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Criminalistics

Criminalistics Section members are engaged in research, education, practice or management in one of the natural, physical or forensic sciences (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, DNA, Mathematics, Physics, Firearms/Tool marks and Trace Evidence).  The main role of the criminalist is to objectively apply standard, scientific processing techniques of the physical and natural sciences to examine physical evidence.

Hear from a Forensic Criminalist

The enormous range of material challenges the ingenuity of the criminalist who examines and identifies hair, fibers, blood, seminal and other body fluid stains, drugs, paint, glass, botanicals, soil, flammables and safe insulating material; restores obliterated, smeared or smudged markings; and identifies firearms and compares fired bullets, tool markings, and footwear impressions.

Section Leadership

Matthew R. Wood, PhD

Section Board Director
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Sandra B. Sachs, PhD

Section Chair
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Jason L. Linder, MFS

Section Secretary
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SECTION REQUIREMENTS

Entry Level Categories

Apply

Student Affiliate

Academy Requirements

Enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program that would support a forensic science career.

Section Requirements

Please refer to the AAFS Criminalistics Section Disciplines document for additional information.

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled; and
  2. Applicant must be enrolled in an accredited college or university leading to a degree in one of the natural, physical, or forensic sciences (e.g., Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Physics) that would be used to support a career in a criminalistics discipline as listed above, and NOTE: Post-graduate individuals do not meet the qualifications for Student Affiliate and should apply for Trainee Affiliate or Associate Member status.
  3. Applicants must provide one (1) letter of reference from their department chair, program director, or academic advisor.

Trainee Affiliate

Academy Requirements

  1. Completed the educational requirements, but not the experience requirements for Associate Member
  2. Must be actively working toward completion of the experience requirements through training program/employment that supports a forensic science career 

Section Requirements

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled; and
  2. Applicants must provide (1) one letter of reference from their supervisor or research advisor.

Associate Member

Academy Requirements

  1. Actively engaged in the field of forensic sciences and has made a significant contribution to the cause of advancing forensic science
  2. Earned a baccalaureate or higher academic degree from a U.S. college/university accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies
  3. Has earned a baccalaureate or higher academic degree from a non-U.S. college or university bearing equivalent accreditation

Section Requirements

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled, and
  2. Applicants for the Anthropology Section will be considered in any area of anthropology (e.g., physical anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology) or a related field, with a demonstrated sufficient forensic science emphasis.
  3. Applicant must have earned a master's or doctorate degree in anthropology or a closely related field with a forensic science emphasis; and
  4. Submit for inspection a complete curriculum vitae indicative of active engagement, publication, pursuit of a career or other contribution to the application of anthropology to forensic science; and
  5. Demonstrate involvement in current anthropological assessments with a forensic science emphasis by providing:
  6. Copies of two (2) forensic case reports that demonstrate the competent application of scientific methods, techniques, and concepts in the context of the fields of anthropology
  7. Two (2) letters of reference. References must be from either two (2) section Fellows or one (1) section Fellow and one (1) full Member from the Anthropology Section of the AAFS. Referees must be well-acquainted with the applicant and must address the candidate's aptitude in and contributions to forensic anthropology.
  8. Above requirements can only be waived by a two-thirds decision of members present at an annual section business meeting. Since the Board of Directors approval occurs before the section business meetings, those seeking a waiver of requirements will be delayed approval of the application for one (1) year.
SECTION REQUIREMENTS

Promotion Categories

Apply
WHILE SERVING AS AN ASSOCIATE MEMBER

To Member

Academy Requirements

  1. Attendance at the annual conferences and participation in the program
  2. Performs outstanding service in the execution of his/her regular responsibilities
  3. Contributions made to the AAFS or latest advancement as service to forensic science research
  4. Service in the area of forensic science education or training acquired throughout his/her career

Section Requirements

While serving as an Associate Member, the applicant must:

  1. Fulfill the AAFS Basic Requirements for Promotion; and
  2. Register and attend a minimum of two (2) annual meetings of the AAFS. The meeting at which the title of Associate Member was conferred, if attended, may be counted; however, the meeting at which the title of Member is being considered shall not be counted; and
  3. Submit for review:
    1. Copies of two (2) recent (within 5 years) case reports; or
    2. Copies of two (2) first or second authored publications; or
    3. Copies of two (2) evidences of teaching or other contributions to applied anthropology with a forensic science emphasis.

NOTE: Proof of activity from a, b, or c must have occurred since being elected to Associate Member.

References not required.

WHILE SERVING AS A MEMBER

To Fellow

Academy Requirements 

  1. Attendance at the annual conferences and participation in the program
  2. Performs outstanding service in the execution of his/her regular responsibilities
  3. Contributions made to the AAFS or latest advancement as service to forensic science research
  4. Service in the area of forensic science education or training acquired throughout his/her career

Section Requirements

While serving as a Member, the applicant must:

  1. Fulfill the AAFS Basic Requirements for Promotion; and
  2. Register and attend a minimum of three (3) annual meetings of the AAFS. The meeting at which the title of Member was conferred, if attended, may be counted; however, the meeting at which the title of Fellow is being considered shall not be counted; and
  3. Submit for review:
    1. Copies of two (2) recent (within 5 years) case reports; or
    2. Copies of two (2) first or second authored publications; or
    3. Copies of two (2) evidences of teaching or other contributions to applied anthropology with a forensic emphasis.

NOTE: Proof of activity from a, b, or c must have occurred since being elected to Member.

References not required.