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Branches of Forensic Science

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Branches of Forensic Science

10,Feb 2024

Forensic Science is a wide multi-disciplinary field. It is not only confined to the laboratories but also to the live crime sites. Students who study forensics learn to associate everything with science, be it the human body or human psychology. A crime is not only murder but, it also involves cyber crimes, bomb attacks, etc. Hence, to prepare students in a manner that they can efficiently tackle the cases, the Forensics course provides specializations in various subjects. Here in this blog, we have mentioned all the branches of Forensic Science and what they deal with.

Branches of Forensic Science:

1. Forensic Anthropology:

It is a field of physical anthropology that deals with skeletal remains, skeletonized bodies, and bones. Sometimes, the crimes are so brutal that it becomes quite difficult to identify the victims and here forensic anthropology comes into the picture. Forensic Scientists help to investigate the crime by using scientific techniques. They examine the dead remains of humans and animals and thus give an estimated time of death.

When the body of the deceased becomes unrecognizable due to mutilations, burning, or natural degradation, forensic anthropology helps in their identification by face reconstruction. These experts determine the age, sex, occupation, height, and cause of death i.e. murder, accident, or suicide. Interestingly, they can also determine whether the injury on the body was caused before the death or during the death.

2. Forensic Engineering:

It helps in the investigation of a case where the machines are involved. The experts examine and identify the machinery failure that caused deaths or physical injuries. It involves the examination of the mechanical and structural failures and thus helps in the identification of the responsible entity for the losses that occurred.

3. Forensic Odontology:

Odontologists use dental records in identification of the dead or missing people. They study the bite marks, dental impressions, and dental X-rays and present them as legal evidence in court. Teeth are hard structures and hence can tolerate huge physical impacts thus they are preserved and used for identification. In case of a plane crash when the entire body is damaged the arrangement of teeth being a unique feature helps in the identification.

4. Forensic Pathology:

As the name suggests when science is collaborated with path labs it is called forensic pathology. It helps in the determination of the cause of death by examining the corpse. These people can identify the weapon used in the murder. They study the medical history of the victims and, when needed perform autopsies as well and examine the evidence collected from the crime site.

5. Forensic Entomology:

It involves the use of insects and arthropods in solving criminal cases. Students learn the interaction mechanism of arthropods with a dead body. Through insects, they determine whether there was any involvement of drugs or any kind of poison in the crime.

6. Toxicology:

Under this, the students learn how toxic chemicals affect humans, animals, and the surrounding environment. They examine the involvement of any kind of poisonous substance involved in the crime mystery. Sometimes it becomes quite difficult to conclude whether the death is caused by overdose or it is a planned murder. In such cases, toxicology helps in analyzing the cause of death by examining blood, urine, food, and beverages that the deceased had before his demise.

7. Forensic DNA Fingerprinting:

It is one of the most important branches of forensic science. It involves studying the biological evidence involved in cases. For example, cases that involve unanimity of identity, testing the parentage, identifying the dead or missing, sexual assault, decomposed body, and skeletal remains are solved using the DNA Fingerprinting method. As no two people can share the same set of fingerprints they are the most reliable evidence and thus are used in the investigation and identifying the culprit.

8. DNA Analysis:

Apart from fingerprints, DNA profiling is another forensic technique that is used in criminal investigations. The evidences that are used in DNA analysis are hair, skin, semen, urine, blood, and saliva. In cases where the body is found burnt and it is not possible to get the skin, blood, or saliva sample in such cases the body remains can also be used.

9. Forensic Archeology:

In cases where the victim’s body or his belongings or stolen goods or evidence are buried, forensic archeologists help the police in the investigation. They use archeological techniques along with photography and imaging techniques. These people also carry out excavations at historical sites to produce the war crimes trial evidence and similar other cases.

10.Digital Forensics:

With the growth of digitalization, crimes are also traced to digital or electronic forms. Digital forensics majorly deals with cyber crimes such as phishing, malware attacks, pornography, and stalking. It helps in the examination of the digital evidence that includes computers, mobile phones, hard disks, USB drives, and other electronic devices. Digital forensics majorly deals with cyber crimes and digital evidence that need to be presented in a court of law.

11.Questioned Document:

This branch of forensics deals with suspicious documents involved in both civil and criminal cases. The suspicious documents include forged signatures on documents or cheques, counterfeit currency, suicide letters, anonymous letters associated with the cases, forged passports, damaged documents, printed or xeroxed documents, etc. Apart from these documents, the examination of handwriting analysis is also done under this branch.

12. Forensic Ballistic:

This branch deals with the analysis of evidence related to arms and ammunition like pistols, bullets, revolvers, rifles, primers, pellets, propellants, fired bullets and cartridge cases, residues of the gunshot, and marks on ammunition such as pin marks. The experts conclude which weapon was used in the crime, its distance from the incident site, velocity, and angle of firing, and ultimately reveals the identity of the shooter as well.

13.Forensic Psychology:

When science is linked with psychology in solving criminal and civil cases, it becomes Forensic Psychology. Experts assist the police in criminal profiling by studying crimes and criminals. They carry out interrogation and counseling of people involved in crime and thus make inferences about the personality traits of the criminals. Various psychological and psychometric tests like Polygraph tests, Narco Analysis, Brain mapping, etc are done under forensic psychologists.

14.Forensic Accounting:

Crimes are not only those acts that cause physical harm to someone, instead they involve all kinds of intended crimes. Forensic accountants help the investigating officers in cases where financial and accounting frauds are involved. These crimes can be committed in a company, financial institution, or any similar entity. Due to the rise in such cases, many corporate companies have introduced a separate post for this purpose and are paying them well enough as well.

15.Forensic Podiatry:

This branch of forensics deals with the abnormalities and diseases of the lower body particularly the ankle and foot, lower limb, and musculoskeletal system. In many cases, the criminals act so smart that they try to erase evidence from the scene, and to some extent, they succeed in it also. In these situations, the experts dig out the foot-based evidence and use it in solving the cases.

16.Forensic Linguistics:

Forensic Linguistic experts analyze the written and spoken language of the people involved in crime and thus conclude the age, sex, educational qualification, culture, ethnicity, socio-economic background, and spiritual and religious beliefs. They are considered experts for cases involving emergency calls, demands of ransom, suicide notes, social media posts, and death row statements.

17.Forensic Geology:

Forensic Geologists examine the evidence related to the earth’s materials for example oil, petroleum, minerals, natural gases, soil, rocks, etc. The experts analyze these substances recovered from the suspect, victim, or crime site and thus answer the questions raised by the legal system.

18.Forensic Botany:

This branch deals with the study and analysis of plant-based evidence like leaves, flowers, wood, fruits, pollen, and seeds. People consider this branch unutilized but it works efficiently for the investigation of criminal and non-criminal cases. Botany has helped investigators in the past to ascertain the manner and time of death as it helps in establishing links to the suspect.

19.Forensic Biology and Serology:

This branch deals with biological evidence like tissues, blood, muscles, semen, hair, saliva, pollen, urine, etc. Various tests like colorimetric analysis and crystallization tests are used for investigation along with technologies like spectrometry and transmission electron microscope. It is one of the most important branches of forensics as it deals with living beings.

20.Forensic Chemistry:

When cases that involve chemicals and chemical reactions are investigated, forensic chemistry is used. It deals with all kinds of adulterations and examines the evidence to make inferences regarding the case. The adulterations that it deals with are food, liquor, petroleum, explosive materials, alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, carbonated drinks, packaged juices, and drugs. Apart from these it also examines the adulteration of chemicals and compounds like RDX, PETN, HMX, Nitrogylcerine, Nitrocellulose, Sulphur Oxides, Fuses, Cordite sticks, etc.

21.Forensic Physics:  

The branch of Forensics that deals with physical evidence is known as Forensic Physics. Physical evidence like fibers, glass, cement, tool marks, paint, building materials, soil, gait pattern, shoe print, footprint, etc is examined under this branch. Experts visit the crime site and collect evidence from there to help in the investigation.


  • https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/what-is-forensic-science
  • https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-2987-branches-of-forensic-science.html
  • https://www.slideshare.net/RakeshMia/different-branches-in-forensic-biology
  • https://anthroholic.com/branches-of-forensic-science

Frequently Asked Question:

What are the branches of forensic science?
There are so many branches of forensics but some of them are forensic engineering, forensic ballistics, forensic Odontology, digital forensics, etc.
What is the job role of a forensic accountant?
The forensic accountant deals with the financial records of a company or financial institutions that are a form of evidence in case of crime.
How does Forensic Entomology help in solving cases?
It is used for the investigation of death by determining the location where the crime took place, the duration of wounds and their types, knowing the interval of postmortem, etc.
What do forensic serologists do?
The serologist helps in the investigation of the crime by analyzing the evidence taken from the skin, hair, saliva, etc from a human body.
Can I pursue forensic Odontology after doing XII in the humanities stream?
No, you can’t pursue Odontology as the science stream is mandatory to pursue forensics.
How do the police find the time of death of a person after weeks of his demise?
With the help of forensic medicine specialists, the police trace the exact time of death of a corpse.