forensics lab with skulls

Forensic Sciences

Our work ensures the safety and security of society, civil and criminal justice, and military activities. We focus on human DNA, evidence standards and disaster preparedness, textile analytical chemistry and statistics.


Cluster Coordinator

Ann Ross (Biological Sciences)

Cluster Colleges

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Textiles, College of Sciences

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NC State’s Forensic Sciences Institute aims to build a forensic science program of national and international prominence by:

  • Recruiting a cluster of leading interdisciplinary forensic scientists with experience in funded forensic science research, education and engagement;
  • establishing an accredited interdisciplinary forensic science academic and research program; and
  • building upon recent infrastructure growth in forensic anthropology, entomology, and chemical, fiber and polymer/materials analysis.


The Forensic Science Institute will complement other forensic programs in the United States and will serve as a mid-Atlantic regional resource providing research, training, education and investigative assistance for state and federal forensics agencies. The Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program will enable the institute to leverage its $4 million-plus in funding for research and professional training by bringing four forensic scientists to campus. These additions will allow us to provide core capabilities in research, academics, professional training and outreach in the fields of forensic chemistry, forensic evidence analysis, disaster preparedness, forensic human DNA and forensic statistics, enabling the Forensic Science Institute to advance forensic science statewide, nationally and internationally.


Forensic science is an interdisciplinary applied science that provides information and analysis to support the judicial system. There is a substantial long-term need to augment the rigor, precision, accuracy and rapidity of forensic science methods in the biological and physical sciences.

According to a 2009 National Academy of Sciences report titled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” forensic science “lacks strong ties to our research universities.” There is a critical need for research on increasing the rigor of crime scene investigation, human identification and other biological-related evidence analysis. Research in the physical sciences is needed as well.