Opportunity Potential

As this degree is rather professionally focused, the majority of Forensic Examiner graduates go on to jobs associated with law enforcement, either as scene investigators or laboratory examiners. In 2018, a survey of past-year graduates found that 90% of them were either employed or had gone on to graduate school. Those who go on to graduate school tend to take jobs that are more laboratory-oriented, such as fingerprint comparison, firearms examination or trace evidence analysis.

The Forensic Examiner major also meets the criteria for most professional schools, such as medical, dental or osteopathic schools. For students interested in pursuing careers in pathology, the emphasis on investigative thinking and familiarity with death investigation procedures would be a valuable asset.

PSW Opportunity

12 to 36 months( OPT duration depends on the major studied) 


Admission Requirement / Eligibility Criteria


  • Must have at least a 2.5 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale for general admission.
  • Must meet English Proficiency or request conditional admission and admission to the Intensive English Program (IEP).
  • Please be advised that some Engineering majors may reach capacity and therefore will be restricted from entry.
  • For direct admission to some colleges and majors, SAT or ACT scores are required and must be sent to WVU directly from the respective testing services. Please review the program requirements. For all other majors, international students are encouraged but not required to submit SAT or ACT scores, if available. SAT/ACT scores are useful for determining scholarship eligibility.
  • WVU welcomes applications from students with IGCSE and O-Level Certificates from Cambridge International for admissions consideration. We require a minimum of five subject passes, of which two must be English and Mathematics. The average of the grades must be at least a 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale). A passing grade in the subject of English will be accepted as evidence of sufficient English ability.


  • Must have at least a 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale in all college work attempted.
  • Must meet English Proficiency or request conditional admission and admission to the Intensive English Program (IEP).
  • In addition, transfer students who have fewer than 24 transferable credit hours, must also meet freshman admission standards and submit secondary school/high school transcripts. 
  • Some individual programs and majors have different course requirements and higher grade point average requirements; .
  • Grades and credits are transferable for college-level courses from regionally accredited U.S. institutions..

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