Forensic Investigation

Degree Awarded

  • Bachelor of Science

Nature of Program

The curriculum of the program emphasizes breadth of knowledge and the development of analytical skills. Familiarity with fundamental theories and practices within the social and natural sciences, enhanced communication skills, and an understanding of the limits and uses of forensic techniques form a base from which the student develops either a plan for entry into a graduate program or a career path. The program emphasizes the historical evolution of investigative techniques and terminology and the use of scientific methods to reconstruct the recent past. The program's primary focus is on investigation, although lab techniques and analyses are incorporated into the course work. The program is appropriate for those planning a career as investigators, as well as, current practitioners. Students also have the flexibility to select specific courses to prepare them for future work in a forensic laboratory or graduate school admission.  The curriculum combines class instruction, hands-on laboratory and practical field applications. Among the program's notable features are a course in research methods, a senior thesis, and a capstone practicum internship that places the student in a supervised setting for professional competence development.

While WVU Institute of Technology is a division of West Virginia University, WVU Tech offers some programs that are separate and distinct from WVU main campus in Morgantown. The WVU main campus offers a B.S. program in Forensic and Investigative Science (FIS). The WVU Tech campus offers a B.S. program in Forensic Investigation (FRNX). These are separate and distinct programs. The WVU-Morgantown FIS program's accreditation is through the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) does not encompass the WVU Tech FRNX program. WVU Tech courses labeled FRNX will not transfer into the WVU-Morgantown FIS program.

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Curriculum Requirements

A minimum GPA of 2.0 across all courses applied to the major
GEF Elective Requirements (5, 6, and 7)9
ENGL 101
ENGL 102
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research (GEF 1)
6
ENGL 305Technical Writing3
MATH 126College Algebra (GEF 3)3
ECON 225Elementary Business and Economics Statistics (GEF 8)3
or STAT 211 Elementary Statistical Inference
CHEM 111Survey of Chemistry (GEF 2)4
or CHEM 115 Fundamentals of Chemistry
CHEM 112Survey of Chemistry (GEF 2)4
or CHEM 116 Fundamentals of Chemistry
PHSC 101Introductory Physical Science 1 (GEF 8)4
CS 101Intro to Computer Applications4
POLS 102Introduction to American Government3
or POLS 220 State and Local Government
POLS 313American Constitutional Law3
PSYC 101Introduction to Psychology (GEF 8)3
SOCA 101Introduction to Sociology (GEF 4)3
SOCA 311Social Research Methods3
or PSYC 202 Research Methods in Psychology
CJ 101Introduction to Criminal Justice (minimum grade of C)3
CJ 202Principles of Criminal Law (minimum grade of C)3
CJ 320Courts and Judicial Systems (minimum grade of C)3
FRNX 101Introduction to Forensic Investigation (minimum grade of C)3
FRNX 210Fingerprint Evidence Analysis (minimum grade of C)4
FRNX 212Advanced Fingerprint Evidence (minimum grade of C)3
FRNX 301Investigative Photography (minimum grade of C)3
FRNX 310Firearms and Tool Marks (minimum grade of C)3
FRNX 311Trace and Blood Spatter (minimum grade of C)3
FRNX 315Interviewing Theory (minimum grade of C)3
FRNX 316Death Investigation (minimum grade of C)3
FRNX 318Crime Scenes (minimum grade of C)3
FRNX 484Senior Seminar in Forensic Investigation (minimum grade of C)3
FRNX 496Senior Thesis (minimum grade of C)3
HUMS 489Practicum Capstone Internship (minimum grade of C-)6
WVUE 191First Year Seminar1
Restricted Electives15
Fraud Examination
Advanced Fraud Investigation & Analysis
Effective Public Speaking
Principles of Human Communication
Terrorism and National Security
Any FRNX, CJ, or SOCA course (must be approved by an advisor and must not be an already required course)
Any CHEM, BIOL, MATH, or PHYS course (must be approved by an advisor and must meet the pre-requisite requirements for each course)
Practicum Capstone Internship (may include up to 6 additional hours with advisor approval)
Total Hours120

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
MATH 126 (GEF 3)3CHEM 112 or 116 (GEF 2)4
CHEM 111 or 115 (GEF 2)4CS 1014
CJ 1013SOCA 101 (GEF 4)3
FRNX 1013GEF 53
WVUE 1911 
 17 17
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours
ENGL 3053ECON 225 or STAT 211 (GEF 8)3
PHSC 101 (GEF 8)4POLS 102 or 2203
PSYC 101 (GEF 8)3FRNX 2123
CJ 2023GEF 63
FRNX 2104GEF 73
 17 15
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHours
FRNX 3113CJ 3203
FRNX 3153FRNX 3013
POLS 3133FRNX 3103
Restricted Electives6FRNX 3163
 FRNX 3183
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours
SOCA 311 or PSYC 2023FRNX 4963
FRNX 4843HUMS 4896
Restricted Elective3Restricted Elective3
Restricted Elective3Elective (if needed) 
 12 12
Total credit hours: 120

Major Learning Outcomes

Forensic investigation

This program has the following specific outcomes:

  • The student will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the language, history, and traditions of the forensic discipline and the investigative professions.
  • The student will be able to use critical thinking and problem solving in an investigative situation.
  • The student will be able to effectively communicate in an interviewing, investigative, and in legal settings both verbally and in writing.
  • Students will have an appreciation of the ethical, legal, and regulatory issues impacting the decision making process.
  • Students will be able to apply the technical skills necessary to conduct investigative work.

forensic investigation minor

minor code - ut26

Must maintain an overall 2.0 GPA in minor coursework.
Required Coursework
FRNX 101Introduction to Forensic Investigation3
Electives (At least three (3) courses must be 300 level and above)12
Fingerprint Evidence Analysis
Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems
Investigative Photography
Firearms and Tool Marks
Trace and Blood Spatter
Digital Evidence Protocols
Questioned Documents
Interviewing Theory
Death Investigation
Crime Scenes
Forensic Anthropology and Osteology
Investigative Intelligence
Sexual Assault Investigations
Cold Case Investigations
Total Hours15

Faculty

Chair

  • Dr. Janis E. Rezek - PhD Sociology
    Emphasis in Gender Studies

Associate professor

  • Andrew Wheeler - Masters of Forensic Science
    Forensic Investigation

Assistant professor

  • Roger L. Jefferys II - MS in Forensic and Investigative Science