Forensic science offers great potential, as it draws on almost every discipline and, in doing so, creates a widespread opportunity for innovation.

Mark Walport

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”

The study of science entails the knowledge of core subjects such as biology, chemistry and physics. Sciences help man to understand and unlock the complex concepts that in the time past were impenetrable.

Most people often struggle to master the basics of scientific principles whereas others develop a strong attraction and passion for scientific topics such as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawkins, Michael Faraday and others that pursued a career in the field of science.

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”

In this article, Superprof will help to analyze a sub-discipline of the forensic science field popularly known as forensic biology. Here, you will be made to understand the basic concept of forensic biology, where to study forensic biology in Nigeria and the ideal jobs that are most suitable and available for professional and accredited forensic biologists.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule that contains the biological instructions that make each species unique: Pixabay Image

What are the Basics of Forensic Biology

Forensic Biology is seen as a sub-discipline of forensic sciences. This area of study applies the knowledge gotten from biology to identifying and analyzing biological evidence obtained from a crime scene or the victim or suspect(s). This helps to establish the fact that a crime took place.

This area of science is a broad discipline that encompasses different areas of specialization such as DNA analysis, Forensic pathology, Forensic anthropology, Forensic odontology, forensic entomology, forensic microbiology, forensic serology and forensic botany. The activities of a forensic biologist can be seen first-hand in most Hollywood movies and shows aired on DSTV and GOTV channels such as Law and Order, Bones and Science Investigation.

These programs portray some aspects and techniques of forensic biology that are used to apprehend criminals and ensure that they face justice. As we have stated earlier, the aspect of forensic biology comes with different sub-disciplines that can be studied by students who have an interest in sciences and crimes investigation.

You can now see that the course is a two-way thing that helps in adrenaline pumping and also ideal for people that has a critical and investigative mind.

Some of the core areas of forensic biology that can be studied by lovers of science and investigation include

  • DNA Analysis: This is one major area of study for most students of forensic biology. DNA testing and analysis are now becoming popular in Nigeria as it is one of the most popular pieces of evidence that can be recovered at a crime scene by specialists and used to investigate the nature of the crime. The use of DNA analysis is mostly used in Nigeria for paternity testing, connecting suspects or victims to a crime scene or evidence and identifications of unknown human remains.
  • Forensic Entomology: This a certified pathologist who is trained as a medical doctor and medical examiner that is best known for conducting autopsies. These individuals have extensive knowledge of the human body. There are often needed to determine the cause of death.
  • Forensic Anthropology: This is the study of the human skeletal remains, in some crime cases or situations where the remains of a person are expected to be determined after so many years. These could be the race, age, sex and most times, ailments that can be seen from the skeletal structure.
  • Forensic Toxicology: This is an aspect of forensic biology that is mostly practised in a crime laboratory. These experts are used to determine if the cause of death is as a result of drug use or poisoning.
  • Forensic Odontology: This area of forensic biology is most suitable for dentists. There can be engaged to work in a crime lab and used in identifying degraded remains. Since the enamel is known to be the hardest substance in the human body, a professional odontologist or dentist can ascertain and compare the remains of a dead body with its dental records.

All these sub-fields of sciences are essential to the study of forensic biology.

Forensic Toxicology Expert: Getty Image

Why is the Study of Forensic Biology Important

It is no gainsaying that the best forensic biologists can accomplish the work of a crime detective by possessing the ability to solve complicated and complex crimes while uncovering important clues.

Before we go further on where you can study this unique course in Nigeria and the employment opportunity open for individuals seeking to pitch their career in that line of sciences, it will be important to consider some of the benefits of studying this course.

Some of the importance why you need to study forensic biology as an area of further study in Nigeria includes

  • Exciting Career Path: the career path for any individual who wishes to study this engaging and fun course is bright. Think of the adrenaline pumping situation when you are investigating a crime scene, analyzing DNA, reading off the emotions of suspects, solving cold cases and conducting other physical evidence in a world-class laboratory. If a cruise and pure adrenaline life appeals to you, then becoming a forensic biologist is the way to go.
  • Developing useful skills: the course gives the chance to hone some life-saving skills, analytical skills, problem-solving skills and investigative skills. You will also be opportune to improve on patience level and level of concentration.
  • Varieties of work opportunities: the career path boasts of numerous job opportunities for individuals that wish to specialize in that area. The good thing about this career path is that you can also work in other fields such as in the education and law enforcement agencies.

Places where one can study Forensic Biology in Nigeria

Recent statistics in Nigeria shows that there are over 80 Universities in Nigeria which comprised of federal, state and private Universities. Of these universities, some public and private universities in Nigeria offers forensic sciences with a special interest in biology as a higher degree such as M.Sc. and PhD.

To guide interested Nigerian wishing to study this fun and timely course in Nigeria, the following are some of the best academic institutes that one can study forensic sciences in Nigeria.

Nigerian Police Academy, Wudil, Kano State

The Nigeria Police Academy is one of the few Universities in Nigeria that offers Forensic sciences presently in Nigeria. The academy started in 1988 and was later relocated to Wudil, Kano State.

The academy was upgraded to a degree-awarding institution, and the National Universities Commission recognizes it as the thirty-seven (37th) Federal University and the one hundred and twenty fourth (124th) University in Nigeria.

The academy boasts of different faculties which include faculty of science, faculty of humanities, faculty of law and faculty of social and management science.

The academy, under the faculty of science, has a department that offers Biochemistry/Forensic Science. The academy is expected to teach you all that you need to know about introductory biology in the early years. The forensic course at the Nigeria Police academy boasts of 100% employability with the Nigeria police and a state of the art facilities for laboratory experimentation. You can check out The Nigeria Police Academy Website to learn more about this course.

University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State (M.Sc)

The University of Ibadan is a public research university that is located in Ibadan. The University was founded in 1948 as University College Ibadan. It is reputed as one of the many colleges within the University of London.

The College became an independent University in 1963, and it remains Nigeria oldest degree-awarding institution in Nigeria.

The University is also the only conventional University in Nigeria that offers a degree in forensic sciences with an option for biology.

UI offers a postgraduate the following courses in Forensic Sciences.

  1. Forensic Genetics
  2. Crime Scene Search and Handling of Buried Remains
  3. Introduction to Forensic Anthropology
  4. Introduction to Forensic Archaeology
  5. The Cadaver and Forensic Toxicology
  6. Forensic Taphonomy
  7. Forensic Pathology and the Law

The courses offered in this University enables you to explore the exciting science behind the criminal investigation. The class helps to make sure that the knowledge and techniques acquired are transferrable to other biological sciences.

Available Jobs for Forensic Biologist in Nigeria

Crime Scene Investigation. iStock Image

Nigeria as a nation is not immune to crime as we hear of gruesome murders and crimes on a daily basis in TV and most states. But that does not mean that the only job opportunity for these forensic biologist graduates is just for a crime science investigation.

Graduates from this field of forensic sciences in Nigeria can gain lucrative jobs in areas such as

  • Forensic computer analyst
  • Biomedical scientist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Detective
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Toxicologist

Also, other options that are also open to people with a diploma in forensic sciences or biology includes

  • A university teacher specializing in forensic science
  • Police Officer
  • EFCC
  • DSS
  • Paralegal
  • Solicitor
  • Secondary school teacher

You can see that becoming a forensic biologist is a rewarding career with many opportunities and a chance for personal development and growth.

In conclusion, graduates of forensic biology degree must have some laboratory experience to make them more competitive and appealing to future employees.

To learn more about other types of biologists that one can specialize in or go into, check out these other Superprof articles on microbiologists, wildlife biologist,s and biological engineering.

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I am a professional Freelance Content writer with a Bachelors Degree in Business Management and a Masters Degree in Strategic Management. I am a member of several international organizations, including ISMN and NIM. I have a strong flair for writing as a lecturer. I utilize these skills to ensure my contents meet the global standard.