A career in forensic science is a career that enables one to apply science to the process of pursuing justice in court processes. As a forensic scientist, you will always be needed in justice-seeking cases where scientific examination is needed. Forensic scientists perform a vital role in our legal system, helping to bring culprits to justice.


Forensic science is the use of scientific methods and processes in a variety of legal and criminal settings. This field is frequently used in criminal investigations and convictions. However, you will use a variety of scientific techniques and methodologies to offer evidence in court and solve crimes. Pursuing a career in forensic science requires education, skills and experiences that will enable you to have a safe landing in the field.


I will walk you through the skills and requirements needed and how to start a successful career in forensic science.


Steps to Pursue a Career in Forensic Science

  1. Complete your Secondary Education

    You need to graduate with a minimum of credits in biology, chemistry, mathematics and other science subjects. This will enable you to have a chance of getting admission into a university.

  2. Obtain a Bachelor’s degree

    To pursue a career in forensic science, you should apply to an accredited university. You should study and gain a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, forensics or a related field.

  3. Choose an area of Specialisation

    Forensic science is a broad field that must be narrowed to a specialisation of interest. You must specialise in one or two areas of forensic science which are listed below. Additionally, choosing an area of specialisation will enable you to narrow down your career path to become an expert.

  4. Gain Professional Experience

    Most employers prefer candidates with experience in this field. However, you can apply for entry-level roles or internships to obtain experience. You can work in a laboratory, hospital or police station. Additionally, this will enable you to get along with professionals and experts in this field.

  5. Earn a Master’s Degree

    You must earn a master’s degree in your career pursuit. This will enable you gain more opportunities and higher earnings in the field. Additionally, a master’s degree will give you the opportunity to acquire more knowledge on the area of specialisation you wish to pursue.

  6. Pursue a Doctorate Degree

    You can obtain senior-level positions and better opportunities with a doctorate degree. Additionally, you can choose to have a private practice with a doctorate degree. You can also work in more advanced forensic fields such as forensic psychology, pathology and anthropology.

  7. Obtain Professional Certification

    It is also important that you earn professional certifications as a forensic scientist. These certifications are not compulsory. However, they can open doors to better opportunities. You can gain certifications in your area of specialisation. Additionally, you can gain certifications in areas such as hair and fibres, drug analysis, debris analysis and molecular biology.


Areas of Specialisation in Forensic Science

  1. Forensic Toxicology: This area of forensic science is critical in cases of car accidents, poisoning and sexual violence. It is the investigation of the existence of hazardous substances within the body and their impact on the individual.
  2. Forensic Pathology: This involves the collection and analysis of medical samples to deduce facts valid in courts. Additionally, this deals with the examination of corpses to determine the causes of death.
  3. Forensic Entomology: Forensic entomology is the study and application of the biology of insects and other arthropods such as centipedes and crustaceans to solve criminal cases.
  4. Forensic DNA Analysis: DNA profiling is a typical forensic technique used in criminal investigations to identify an anonymous individual or to pinpoint the offender. Furthermore, evidence for DNA profiling includes hair, semen, blood, saliva, etc.
  5. Digital Forensics: Digital forensics is the extraction and examination of digital evidence such as hard discs, and USB devices utilising the most advanced forensic tools. This is mostly used in the investigation of cybercrimes.
  6. Forensic Ballistics: Forensic ballistics examines any evidence linked to weapons such as bullets, gunpowder and bullet marks.
  7. Forensic Psychology: This area of forensics involves applying psychology to legal and criminal situations. The professionals in this field investigate criminals to make conclusions about their features.

Universities in Africa that offer Forensic Science

  1. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  2. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
  3. University of Pretoria, South Africa
  4. Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria
  5. University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  6. Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
  7. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  8. Rhodes University, South Africa
  9. University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
  10. Cairo University, Egypt
  11. University of the Free State, South Africa
  12. Alexandria University, Egypt


A career in forensic science plays an important role in everything from solving crimes to supporting the legal systems in the courts. If you have a keen interest in crime-solving and pay attention to detail, a career in forensic science may be a good fit for you. Forensic science is a competitive field. Therefore, you need to have some laboratory experience and a scientific degree to thrive in a career in forensic science.


Good luck!

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