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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Undergraduate

Program Overview

Forensic Science is an interdisciplinary area of science that involves the use of scientific principles to analyze evidence for legal investigations. Our program is fully accredited by the Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) recognizing that our curriculum, labs, faculty and research have met the rigorous standards set by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS).

You will benefit from both a strong general scientific foundation and forensic courses. Students gain real-world experiences and unique hands-on training at the Crime Scene House, Forensic Ecology Research Facility and Forensic Teaching Laboratory.

Accreditation

Our Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Forensic Science has been offered since 2005. It is a competitive and immensely successful program. Our Forensic Science program has its full accreditation by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences’ Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). We are one of only two programs in Canada to receive this prestigious award.

Our accreditation from FEPAC means our Forensic Science program must adhere to more stringent standards set out by FEPAC. Many of our courses and material are dictated by FEPAC. A high level of practical ability is expected and rigorous assessment methods are required. Faculty and staff in the program must have a specific level of education as well as ongoing affiliations with forensic science labs and law enforcement organizations. This ensures students graduating from our program are highly trained and can operate under the guidelines set by the accrediting bodies.

Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Forensic Science program at the Ontario Tech Univesity to create an interdisciplinary learning environment dedicated to education, research, and contribution to the global forensic community.

The Forensic Science program endeavours to:

  • Advance the highest quality of knowledge, skills and abilities through excellence in teaching and a technologically-enhanced learning environment.
  • Foster inquiry, critical thinking and scholarship in innovative research by providing access to state-of-the-art facilities and supervision by internationally recognized faculty and professional experts.
  • Actively collaborate with industry to produce outstanding graduates who are consistently sought and highly-valued by professional partners and employers.
  • Command next-generation leaders demonstrating integrity, ethical behaviour, and professional conduct in the field of forensic science.
  • Contribute to society through community participation, leadership and outreach initiatives, as well as inspiring future minds. 

Program Highlights

Sample courses:

  • Criminalistics
  • Crime Scene Science
  • Fire Investigation (Forensic Chemistry specialization)
  • Advanced Forensic Biology (Forensic Biology specialization)
  • Forensic Drug Chemistry and Toxicology
  • Forensic Physics Applications (Forensic Physics specialization)
  • Mock Crime Scene Practicum

A full program map is available in the Undergraduate Academic Calendar.

Chemistry Specialization

Forensic Chemistry encompasses numerous disciplines including paint analysis, arson and fire debris investigations, explosives analysis, fibre and textile testing as well as the subdiscipline of toxicology, the study of drugs and poisons. Forensic chemists use a myriad of technologies, such as gas chromatography, liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy to determine the quantity and quality of various organic and inorganic substances that comprise evidence in criminal, civil and regulatory legal matters.

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.

Physics Specialization

The discipline of forensic physics describes the application of the scientific study of matter, motion and energy to forensic investigations of many types, including blood stain pattern analysis, ballistics, accident reconstruction, metal strength and damage analysis, optical and acoustic analyses, as well as tracing radioactive materials and sources of nuclear weapons. An emerging field in this specialization is the forensic analysis of digital, electronic and multimedia evidence, with applications not only in criminal, civil and regulatory cases, but also in corporate and national security.    

Students in their graduating year may choose to complete either an independent Thesis Research, Directed Studies project, or Mock Crime Scene Practicum.

The Thesis Project provides students with the opportunity, under the supervision of a faculty member or a forensic professional, to integrate and synthesize knowledge gained throughout their program of study. Students must complete a minimum of 280 hours of independent work. The written and oral thesis defense includes a literature review, methods, results and significance of the research.

The Directed Studies Project requires independent research of a current topic in a specialized area of forensic science, including, but not restricted to, biology, chemistry, anthropology and the application of science to law. Topics are selected from current research literature and involve a review and critical appraisal of underlying experimental principles. The course comprises independent library research, participation in weekly meetings, as well as written and oral presentations.

Through the Mock Crime Scene Practicum,  students investigate a simulated major crime scene synthesizing the knowledge they have gained throughout the forensic science program. They participate in all aspects of a forensic science investigation, from crime scene to lab, culminating with expert witness testimony in a mock court setting. The mock crime scene scenario provides an opportunity for students to further develop good judgment, critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills.