If you don't want to work as a laboratory scientist but still want to explore the role forensic science plays in criminal investigations, this certificate program is for you. Learn how specific types of crimes are investigated by law enforcement and forensic scientists and learn about the laws governing criminal investigations.
The certificate in criminal investigations educates students about a variety of aspects of criminal investigations and criminalistics. It is designed to provide students of the social sciences, natural sciences, humanities and public services with an understanding of the nature of criminal evidence; the language of forensic science; the scope, probative value and limitations of a variety of investigative specializations and their techniques; and an appreciation of how forensic investigative methods are used in the quest for justice.
The certificate program allows students to satisfy at least two of their General Studies requirements, the SQ and SB, in a thematic manner, but it is not designed to prepare students to work in a crime laboratory.
At A Glance
Criminal Investigations (Certificate)
- Offered by: Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions
- Location: Downtown, West
All students are required to meet general university admission requirements:
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ASU has many financial aid options. Almost everyone, regardless of income, can qualify for some form of financial aid. In fact, more than 70 percent of all ASU students receive some form of financial assistance every year.
The following four core courses are required (12 credit hours):
CRJ 100 Introduction to Criminal Justice, SB (3)
CRJ 210 Introduction to Criminal Investigation (3)
CRJ 211 Documenting the Crime Scene (3)
CRJ 410 Procedural Criminal Law (3)
Choose at least three courses from the following (at least 9 credit hours must be upper-division):
CRJ 321 Imperatives of Proof (3)
CRJ 433 Death Investigations (3)
CRJ 434 Drugs of Abuse (3)
CRJ 435 Crime and Forensic Mental Health (3)
CRJ 450 Crime Analysis (3)
CRJ 484 Internship [only those relevant to investigations] (1-6)
CRJ 494 Special Topics [only in approved investigations-related topics] (3)
FOR 350 Computer Forensics (3)
FOR 394 Special Topics in Forensics (3)
FOR 410 Professional Practices in Forensic Science (3)
FOR 484 Internship (1-6)
- It is the student's responsibility to check the prerequisites required by courses in their discipline. Depending upon a student's program of study, prerequisite courses may be needed to complete the requirements of this certificate.
- Special Topics courses (FOR 394 and CRJ 494) are designated and approved by departments and schools. Students need to work with an advisor in order to select appropriate special topics courses that are approved for credit in the criminal investigations certificate program.
- At least 12 credit hours must be taken in-residence at ASU.
- A "C" (2.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better is required in all core and elective course work required for the certificate.
- Upper-division course work may not be used to satisfy the requirements of both a major and the certificate. Thus, if any elective courses in the certificate program are being used to satisfy the requirements of a major, different elective courses must be taken to satisfy the requirements of the certificate program. For example, students majoring in criminology and criminal justice may not use CRJ 433, CRJ 434, CRJ 435, CRJ 484 or CRJ 494 to satisfy the requirements of the major and the certificate in criminal investigations. Similarly, students majoring in forensic science may not use FOR 350, FOR 410 or FOR 484 to satisfy the requirements of the major and the certificate in criminal investigations.
- CRJ 100 Introduction to Criminal Justice, SB (3) is a prerequisite requirement for enrollment in CRJ 210, CRJ 211, CRJ 433, CRJ 434, CRJ 435, CRJ 484 and CRJ 494.
- ACO 100 All About Data: Design, Query, and Visualization, CS (3) is a prerequisite requirement for enrollment in FOR 350 Computer Forensics.
- Either FOR 286 Principles of Forensic Science (3) or the two semester sequence in FOR 105 and FOR 106 is a prerequisite requirement for enrollment in FOR 410 Professional Practices in Forensic Science, L (3). ENG 102 or 105 or 108 are also prerequisites for FOR 410.
- CRJ 284 Professional Growth in Criminal Justice (3) is a prerequisite requirement for enrollment in CRJ 484 Internship.
- The completion of at least 45 credit hours is a prerequisite requirement for enrollment in FOR 484 Internship.
Students must complete the following prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" of higher (scale is 4.00 = "A") in order to be admitted to the certificate program. These courses may be taken in residence at ASU or may be transferred in from other institutions, including community colleges.
The following prerequisite courses are required for admission to the certificate program:
For students majoring in the social sciences, humanities or the arts:*
FOR 105 Physical Evidence and the Crime Scene, SQ (4) and
FOR 106 Biology Behind the Crime Scene, SQ (4)
For students majoring in the natural sciences:*
FOR 286 Principles of Forensic Science (4)
*Neither FOR 105 nor FOR 106 have any prerequisites. These courses are designed for students majoring in the social sciences, humanities or arts to meet the natural science requirement of ASU's General Studies program. Thus, students not majoring in the natural sciences who wish to declare the certificate program in criminal investigations must complete the two-course sequence in FOR 105 and FOR 106. In contrast, students majoring in the natural sciences, including forensic science, should not take FOR 105 and FOR 106; they need only complete FOR 286: Principles of Forensic Science, which has prerequisite requirements of BIO 181, BIO 182, CHM 113 and CHM 116.
A student pursuing an undergraduate certificate must be enrolled as a degree-seeking student at ASU. Undergraduate certificates are not awarded prior to the award of an undergraduate degree. A student already holding an undergraduate degree may pursue an undergraduate certificate as a nondegree-seeking graduate student.
Graduates of the criminal investigations certificate program find a strong job market in the public and private sectors. Employment opportunities exist in:
- bank fraud
- the courts
- domestic terrorism
- federal agencies
- homeland security
- law enforcement
- legal offices
Graduates also may pursue advanced degrees in law, criminology and criminal justice, and other social science disciplines. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions.