Qualities and Skills Needed for a Career in Forensics?

Obviously, an inquisitive nature and a love of puzzles (and solving them!) are essential. Students must be strong in math, science and writing to do well in our forensics program. Forensic science also requires an ability to tolerate situations and scenes of crime and violence that are difficult to understand and accept. Loss of life and suffering are often involved in these cases, so an forensic scientists need to have the ability to maintain perspective when working in terrible situations.

Qualities and skills of a forensic scientist

  • Ability to work with a team
  • Communication and quantitative skills (PUL*)
  • Critical thinking and problem solving (PUL*)
  • Detail-oriented
  • Inquisitive
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Integration and application of knowledge (PUL*)
  • Observational and investigative skills
  • Professional values and ethics (PUL*)
  • Understanding of relationships, interactions and patterns

Can I work in a crime lab if I have a criminal history?

Criminal background is an important consideration when entering the field of forensic science. Students need to have a clean record to be hired by a criminal lab. It is a normal part of the hiring process to run a full criminal, financial, academic, and personal background check on applicants. Most labs will not hire someone with any convictions.


*PUL = Principles of Undergraduate Learning define a set of abilities and skills that undergraduate students are expected to master. They reflect the expertise that graduate and professional schools and the workforce are seeking.