Gannon University Announces New Forensic Science Degree

Posted: August 10, 2015

Turn on your television these days and you're likely to encounter a forensic scientist. It's become a glamour occupation for which the demand is exploding, and Gannon University has responded by adding a new Bachelor of Science degree program in forensic science to begin in fall 2016.

Forensic science is any science used for the purpose of the law, in public, in a court, or in the justice system.

The new program in the University's Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences utilizes Gannon University's existing curricular strengths and faculty expertise in criminal justice, biology and chemistry to offer a comprehensive training in the forensic sciences.

Gannon's new Forensic Investigation Center, the only facility of its kind for evidence collection in the country, along with the recently renovated infrastructure and equipment upgrades in the Zurn Science Center bring unique resources to the new program.

Among them is a new piece of analytical technology. The MiSeq FGx Forensic Genomics System is the first fully validated forensic next-generation sequencing system, which can perform simultaneous analysis of a broader range of genetic markers in a single workflow at a level unprecedented to what previous technology has allowed, supporting the reliable analysis of both routine and challenging forensic DNA samples.

"To our knowledge, Gannon University is one of only four universities to have this equipment, and certainly the only one in the region," said Steven Mauro, dean of the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences. "Our hope is to obtain the accreditation needed to perform analyses for law enforcement agencies, many of whom have a great backlog of evidence awaiting processing."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 10,000 entry-level jobs in forensic science with an average salary of $52,840 and a projected rate of growth of 6 percent over next decade. Additional opportunities exist for students moving on to graduate programs in medical disciplines (forensic medicine, dentistry or nursing), or the law.

"Our goal is to build majors in the sciences here at Gannon by offering a program that continues in the long legacy of producing critically thinking experts who are able to enter the workforce in their field of study," Mauro said.