COVID-19 Update: To help students through this crisis, The Princeton Review will continue our "Enroll with Confidence" refund policies. For full details, please click here.


“There is nothing so important as trifles,” once said Sherlock Holmes; most criminal science majors would certainly agree. This is a field whose main focus is the reconstruction of crimes through the characterization of trace evidence. As a criminal science major, you’ll take chemistry and clinical laboratory classes where you’ll learn how to analyze potential physical evidence of a crime, including fire debris, gunshot residues, bodily fluids, metals, glasses, hair, fibers, paint, and drugs.

While criminal science is very much a chemistry-based field, it’s important to understand the larger context of the evidence you’ll be working with. Outside the crime lab, you’ll study research methods, juvenile justice, corrections, criminology, and court systems. You’ll also take classes like psychology, sociology, and behavioral science. Though perhaps it’s less exciting than DNA matching or dusting for fingerprints, this major will also teach you practical skills like computer applications, record-keeping, and evidence handling and storage.


  • Abnormal Personality

  • Analysis of Criminal Behavior

  • Chemistry and Crime

  • Court Systems and the Judicial Process

  • Introduction to Sociology

  • Principles of Investigation

  • Survey of Forensic Science

  • The Juvenile Offender


For this major, just sit back and watch as many episodes of CSI and Law & Order as you can… just kidding. Take math, biology, advanced chemistry, physics, and English.