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Forensic Chemistry

In May 2018, Wittenberg University announced a new partnership with Bowling Green State University's Forensic Science Program.

For those interested in a career in forensic science, Wittenberg University is excited to announce a new opportunity that will allow its students to achieve both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. The university has entered into an affiliated agreement with Bowling Green State University (BGSU) that leads to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in chemistry from Wittenberg and a Master of Science in Forensic Science (M.S.F.S.) with a specialization in forensic chemistry from BGSU.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics has predicted that employment opportunities for forensic science technicians will grow 17 percent from 2016 through 2026. While this represents faster than average growth, competition for jobs is expected to be strong, and those with a master’s degree will likely have access to the best opportunities.

“Wittenberg’s agreement with Bowling Green State University is designed to help our chemistry majors enter a master’s program and graduate with the advanced skills necessary to compete for jobs in forensic science in an accelerated period of time,” said Wittenberg Interim Provost Mary Jo Zembar.

Forensic scientists analyze evidence to aid in criminal investigations, and jobs are predominantly in the laboratory setting. Those who work in forensic science laboratories specialize in certain techniques and sciences. The specialization in forensic chemistry at BGSU includes courses in instrumental methods of analysis, biochemistry, forensic chemistry, light and electron microscopy, and the pharmacology and toxicology of drug addiction.

BGSU offers an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) crime laboratory and criminal investigation facility on its campus, in addition to crime houses that demonstrate real-world crime scenes. Students have access to numerous experiential learning opportunities and cutting-edge research.

Under the agreement, Wittenberg students who meet specific course and GPA requirements – including 73 credits in the chemistry major and all general education requirements – may apply to BGSU in the first semester of their third or junior year at Wittenberg. If accepted, the students then begin work on a master’s degree in what would normally be their last year of undergraduate work. They will spend two years at BGSU to complete the bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg and an M.S.F.S. from BGSU.

“Although admission to the BGSU program is not guaranteed, we believe that the chemistry major at Wittenberg provides outstanding preparation for students interested in pursuing this opportunity,” said Justin Houseknecht, associate professor and chair of the department of chemistry. “Our students develop strong problem-solving, verbal and written communication, teamwork, and lab safety skills that prepare them well for opportunities like this M.S. in forensic science.”

To introduce the affiliated agreement to Wittenberg students, the university welcomed Jon E. Sprague, director of forensic science at BGSU and BCI Eminent Scholar, to campus on March 13 to present “Forensic Chemistry and Application of the Pharmacophore Rule.”

“The affiliation between BGSU and Wittenberg will provide collaborative learning and research opportunities that will augment the growth of our students in a much-needed area of forensic science,” Sprague said. “We look forward to working with the faculty and staff at Wittenberg as we work in the best interest of the students.”

For more information on the new program, contact Houseknecht at 937-327-6437 or jhouseknecht@wittenberg.edu.

Published May 30, 2018

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