With an investigative forensics degree, become fluent in the language of crime scene investigation for a career in civil or criminal justice.

A key element within the field of criminal investigation today is the work of forensics specialists the people who gather, process, and report on evidence from crime scenes in discovering the facts of a case. The role of investigative forensics is also expanding within the field of civil justice. University of Maryland University College's Bachelor of Science in investigative forensics is based on national guidelines and designed to help you understand both the theory and practice of forensic disciplines and police work.

These program requirements are for students who enroll in the 2018–2019 academic year. For prior year academic requirements, visit the catalog archive in the Current Students section.

This program has a related minor.

About the Investigative Forensics Bachelor's Degree

In your core investigative forensics courses, you'll learn and practice evidence detection, collection, processing, and reporting as well as criminal procedure and analysis of evidence. You'll also learn to write reports specific to the criminal justice field and gain an understanding of the abilities and limitations of the crime lab. Hands-on, practical experience is provided through online learning tools that allow you to virtually investigate a crime scene.

What You'll Learn

Through your coursework, you will learn how to

  • Apply the scientific method to draw conclusions regarding forensic information
  • Use ethical principles and an understanding of legal precedents to make decisions related to investigation, analysis, and testimony as a crime scene or forensic professional
  • Access, interpret, and apply investigative, forensic, and criminal justice research
  • Report and articulate information, analyses, or findings to relevant users
  • Recognize and evaluate evidence to determine all of the appropriate analyses to gather all available forensic information
  • Synthesize forensic, evidential, and investigatory information from multiple sources to generate theories about a crime
  • Understand the capabilities, processes, and limitations of the crime laboratory to become an informed consumer or practitioner

Coursework Examples

In past projects, students have had the opportunity to

  • Examine evidence via virtual labs, take notes, and write reports based on the examinations
  • Investigate a virtual crime scene, gather evidence, request lab testing, and use the results to write an official report and reconstruction
  • Examine a virtual cold case to locate and interview suspects, re-examine evidence, determine the viability of the case, and write a report based on findings

Industry Certification

This program can help prepare you for the following certification exam(s):

Investigative Forensics Bachelor's Degree Requirements

Our curriculum is designed with input from employers, industry experts, and scholars. You'll learn theories combined with real-world applications and practical skills you can apply on the job right away.

Courses in the Major

  • CCJS 101
  • CCJS 234
  • CCJS 301
  • CCJS 302
  • CCJS 342
  • CCJS 390
  • CCJS 420
  • CCJS 421
  • CCJS 440
  • CCJS 441


The bachelor's degree in investigative forensics requires 47 credits of minor and/or elective coursework.

General Education Requirements

Research Course 

  • LIBS 150
    (to be taken in first 6 credits)

Writing and Communication Courses 

  • WRTG 111 or other writing course
  • WRTG 112
  • SPCH 100 or other communication, writing, or speech course
  • WRTG 393
    (related requirement for the major)

Math Course 

  • STAT 200
    (related requirement for the major)

Arts and Humanities Courses

  • HIST 125 or other arts and humanities course
  • HUMN 100 or other arts and humanities course

Behavioral and Social Sciences Courses

  • CCJS 461
    (related requirement for the major)
  • BEHS 103 or other behavioral and social sciences course

Biological and Physical Sciences Courses

  • One of the following pairs of lecture and laboratory courses in the same session:
    • BIOL 101 and BIOL 102
    • NSCI 100 and NCSI 101
    • Other paired science lecture and laboratory courses taken in the same session
  • GEOL 100 or other science lecture course

Computing Courses

  • IFSM 201 or CMST 301
  • CMIS 111 or another computing course appropriate to the academic major

Since some recommended courses fulfill more than one requirement, substituting courses for those listed may require you to take additional courses to meet degree requirements. Consult an advisor whenever taking advantage of other options. Please also see more information on alternate courses (where allowable) to fulfill general education requirements.

Overall Bachelor's Degree Requirements

In addition to the general education requirements and the major, minor, and elective requirements, the overall requirements listed below apply to all bachelor's degrees.

  • You must complete a minimum of 120 credits
  • You must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 overall and a minimum grade of C for any class applied to the academic major or minor
  • Within the 120 credits required, the following coursework must be taken through UMUC:
    • 30 credits (normally the final 30)
    • Half of the required number of credits within both the major and the minor
    • 15 credits at the upper level (earned in classes numbered 300 to 499), preferably within the major or minor
  • At least 45 credits must be upper level and include
    • At least half of the credits required for the major
    • 3 credits in advanced writing
  • The remaining upper-level credits can be earned in any part of the curriculum
  • At least half the required number of credits for any academic major or minor must be earned through graded coursework. Credit earned by examination, portfolio assessment, or noncollegiate training does not count as graded coursework

Double majors: You can earn a dual major upon completion of all requirements for both majors, including the required minimum number of credits for each major and all related requirements for both majors. The same class cannot be used to fulfill requirements for more than one major. Certain restrictions (including use of credit and acceptable combinations of majors) apply for double majors. You cannot major in two programs with excessive overlap of required coursework. Contact an admissions advisor before selecting a double major.

Second bachelor's degree: To earn a second bachelor's degree, you must complete at least 30 credits through UMUC after completing the first degree. The combined credit in both degrees must add up to at least 150 credits. You must complete all requirements for the major. All prerequisites apply. If any of these requirements were satisfied in the previous degree, the remainder necessary to complete the minimum 30 credits of new classes should be satisfied with classes related to your major. You may not earn a second bachelor's degree in general studies and may not obtain a second associate's degree within the second bachelor's degree. Contact an admissions advisor before pursuing a second bachelor's degree.

Electives: Electives can be taken in any academic discipline. No more than 21 credits can consist of vocational or technical credit. Pass/fail credit, up to a maximum of 18 credits, can be applied toward electives only.

Recommended Minors

Criminal Justice Minor

Through your coursework, you'll learn about crime, law enforcement, courts, corrections, security, and investigative forensics.

Courses in the Minor

A minor in criminal justice requires the completion of 15 credits of coursework. All CCJS courses apply.

It is recommended that you take CCJS 100 or CCJS 105 as the first course in the major (if you have not already applied the course toward other degree requirements).

Fire Service Administration Minor

Through your coursework, you'll learn about disaster planning and the administration of fire-protection services, including the organization, planning, operating procedures, management, and allocation of limited resources.

Courses in the Minor

A minor in fire service administration requires the completion of the following courses:

  • FSCN 302
  • FSCN 304
  • FSCN 305
  • FSCN 413
  • FSCN 416

Homeland Security Minor

Courses in the Minor

A minor in homeland security requires the completion of the following courses:

  • HMLS 302
  • HMLS 406
  • HMLS 408
  • HMLS 414
  • HMLS 416

Public Safety Administration Minor

Through your coursework, you'll learn about the principles of strategic planning, risk management, public policy, and ethical issues related to public safety administration.

Courses in the Minor

A minor in public safety administration requires the completion of 15 credits of coursework. All PSAD courses apply. 

It is recommended that you take PSAD 302 as the first course in the minor (if you have not already applied the course toward other degree requirements).

Terrorism and Critical Infrastructure Minor

Through your coursework, you'll learn about the principal components involved in protecting public and private critical infrastructure from acts of terrorism.

Courses in the Minor

A minor in terrorism and critical infrastructure requires the completion of 15 credits of coursework chosen from the following courses: 

  • CCJS 341
  • CCJS 390
  • GVPT 406
  • GVPT 407
  • GVPT 408
  • GVPT 409
  • HIST 392
  • HMLS 302
  • HMLS 406
  • HMLS 408

Career Preparation

This program is designed to help prepare you for work in crime scene investigation for a career in civil or criminal justice.

Experience Recommended for Success in the Program

We recommend you have computer skills and familiarity with lab work and laboratory procedures, such as preparing samples, operating specialized equipment, and using microscopes.