Master of Science Degree Program

Forensic Science Graduate students working in the laboratory

The goal of the Marshall University Master of Science in Forensic Science degree program is to provide the forensic science community with graduates who possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities sought by crime labs, law enforcement, and private entities. Providing knowlegdeable and skilled employees directly from our forensic science graduate program assists agencies in reducing employer-based on-the-job training.

With the increasing introduction of scientific results into court testimony and the demands for formal training, which includes hands-on experiences, the Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program satisfies national standards and guidelines to enable its graduates to enter this fascinating field. Our graduate students receive instruction using state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, preparing them for a bright future and exciting careers.

About our Forensic Science Graduate Program

The Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program is a FEPAC accredited two-year academic program leading to a Master of Science in Forensic Science degree. Our forensic science graduate program includes a five-semester core curriculum with both thesis and non-thesis options. In addition to the core curriculum, four areas of emphasis are offered to graduate students for more in-depth education and training in specific forensic science 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:

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DNA Analysis:

Forensic DNA Analysts serve as faculty and mentors for various DNA-based courses while providing select students with real-world experience, training, and exposure to the inner workings of an accredited Forensic 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.

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Forensic Chemistry:

Graduate 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.

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Digital Forensics:

Graduate students participate in hands-on exercises and mock investigations with real-world investigative tools as they prepare for careers in this exciting discipline. Digital Forensics software is used to image digital storage media, the images are then analyzed using a variety of digital investigation software. Mobile forensics is an area emphasized in the Digital Forensics courses, as well as investigation of personal computers and gaming devices.

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Crime Scene Investigation:

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.

Forensic Science Internships

A summer internship between the first and second year provides our forensic science graduate students 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 throughout the nation. Our Technical Assistance Program (TAP) offers a unique opportunity for students to serve as a well-trained technical assistant in crime labs across the country in meeting their DNA validation goals.

FEPAC Accredited Forensic Science Graduate Program

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In February of 2005 the Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program was awarded full Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) accreditation, through the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), for a length of five years. Our accreditation was renewed in 2010 and 2015, consistently 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 the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) 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.