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 regarding the GEF courses available at their campus.

Curriculum Requirements

A minimum grade of C- is required for all CJ and FRNX courses
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
Select one of the following or higher (GEF 3):3
College Algebra 5-Day
College Algebra 4-Day
College Algebra 3-Day
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 Justice3
CJ 202Principles of Criminal Law3
CJ 320Courts and Judicial Systems3
FRNX 101Introduction to Forensic Investigation3
FRNX 210Fingerprint Evidence Analysis4
FRNX 212Advanced Fingerprint Evidence3
FRNX 301Investigative Photography3
FRNX 310Firearms and Tool Marks3
FRNX 311Trace and Blood Spatter3
FRNX 315Interviewing Theory3
FRNX 316Death Investigation3
FRNX 318Crime Scenes3
FRNX 484Senior Seminar in Forensic Investigation3
FRNX 496Senior Thesis3
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
Select one of the following or higher (GEF 3):3CHEM 112 or 116 (GEF 2)4
 CS 1014
 SOCA 101 (GEF 4)3
 GEF 53
CHEM 111 or 115 (GEF 2)4 
CJ 1013 
FRNX 1013 
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 3013CJ 3203
FRNX 3113FRNX 3103
FRNX 3153FRNX 3163
POLS 3133FRNX 3183
Restricted Elective3Restricted Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours
SOCA 311 or PSYC 2023FRNX 4843
Restricted Elective3FRNX 4963
Restricted Elective3HUMS 4896
Restricted Elective3Elective (if needed) 
 12 12
Total credit hours: 120

Major Learning Goals

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.

Department of Social Sciences & Public Administration Minors

criminal justice

minor code - ut21

A 2.0 GPA is required for all courses counted toward the minor.
Required Courses
CJ 101Introduction to Criminal Justice3
CJ 233Juvenile Justice3
Select three of the following courses:9
Fraud Management: Legal/Ethical Issues
Law Enforcement Administration
Courts and Judicial Systems
Criminal Investigations
Public Administration
American Constitutional Law
Terrorism and National Security
Deviant Behavior
Social Research Methods
Total Hours15

economics

minor code - ut05

Must have 18 credit hours and 9 hours must be 300 or 400 level courses
Required Courses
ECON 201Principles of Microeconomics3
ECON 202Principles of Macroeconomics3
ECON 301Intermediate Micro-Economic Theory3
Select three of the following:9
Elementary Business and Economics Statistics
Money and Banking
Managerial Economics
Collective Bargaining
Public Economics
Other ECON courses may be accepted with advisor approval.
Total Hours18

political science

MINOR CODE - UT16

Must have 18 credit hours and 9 hours must be 300 or 400 level courses.
Required Courses
POLS 102Introduction to American Government3
POLS 260Introduction to International Relations3
POLS 319Comparative Government3
Select three of the following courses:9
Global Political Issues
State and Local Government
American Constitutional Law
Terrorism and National Security
Public Administration
Advisor Approved POLS and HUMS Courses
Total Hours18

sociology

minor code - UT19

Must have 18 hours of sociology courses and 9 hours must be in 300 or 400 level sociology courses.
A 2.0 GPA is required for all courses counted toward the minor.
Required Courses
SOCA 101Introduction to Sociology3
Sociology (SOCA) Electives15
(must include at least 9 credit hours of upper division courses)
Women in Appalachia (may be included as part of the Sociology minor)
Total Hours18

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