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West Virginia University

Morgantown , West Virginia ,United States

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Biology

In many forensic investigations, biologically-based evidence is the most critical piece to solving the case. Positively identifying unknown materials as human body fluids can demonstrate that someone was injured, that a piece of clothing was worn or that an object was held in someone’s mouth. The development of DNA profiling in the 1980s and 1990s made the analysis of biological evidence from crime scenes even more important, as it gives analysts the ability to identify the source of biological material with extraordinary precision. Currently, DNA analysis stands as the gold standard of a rigorously science-based field under the greater umbrella of forensic science.

As part of that gold standard, Forensic Biology majors are trained as scientists, spending their first two years building a strong base of chemistry, math, physics and the core biology topics of ecology, evolution, organismal physiology and the beginning of cell biology. In their junior and senior years, students build on that foundation by focusing on cell biology, genetics and biochemistry as the essential knowledge to be effective practitioners. This curriculum ensures graduates meet the educational requirements set by the FBI to be DNA analysts.

However, there is more to forensic biology than merely DNA. Death investigators apply a mix of classical investigative techniques and biological knowledge to help medical examiners determine cause and manner of death.

On the forensic side of forensic biology, students learn basic evidence collection and preservation skills, practical microscopy skills and current methods for biological fluid analysis (serology). These skills, particularly the critical documentation and reporting skills, are used repeatedly across the curriculum and are also used extensively in the departmentally-facilitated internship experience between the junior and senior year. The internship experience often helps students network and prepare for formal employment, and further develop their career goals. Students can then choose elective courses that fit their interests, skills and future career goals.


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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 Biology graduates go on to jobs associated with law enforcement, either doing DNA analysis or related serology work in crime labs, including the West Virginia State Police and the Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office.

Students who combined Forensic Biology with electives out of the Forensic Examiner major have also gone on to work for law enforcement agencies around the country as crime scene investigators and death investigators. On the private employment side, genetic analysis laboratories such as Sorenson have hired previous graduates.

Many Forensic Biology students go on to graduate school, either continuing on in forensic science or moving to pure biology, genetics or biochemistry. Those who remain in the forensics field gain critical experience in the more challenging aspects of DNA analysis, such as degraded DNA or low copy number DNA.

The Forensic Biology major also meets admission 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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