Close-up of gloved hands performing a forensics test. Interested in a career as biochemical or analytical chemists in local, state, and federal crime laboratories? Consider joining the forensic chemistry track. You'll take classes here with us and in the Department of Justice Sciences.

Course Catalog

A complete list of major requirements, courses, and a proposed four-year program of study for the forensic chemistry track are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Program Requirements

All program requirements and courses are outlined in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog. The major requirements consist of courses in chemistry, justice sciences, mathematics, physics, and a capstone project. Please go to GPS on BlazerNet for a degree checklist that is specific to the major(s), minor(s), and tracks or concentrations you have chosen.

All forensic chemistry majors must take:
Effective public speaking. Analysis, research, organization, delivery, to enhance speaking performance. 3 Hours.
Limit of a function; continuity, derivatives of algebraic, trigonometric exponential, and logarithmic functions, application of derivative to extremal problems, optimization, and graphing; Newton method; the definite integral and its application to area problems; fundamental theorem of integral calculus, average value, and substitution rule. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Techniques of integration; applications in integration such as volume, arc length and work; infinite series, Taylor series; polar coordinates; parametric equations; plane and space vectors; lines and planes in space. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Stoichiometry, quantum theory, atomic structure, chemical bonding, acids-bases, colligative properties and periodicity. Laboratory emphasizes quantitative analysis. Writing assignments structured to build on scientific reasoning. Concurrent enrollment in CH 115R General Chemistry I Recitation required. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Emphasizes development of laboratory skills and quantitative analyses related to CH 115. Writing assignments structured to build on scientific reasoning. 1 hour.
Prerequisites: Enrollment in CH 114 requires the permission of the instructor or enrollment in Honors College or Chemistry Scholars program.
Solutions, chemical kinetics, chemical thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium and special topics (organic, biochemistry, descriptive chemistry) Writing assignments structured to build on scientific reasoning. Concurrent enrollment in CH 117R General Chemistry II Recitation required. (Core Area III). Quantitative Literacy is a significant component of this course. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: CH 115 (miniumum grade: C).
Emphasizes development of laboratory skills and quantitative analyses related to CH 117. Writing assignments structured to build on scientific reasoning. 1 hour.
Prerequisites: Enrollment in CH 119 requires the permission of the instructor.
Structure, nomenclature, properties, and reactivity of compounds with various organic functional groups: alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alkyl halides and alcohols. Emphasis on the mechanisms of organic reactions and problem solving. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: CH 117 (miniumum grade: C).
CH 236: Techniques of organic chemistry. Synthesis, purification, and characterization of organic compounds. 1 hour.
Prerequisites: CH 117 and CH 118 or CH 119 (minimum grade: C).

CH 234: Emphasis placed on development of techniques used in organic research laboratories and scientific writing. 1 hour.
Prerequisites: CH 235 (miniumum grade: C). Permission of instructor or enrollment in Honors College or Chemistry Scholars program required.
Reactions of aromatic compounds and carbonyl containing functional groups: aldehydes, ketones, acids, esters and amides. Molecules of biological interest, such as proteins and carbohydrates. 3 hours. 
Prerequisites: CH 235 (miniumum grade: C).
Synthesis, purification, and characterization of organic compounds using instrumental analysis and identification of unknowns. Concurrent enrollment or prior completion of CH 237 strongly recommended. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: CH 235 and CH 234/CH 236 (miniumum grade: C). Enrollment in CH 119 requires the permission of the instructor.
Research experience in selected areas of chemistry under supervision of faculty mentor. 3 or more labs hours per week, GPA of 2.5 in required chemistry courses, permission of instructor and chemistry academic advisor required. 1 hour.
Thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, and chemical kinetics. Lecture and laboratory. Physical Chemistry I Lab required. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Systematic coverage of descriptive chemistry. Chemical reactivity using structural and electronic parameters. Development of chemical understanding and intuition of elements and their compounds, as well as industrial and environmental applications. Lecture and laboratory. Concurrent enrollment in CH 345L Inorganic Chemistry: Principles and Applications of Chemical Periodicity Lab required. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Principles of analytical measurements, statistical and volumetric techniques, spectrophotometric analysis, and chromatography, with emphasis on equilibrium and applications. Lecture and laboratory. Concurrent enrollment in CH 355L Quantitative Analysis Lab required. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: CH 117 (miniumum grade: C).
CH 450: Focus on modern analytical chemistry instrumentation including chemical separations, spectroscopies (atomic absorption, infrared, UV-visible, fluorescence), mass spectroscopy, and thermal analysis. Concurrent enrollment in CH 450L Instrumental Analysis Laboratory is required and correlated with lecture material. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: CH 355 (miniumum grade: C).
CH 450L: Focus on modern analytical chemistry instrumentation including chemical separations, spectroscopies (atomic absorption, infrared, UV-visible, fluorescence), mass spectroscopy, and thermal analysis. Concurrent enrollment in CH 450L Instrumental Analysis Laboratory is required and correlated with lecture material. 0 hours.
Laboratory with emphasis on structure/bonding in main group and transition metal compounds. Laboratory will utilize molecular orbital theory and molecular spectroscopy (including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), infrared(IR), ultra-violet-visible(UV-vis), and mass(ms) spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. 1 hour.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Overview of biochemical principles; chemistry of aqueous solutions, biochemical building blocks including amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleotides; examination of metabolic pathways and enzymes that mediate catabolic and anabolic metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and nucleic acids. Application of clinical correlations of metabolism to human nutrition and disease. This course is designed for Chemistry majors as well as students interested in medicine, dentistry, optometry, or pharmacy. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: CH 237 (minimum grade: C).
Introduction to modern bioanalytical techniques used for the expression, isolation, and characterization of proteins and other biological macromolecules. 3 Hours.
Prerequisites: CH 355 and CH 460 (miniumum grade: C).
Research project conducted under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Two semesters are highly recommended for minimum accumulation of 6 semester hours. A progress report is required each semester and a comprehensive written report in ACS format is required at the completion of the project. Permission of instructor and chemistry academic advisor required; GPA 2.5 or greater overall; GPA 3.0 or greater in required chemistry courses. 3 hours.
Overview of the major components of forensic science including death investigation, toxicology, osteology, questioned documents, law, and criminalistics. 3 hours.
Introduction to basic statistical theory and analysis. Course emphasizes computation, units of measurement, and evaluation of quantitative assertions; interpretation of quantitative data; use of quantitative data for problem-solving; and communication of information using numbers/words appropriate for the audience. 3 hours.
Basic identification and individualization of common, frequently occurring physical evidence materials, with emphasis on biological materials. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: JS 110 or CJ 110 (minimum grade: C).

Select one of the following:
Introduction to identification and application of major types of physical trace evidence in criminal cases involving analysis and comparison. Laboratory component included; Laboratory fee is charged. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: JS 110 (minimum grade: C).
Examination of advanced criminalistics, including biological or genetic properties of evidence, trace evidence analytics, and firearm and tool-mark examinations. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: JS 110 (minimum grade: C).

Select one of the following:
Discussion of drugs and poisons occurring in biological evidence, including the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of drugs and poisons, evidence collection and handling, selection of the most appropriate evidence, and analytical methods of detection. 3 hours.
Discussion of relevant analyses conducted for drugs and poisons occurring in biological evidence; examination of the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of detected substances. 3 hours.

Select one of the following:
CH 326: Quantum mechanics, chemical bonding, and molecular spectroscopy. Laboratory work correlated with lecture material. Prior completion of CH 325 and MA 227 strongly recommended. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
CH 440: Relationship between bonding, structure, and properties of compounds including reactions, mechanisms, and catalysis of organometallic and bioinorganic chemistry. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.

In addition, students will need to take either College Physics I and II or General Physics I and II and complete one chemistry elective.

Students must participate in one of the following capstone projects:
Designed to explore the impact of chemical innovations on society; challenges students to consider ethical use of chemical innovations and broader impacts of chemistry in society. Writing assignments are structured to build on scientific reasoning. Capstone course for Chemistry majors. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: CH 237(minimum grade: C).
Designed to explore the impact of chemical innovations on society; challenges students to consider ethical use of chemical innovations and broader impacts of chemistry in society. Writing assignments are structured to build on scientific reasoning. Capstone course for Chemistry majors. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: CH 237 and CH 497 (minimum grade: C). Can be taken concurrently.

Ready to Apply?

All the information you need to apply can be found on UAB's Undergraduate Admissions Hub.