In 1248 A.D., a presiding judge for the high courts in China, Song Ci, described a homicide where a peasant was murdered with a sickle, with no witnesses to the crime. A death investigator asked the local peasants to bring their sickles to the town square and place them on the ground. In the hot sun, as time passed, flies began to gather on one of the sickles; attracted to the smell of blood, they pointed to the guilty person. Forensic science has changed substantially since the 13th century, however, the purpose is the same – to apply scientific methods and principles to questions of interest to the law, in order to serve justice.
The Graduate Certificate is meant to complement a program of study at Iowa State that leads to any graduate degree in an established academic major. It is recommended for students that wish to strengthen their interdisciplinary skills. Coursework for the Certificate is at the graduate level. Qualified undergraduates may also enroll, provided they are admitted to the Graduate College as a certificate student for at least one semester. Iowa State does not offer a major in Forensic Sciences at either the graduate or undergraduate level, but it does have a complimentary undergraduate major in Criminal Justice.