Crime Lab Internships

The Wisconsin Crime Laboratory Bureau offers a limited number of internships each year, and internships are only offered when a specific project has been identified that furthers the mission of the laboratories.


The mission of the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory Bureau is to provide quality forensic analyses in the interest of criminal justice, performed in a timely manner, communicated in a clear and unbiased fashion, and to complement that with non-biased, effective, and competent expert testimony for the trier of fact.


The Crime Laboratory Bureau has Crime Laboratories in three areas of the state: Madison, Milwaukee and Wausau.  The Crime Laboratory in Milwaukee provides analyses in Controlled Substance, Toxicology, DNA/Serology, Firearms/Toolmarks, Identification, Forensic Imaging, and Trace Chemistry.  The Crime Laboratory in Madison provides analyses in Controlled Substance, Toxicology, DNA/Serology, Identification, and Forensic Imaging.  In addition, the lab in Madison houses the State DNA Databank and the State AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) Unit. The Wausau lab offers Controlled Substance, Toxicology-Blood Alcohol Analysis, Identification, and Forensic Imaging.  All three labs provide crime scene field response for law enforcement.


Controlled Substance Unit – This unit analyzes for the presence (or absence) of controlled substances, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and LSD.


Toxicology Unit – This unit analyzes bodily specimens for the presence of chemicals that are harmful to humans or for which ingestion is in some way defined as a criminal offense.


Trace Chemistry – This unit analyzes a broad spectrum of physical evidence including paint, glass, fibers, fire debris, explosives, fireworks, lamp filaments, plastics, lubricants, household and industrial chemicals, building materials, cosmetics, tapes, ropes and cordage, and metals. 


DNA Analysis Unit – This unit analyzes skin cells and bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, or saliva that are connected with crimes to characterize genetic information (DNA) about the donor.


DNA Databank Unit – This unit analyzes DNA from persons convicted of crimes, as well as DNA from persons arrested for certain criminal offenses; manages a database for future DNA comparisons against “unknown” DNA samples/profiles from crimes.


AFIS Unit – This unit operates the State Automated Fingerprint Identification System, providing fingerprint identification information to all law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin, and several units within the Crime Laboratory Bureau.  This system serves as the central repository for fingerprint identification records relating to persons arrested throughout the state.


Firearms/Toolmarks – This unit examines all aspects of firearms, toolmarks, powder pattern, and obliterated stamped serial number evidence.  This unit operates the NIBIN system (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network).


Forensic Imaging Unit – This unit conducts photographic and digital imaging examinations for law enforcement, as well as provides photographic support to other analytical units in the Crime Laboratory Bureau.


Identification Unit – This unit analyzes evidence for the presence (or absence) of friction ridge detail (fingerprints or palmprints), footwear impressions, and tire track impressions.  They compare prints/impressions to known standards to establish identity or non-identity, as well as enter suitable prints into the AFIS for future comparison opportunities.


Forensic Program Technician Unit – This unit provides support to their individual laboratories through Evidence Support, Front Desk Support, Lab Technician Duties, and individual unit-assigned duties.  *It should be noted that this unit does not currently accept interns.


Crime Scene Response Unit – This unit responds to calls from law enforcement agencies for assistance at major crime scenes across the state, typically homicides and autopsies.  *It should be noted that this unit is not a full-time unit and is comprised of analysts from different units in each lab on a volunteer basis; thus, this unit does not accept interns.


Interns assigned to any of these units may be assigned to individual projects, inter-unit projects, and general lab support.  They will be under the supervision of the unit supervisor and a technical designee(s) within the unit.


General qualities and skills necessary for a successful intern:


  • Honesty & integrity
  • Good listener
  • Analytical
  • Confident
  • Team-oriented
  • Observational skills
  • Written/oral communication skills
  • Planning/organizational skills
  • Tolerance to stress
  • Reliable
  • Appropriate decision-making ability


The Crime Lab Bureau Internship Program is designed for college students currently completing a degree from an accredited university or college. Minimum qualifications for interested applicants include:


  • Must be a minimum of a college-level junior that is currently enrolled in a university/college
  • Must be receiving college credit for the internship
  • Must be on a degree course that would be sufficient for future employment with the Crime Laboratory Bureau (see *NOTE below)
  • Please review the following document for Employment/Degree Requirements
  • Please review the following document for Unit-Specific requirements/recommendations


Selected candidates will be required to pass a comprehensive background investigation prior to placement in the internship program and will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.


While Crime Laboratory Bureau internships are UNPAID, they provide an excellent opportunity for students to work and interact with Forensic Scientists and other lab staff and assist in exciting and worth-while projects.


The Crime Laboratory Bureau offers internship opportunities throughout the year, depending on staffing and other resources.  To apply, please complete the internship application, and send it with your current resume and letter of interest to the address identified below, or via fax or email:


Katie Kohl

Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory

4626 University Ave, Madison, WI 53705

Fax: 608-267-1303


Application Deadlines:


  • Summer Internship: February 1
  • Fall Internship: July 1
  • Spring Internship: October 1


While applications received after the deadlines may be considered, please recognize that only applications received before the deadlines will be guaranteed review and consideration.  Applications received after the deadlines will be considered as operational needs and laboratory tasks dictate.


Please allow one month after the application deadline to expect to hear if you have been selected to participate in an interview.  Due to the high volume of applicants, not all applicants will be interviewed for a position.


Application materials will not be returned.


For general questions about the internship program, please contact Internship Program Director Katie Kohl at


*NOTE: The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) provides internship opportunities that may be more appropriate for students with Forensic Investigation and Criminal Justice majors.  Please visit their website for more information: