Forensic science is a rapidly evolving discipline, which applies a wide variety of scientific principles to enhance our legal system. In the past, most forensic laboratories were staffed primarily with graduates of chemistry and biology programs. Once hired into a forensics laboratory, they were trained through workshops and courses offered by various agencies.
With the increasing introduction of scientific results into court testimony and the demands for formal training which includes hands-on experiences, Marshall University’s Forensic Science Program satisfies national standards and guidelines to enable its graduates to enter this fascinating field.
The goal of the Master of Science degree program is to provide the forensic science community with graduates who possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities sought by crime labs and other law enforcement entities and to assist these agencies in reducing the requirement for employer-based on-the-job training. Our students receive instruction using state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, preparing them for a bright future and exciting careers.
Our FEPAC accredited Forensic Science Graduate Program is a two-year academic program leading to a Master of Science in Forensic Science. The program includes a five-semester core curriculum with both thesis and non-thesis options. In addition to this core curriculum, four areas of emphasis are offered to students for more in-depth education and training in specific forensic disciplines. While one area of emphasis is required, students may complete all four areas of emphasis during their course of study.
The four areas of emphasis include:
DNA Laboratory faculty and staff serve as instructors and supervisors for various DNA-based courses while providing select students with real-world experience, training, and exposure to the inner workings of a DNA Laboratory. The DNA emphasis exceeds the DNA Advisory Board standards by requiring a total of 12 graduate level credit hours addressing the DNA guidelines.
Students pursuing careers in forensic drug analysis, toxicology, and trace evidence will benefit from the completion of the Forensic Chemistry emphasis. As some agencies may require 30 or more hours of chemistry coursework, the Forensic Chemistry emphasis provides additional education and hands-on training to meet these federal and state guidelines.
The opportunity for graduate students to participate in hands-on experiences with investigative tools allows students to participate in mock investigations in preparation for careers in this exciting discipline. Forensic software is used to image digital storage media, then images are analyzed using a variety of investigative software. Mobile forensics is an area emphasized in the Digital Forensics courses, as well as investigation of computers and gaming devices.
The Crime Scene Investigation emphasis provides graduate students with the tools and hands-on experience to excel in this field. The Forensic Science Graduate Program has its own Crime Scene House which allows students to obtain real-world experience through the completion of mock crime scene exercises. Upon completion of this emphasis, students qualify to sit for the IAI Basic Student Knowledge in Crime Scene examination.
A summer internship between the first and second year provides the student with real-world experience in a variety of specialty areas. On-site internships are offered in Forensic DNA Analysis, Forensic Chemistry, and Digital Forensics. For specialty areas not offered within MUFSC facilities, students have interned in crime laboratories within the state and across the nation.
Learn more about our Admission Requirements & Policies
In February of 2005 our Forensic Science Graduate Program was awarded full Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) accreditation, through the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). Our accreditation was renewed in 2010 for a length of five years, once again distinguishing the quality of our Master of Science degree program. Our Forensic Science Graduate Program is also the first in the nation to be FEPAC accredited for Digital Forensics.
The Marshall University Forensic Science Center’s Forensic DNA Laboratory is accredited by Forensic Quality Services (FQS) as an ISO/IEC 17025 conformant testing laboratory for forensic DNA casework, CODIS databasing, and forensic relationship testing.
Learn more about the Marshall University Forensic Science Center's Accreditations.
Forensic Science Graduate Program
1401 Forensic Science Drive
Huntington, WV, 25701
Reprint of Marshall Magazine Spring 2012 Issue used by permission.