Forensic Science

What LC subject headings are used for the forensic sciences and related fields?
The most general LC subject heading for this popular and rapidly developing field is Forensic sciences. Although this field is also commonly referred to as Forensics, in the LC subject headings system the term “Forensics” is used only as part of the general LC subject heading for public speaking. This can create considerable confusion for users of online catalogs, especially if the catalog’s search engine performs automatic truncation.
The scope note for Forensic sciences states that: “Here are entered works on science as applied in courts of law or in criminal investigation.” Although there are no topical subdivisions under this general heading, it can be subdivided geographically and free-floating subdivisions are often applied. There are, however, a number of narrower headings that reflect both established and emerging specialties in the forensic sciences. Most of these narrower headings follow the pattern of the general heading, using Forensic as an adjective, and all of them may be subdivided geographically. They include:

  • Forensic accounting
  • Forensic acoustics
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic audiology
  • Forensic ballistics
  • Forensic botany
  • Forensic cardiology
  • Forensic dermatology
  • Forensic economics
  • Forensic engineering
  • Forensic entomology
  • Forensic epidemiology
  • Forensic genetics
  • Forensic geology
  • Forensic gynecology
  • Forensic hematology
  • Forensic hypnotism
  • Forensic linguistics
  • Forensic neurology
  • Forensic neuropsychology
  • Forensic nursing
  • Forensic obstetrics
  • Forensic oncology
  • Forensic ophthalmology
  • Forensic osteology
  • Forensic pathology
  • Forensic pharmacology
  • Forensic phonetics
  • Forensic psychiatric nursing
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Forensic psychology
  • Forensic radiography
  • Forensic serology
  • Forensic sociology
  • Forensic statistics
  • Forensic taphonomy
  • Forensic thermography
  • Forensic toxicology

There are also a few narrower headings that follow different patterns, probably for historical reasons. Each of these may also be subdivided geographically:

  • Dental jurisprudence (used instead of Forensic dentistry)
  • Environmental forensics (used instead of Forensic environmental sciences)
  • Chemistry, Forensic (used instead of Forensic chemistry)
  • Legal photography (used instead of Forensic photography)
  • Medical jurisprudence (used instead of Forensic medicine)
  • Veterinary jurisprudence (used instead of Forensic veterinary medicine)


Another set of useful headings refer to practitioners of the forensic sciences. Each of these may be subdivided geographically:

  • Coroners
  • Criminal profilers
  • Forensic anthropologists
  • Forensic pathologists
  • Forensic psychiatrists
  • Forensic psychologists
  • Forensic scientists
  • Medical examiners (Law)
  • Women forensic anthropologists
  • Women forensic scientists


Finally, headings are also available for several other topics related to the application of science in criminal investigation and investigation. These headings may be subdivided geographically, except as noted:

  • Arson investigation
  • Autopsy
  • Bloodstains (not subdivided geographically)
  • Bullets — Identification (not subdivided geographically)
  • Computer animation evidence
  • Crime laboratories (used instead of Crime labs)
  • Crime scenes
  • Crime scene searches (used instead of Crime scene investigation)
  • DNA fingerprinting
  • Exhumation
  • Facial reconstruction (Anthropology)
  • Fingerprints (not subdivided geographically)
  • Firearms — Identification (the pattern Firearms — United States — Identification is also used)
  • Mass spectrometry — Forensic applications (not subdivided geographically)
  • Paraffin test (not subdivided geographically)
  • Paternity testing
  • Poisoning
  • Psychological autopsy
  • Teeth — Identification (not subdivided geographically)

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