OC offers new forensic science major

Oklahoma Christian University will begin offering a bachelor of science major in forensic science this fall.

According to Dr. Bill Luttrell, chair of the chemistry and physics department, OC is uniquely positioned to offer the forensic science major which is rapidly growing in popularity. The university is located near the state’s new forensic science facility in Edmond and has existing faculty with the necessary experience and expertise in the core courses. On-campus laboratories have been recently renovated and additional lab renovations will be completed this fall.

“The interest level among students has been rising since we began offering summer forensic science workshops several years ago,” Luttrell said. “This degree will prepare our students for entry-level positions in the forensic science profession or graduate school.

“Most of the courses are science based and will come from our existing curriculum, primarily in biochemistry,” he said. “As a result of some recent changes in the faculty, we found that we had all the additional requirements for a forensic science major already on staff – one instructor in fire science and arson investigation, one in law and one in toxicology. We will use our existing chemistry core curriculum, three current forensic science courses – introduction to forensic science, forensic analysis and practicum in forensic science – along with two new courses – forensic science and the law and forensic toxicology – to complete the major. OC has the capacity within the sciences and math to offer all the courses in biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics required for accreditation by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Our graduates will meet the requirements for graduate programs at Oklahoma State University and the University of Central Oklahoma.”

The faculty consists of Luttrell, a toxicologist who has written and edited a toxicology textbook and regularly publishes toxicology technical papers; Dr. Howard Vogel who has experience in arson investigation; Dr. Len Feuerhelm, a physicist with a law degree who once worked for the CIA; and Dr. Amanda Nichols, an inorganic chemist with interests in forensic science.

OC has an excellent relationship with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Forensic Science Center just north of the campus and has three students currently interning there, Luttrell said. And with the new forensic science building at UCO, Edmond is rapidly becoming a center for forensic science. 

“We’re excited about this new major because it will ultimately bring more students to Oklahoma Christian, to our science courses and to the upper level biology and psychology courses,” he said. “OC has capacity for 20 to 30 more students in freshman chemistry and organic chemistry. We currently have more than 200 students majoring in the sciences and a good number of those have expressed interest in the forensic science major.”

Oklahoma Christian, named a “Best Western College” by The Princeton Review, and “America’s Best University—Masters” by U.S.News & World Report, is a private, four-year comprehensive university. OC offers degree programs in more than 60 fields of study in three colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Biblical Studies and the College of Professional Studies. The university also offers two graduate degree programs in Biblical studies, a master’s of science in engineering as well as one- and two-year master’s of business administration programs. In addition to its Oklahoma City campus, OC has study abroad opportunities in Vienna, Austria, Honduras, and throughout the western Pacific. For more information about Oklahoma Christian, visit www.oc.edu.

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