Social Science Forensics, Minor

Department of Anthropology

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

This minor is designed to meet the needs of students interested in exploring the social science options in forensic science but who are not necessarily pursuing a lab-based major, such as chemistry, biology, or computer science. Scientific inquiry undergirds the minor’s integration of crime scene investigative techniques with social and behavioral sciences in order to enhance communication, organizational skills, and application of law with sensitivity and cultural understanding of different populations in criminal investigations. 


  • A minor is earned in conjunction with a bachelor's degree.

    To receive a minor (18 - 24 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. At least 12 units of the minor must be unique to that minor and not applied to any other minor.

In addition to University Requirements:

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

No more than fifty percent of the units used to satisfy minor requirements may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 18
Major GPA C
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional

Purpose Statement

Students in the Social Sciences Forensic Minor  develop an understanding of the social, cultural, historical, and political issues, impacting the development of forensic science and the application of forensics science in criminology, criminal justice, and law enforcement systems. Project-based course work imitates real life scenarios and emphasizes teamwork concomitant with real crime scene investigation and a variety of applied techniques. Tailored to the professional goals of each student, the Social Science Forensics minor can help prepare students in the application of medico-legal writing, imagery, sketching, forensic archaeology, forensic anthropology, death investigation, crime investigation, criminal law procedure, and gender and ethnicity issues influencing law enforcement and forensic work. Students who complete the Social Science Forensic minor will have knowledge of career options available through advanced studies and be more competitive and well-rounded for entry level, non-lab based forensic work.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • Identify key historical and current events, scientific breakthroughs, and social/cultural changes in the United States and globally that have contributed to the development of forensic science;
  • Communicate effectively through demonstrated reading comprehension, analytical skills, and written work and/or oral presentation that demonstrates a proficiency appropriate for social and behavioral investigative reports and court related documentation in Arizona and the United States in general;
  • Recognize and describe the significance of historical and social context and its impact on forensic science;
  • Critically assess the needs of a variety of investigative scenarios and determine what area(s) of forensic science should be applied and what it can contribute;
  • Demonstrate competence with hands-on field and lab skills (with a grade of C or better) as to victim/offender identification and crime scene reconstruction;
  • Identify and explain how forensic science varies across natural, social and behavioral sciences;
  • Identify and explain how the application of forensic science varies across other forms of investigations (i.e. legal, crime, psychological, medical, etc.);
  • Summarize and differentiate relevant theories, methods and techniques as they apply to forensic sciences;
  • Summarize and differentiate relevant names of those whose work pioneered resulting laws, methods, and theories in forensic science and,
  • Collaborate effectively in teamwork where necessary, utilizing technical skills, critical thinking, ethics, and adaptive ability in order to execute group-oriented projects and/or exercises toward a goal.
The Social Science Forensics minor is designed to give students the advantage of social science, applicable field skills and background knowledge to be considered for entry level forensic work. Students completing the minor will be better positioned to make informed decisions on areas of expertise in which they may wish to concentrate, and to continue their education in specialized forensic programs or graduate studies if they choose. 


Minor Requirements
    • No more than one course with the same prefix may be selected from this list.

      With written approval from the Social Science Forensics Minor Coordinator, a student may choose from special topics designated courses (such as ANT or CCJ 299, 399, 499) to fulfill minor requirements. 

      Topics courses must have an applied component in addition to forensic relevance and significant social science content.  Please consult with your advisor.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.