Ohio University

About the Forensic Chemistry Undergraduate Program

photo of pipette and test tubes

About the FEPAC Accredited B.S. in Forensic Chemistry

The Forensic Chemistry degree has full FEPAC accreditation (part of American Academy of Forensic Sciences) through January 2022.

The FEPAC-accredited B.S. Forensic Chemistry degree was created in 1976 by Dr. James Y. Tong, a faculty member in Chemistry & Biochemistry at Ohio University. It is one of the longest-standing programs of its kind in the country, possibly the oldest, and it has a strong core of dedicated and experienced faculty. Typically, about 50-80 forensic chemistry majors are enrolled in the program at any time, and the program has more than 300 forensic chemistry graduates in its 40-year history.

Forensic Chemistry graduates work in various crime labs and coroners' offices throughout the country. Because the degree is so rigorous, alumni have found employment outside of forensic science—such as in private, state and government labs. Example employers include pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies (e.g. paint, polymer, adhesive, specialty chemicals), the EPA, ATF, DEA and FDA.

If you're a prospective student deciding between natural science majors such as chemistry or biology and a forensic science degree, the program is probably a great fit for you. If you are not strong in the natural sciences (or math) but want to be a CSI, please review the documents in our career information page to learn more about what being a forensic scientist is really like.

Compare our degree to other programs in the country and see why Ohio University could be the best career choice for you.

American Board of Criminalistics Forensic Sciences Aptitude Test (FSAT) Rankings

Ohio University's Forensic Chemistry 2019 graduating class took the American Board of Criminalistics Forensic Sciences Aptitude Test as part of the program evaluation. The aptitude test is a broad test of forensic science and not specific to forensic chemistry. The department paid for the examination, and 12 out of 13 students participated.

Ohio University was one of 11 undergraduate programs that participated in the FSAT program in 2019 and ranked fourth overall. A total of 117 undergraduate students were tested.

The following rankings show how OHIO students ranked compared with the other participating undergraduate schools.

Topic | Ranking

Drugs | 1

Lab Operations | 8

Crime Scene | 1

Ethics | 8

Evidence Handling | 7

Fire Debris | 2

Firearms/Toolmark | 7

Forensic Biology | 6

Physio/Anatomy | 10

Stoichiometry | 8

General Chem | 3

Definitions | 2

Logic | 6

Metrics | 3

Physics | 3

Statistics | 6

General Biology | 8

History | 6

Latent Prints | 7

Legal | 1

Pattern Evidence | 10

QA/QC | 6

Quest. Documents | 8

Safety | 4

Toxicology | 3

Trace Evidence | 11

James Y. and Harriet Tong Forensic Chemistry Scholarship

The department offers several competitive scholarships and awards to undergraduate chemistry majors. Some scholarships are specific to forensic chemistry majors, including the James Y. and Harriet Tong Forensic Chemistry Scholarship for students showing aptitude as forensic chemists.

Previous Winners

  • 2006 Cynthia Cipolla
  • 2007 Cynthia Cipolla
  • 2009 Abigail Hunt
  • 2010 Rachael Kyper
  • 2011 Ashley March
  • 2012 David Griffiths
  • 2013 Jenna Silverman
  • 2014 Kimberly Belvin
  • 2015 Anne Marie Esposito
  • 2016 Andrew Petry
  • 2017 Andrew Petry
  • 2018 Aleea McConaughey and Kimberly Dominguez
  • 2019: Allison Miller and Demi Reed


The program was established by Professor James Y. Tong and was approved by the Ohio Board of Trustees in 1976. Dr. Tong (now emeritus professor) received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC Berkeley in 1950 and 1951, respectively. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and did post-doctoral work at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He joined the faculty of Ohio University in 1957 and soon established courses in photography, forensic chemistry and toxicology.