Types of Forensic Science


Forensic science uses principles of a specific discipline and applies them to issues concerning criminal and civil law. Through forensic science, suspects are identified and the circumstances surrounding a crime are uncovered. Some types of forensic science include forensic toxicology, forensic accounting, wildlife forensics, forensic art, forensic pathology and forensic engineering.

Forensic Toxicology

  • Forensic toxicology is concerned with the presence or absence of chemicals and drugs in someone's system. Toxicologists study samples of tissue, blood and urine in order to determine if a victim has been poisoned or drugged, and give opinions about how these toxins may have contributed to the victim's death.

Forensic Accounting

  • Forensic accountants use their skills to investigate issues related to bankruptcy, fraud, embezzlement or contracts. The work of forensic accountants includes detecting theft by employees, analyzing the legitimacy of insurance claims and determining if parties to contracts have complied with the terms.

Wildlife Forensics

  • Wildlife forensics is the use of forensic science investigation techniques to solve crimes against animals. This type of forensic scientist will determine the cause of death of an animal (particularly distinguishing between deaths that were the result of other animals from those that are crimes), analyze evidence left behind by a criminal (such as fingerprints or blood) and classify the type of animal that has been victimized.

Forensic Art

  • Forensic art is the use of artwork to find criminals or missing persons as well as to identify unknown crime victims. The work of forensic artists includes aging photographs in order to find missing persons or criminals who have not been seen for years, creating re-enactments of crimes that are used in court and making facial reconstruction skulls to aid in identifications.

Forensic Pathology

  • Forensic pathology is concerned with the role that disease plays in a death. By performing autopsies, pathologists can determine the cause and manner of death---which lets investigators know if someone died of natural causes, suicide or homicide. In order to draw these conclusions, forensic pathologists will examine the deceased's organs, bodily fluids and clothing.

Forensic Engineering

  • Forensic engineering is the application of physical science to legal matters. Some of the issues that forensic engineers are concerned with include the causes of fires and explosions, how accidents occurred and whether maintenance procedures were followed in a construction project. Forensic engineers may work on cases involving patents, personal injury claims or warranty disputes.

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  • Photo Credit Forensic scientists examine evidence to help solve crimes. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/neys/1813078851/)
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