Program Overview

The six-week Forensic Science pre-college program provides an introduction to the science behind crime scene and evidence analysis. Students enrolled in the Forensic Science program will earn 6 college credits through a class portion (4-credit) and lab portion (2-credit). Scientific methods are radically changing the landscape of the criminal justice system worldwide. Those participating in this intriguing summer program for high school students will explore the science of crime detection and become part of a forensic crime scene team that will gather forensic evidence from a simulated crime scene. Emphasis is placed upon understanding scientific techniques used in evaluating forensic evidence.

Photo of forensic science students working in lab
Forensic Science students at work in the lab

Topics covered include: blood analysis, organic and inorganic evidence analysis, microscopic investigations, hair analysis, DNA, forensic psychology, drug chemistry and toxicology, fiber comparisons, paints, glass compositions and fragmentation, fingerprints, soil comparisons, and arson investigations, among others.

Class lectures and guest speakers provide unique insights into the field of forensic science. A variety of hands-on laboratory exercises enhance the student’s understanding of this science in an up-close and personal way.

I walked into the program not knowing a single thing about forensic science but what I saw on CSI: Miami. Fortunately, after being a part of the Forensic Science program, I was able to realize that forensic science interests me and it prepared me for the workload of college courses. – Summer College Forensic Science student, 2018.

Program Objectives

  • Discover and explore the science behind forensic science through lectures and special presentations
  • Gain a deeper understanding of how science and engineering affects the criminal justice system
  • Learn how work in a CSI lab is carried out, utilizing modern criminal detection methods in many scientific fields
  • Work individually and in a team to gather and interpret evidence from simulated crime scenes
  • Utilize the laboratory facilities of the Forensic & National Security Sciences Institute at Syracuse University

Learn more about Forensic Science:

Program Dates & Details  Eligibility Requirements  Program Cost   Program Requirements   Typical Day   Faculty Bios 

Program Dates & Details

Session Dates

Session I: June 27 – August 7, 2020
Duration: 6 weeks


Credit: 6 credit

  • CHE 113 Forensic Science (4 credits)
  • FSC 200 Forensic Science Laboratory (2 credits)

Grading System: A-F

Eligibility Requirements

Students must be a minimum of 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date. For full Summer College admission requirements, view the Admissions Overview and Eligibility page.

Apply Now!

Program Cost

Program Costs:

  • Residential: $10,230
  • Commuter: $7,788

*Please visit our Program Costs page for more detailed information. Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Requirements

All students must bring a laptop computer and appropriate clothing for the lab portions of the class (i.e. no open toed shoes, etc.).

Student Expectations

  • Participation in lecture discussions and laboratory work
  • Satisfactory performance on in-class examinations and completion of lab write-ups and projects
  • Participation as part of a team
  • with assignments and projects

This is an academically rigorous, college-level program. Students are expected to complete nightly homework assignments and actively participate in group projects. Students are expected to attend all classes every day, arrive on time, and meet all academic obligations. Free time will vary as each program is unique, as is the subsequent workload.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Summer College Forensic Science students conducting experiments in class
Summer College Forensic Science students conducting experiments in class

Students are typically in class Monday – Thursday. The first half of the day usually consists of class lectures and guest speakers who provide the necessary scientific background and foundation of forensic science.

Afternoons, students are typically engaged in a variety of hands-on laboratory exercises that will enhance the student’s understanding of forensic science in an up-close and personal way.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College trips and activities. Check out our Campus Activities page for more information!

Final Academic Obligation

Students are permitted to depart campus after 5:00pm on August 7, 2020. If students have any questions regarding their final academic obligation, we encourage them to reach out to their instructor. Please refer to the Move-Out page for important information regarding the checkout process.

Faculty Bios

James T. Spencer — Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor, Chemistry

Dr. James Spencer joined the faculty at Syracuse University in 1986 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia. Prof. Spencer has recently received several honors for his research and teaching work including the “Distinguished Achievements in Boron Science” Award from the BUSA International Conference. He is the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he received the Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence, the highest award recognition for SU faculty and staff in recognition of outstanding achievement in teaching, scholarship and creative work. He also received the Excellence in Teaching Award from University College in 2009. He has been active in organizing a variety of scientific meetings for both the American Chemical Society and the BUSA International Conference, in addition to serving as co-chair for the 10th and 11th Foresight Conferences on Molecular Nanotechnology. Dr. Spencer has presented numerous invited lectures including at the IMEBORON X International Conference, the Gordon Research Conference in Inorganic Chemistry, and the International Symposium on Solid State Imaging and CVD. He has also served as a consultant for the Lockheed Martin Corporation, General Electric Corporation, the Merix Corporation, and International Business Machines, among others. At Syracuse University, Dr. Spencer has chaired the Faculty Council, the Senate Research Committee, and the College’s Promotion and Tenure Committee. He is the author of over 80 papers and has presented over 200 lectures at regional, national and international venues.Spencer’s research involves the study of solid-state, main group and organometallic chemistry and includes projects in solid state chemistry on boron-containing and nanostructural materials.

Dr. Spencer founded the University’s Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute (FNSSI) where he currently serves as its Executive Director. The Institute brings together work from many disciplines and provides a program of excellence, uniquely positioned to make significant contributions to combat crime and promote national security through research, teaching, and professional outreach: the nation’s first program that comprehensively focuses upon the breadth and depth scholarship in forensic and national security sciences and is establishing groundbreaking research based upon rigorous scientific investigation and technical ability. Professor Spencer’s teaching was also recently recognized by the Excellence in Teaching Award from University College in 2009. He has completed work on a new introductory textbook in Forensic Science, to be published by Cengage – the world’s largest publisher of scientific textbooks.

Spencer also directs the national award-winning Syracuse University Brass Ensemble, having begun his studies at SUNY Potsdam in brass music. The Ensemble is composed of over thirty-five professional-level musicians. The Ensemble is a year round organization which presents some twenty performances each year.

Sean McGlynn

Sean McGlynn has spent the last thirty-one years teaching science in a New York State public high school.  He currently teaches SUPA Forensic Science (15+ years), SUPA/AP Biology (25 years), and Forensic Science. McGlynn previously taught various chemistry and biology courses for more than 15 years. He has served as the science department leader at East Syracuse-Minoa High School since 1999. McGlynn has coached and judged Science Olympiad teams and events and ran the high school ski club for over 20 years. In 2017, he was accepted into the New York State Master Teacher program. He was selected by the National Honor Society as the faculty honoree in both 2009 and 2019.  McGlynn was also very active in the local teacher’s union for over 20 years, serving as a building chairperson, Vice President of Member Benefits, and the head negotiator.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Binghamton University, a master’s degree in environmental and forest biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a master’s degree in science teaching from Syracuse University.