Doctoral Studies

While the Department of Forensic Science does not have its own Ph.D. program, we accept doctoral applicants through VCU's Integrated Life Sciences (ILS) program.

ILS is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program through which students interested in molecular biology, drug analysis, forensic toxicology, forensic anthropology or trace evidence research can be accepted. Below you will find some of our students' sample dissertation topics from recent years.

Next Steps for Interested Students

  1. Read more about the ILS program, including information on admission requirements and degree requirements, at VCU Bulletin.
  2. Review our research faculty to identify someone whose research is in your interest area, and contact them directly to determine if they have an upcoming opening in their laboratory for a Ph.D. student. Do not apply directly to the ILS program without first communicating with the faculty member you are interested in working with; your application may not be successful.

Sample Dissertation Topics

Faculty Lab Topic
Tracey Dawson Green, Ph.D. The Redesign, Evaluation and Validation, of a Commercially Viable High Resolution Melt Based Mixture Screening Tool for More Information - Earlier in The Forensic Workflow (Chastyn Smith)
Development and Optimization of an Affinity Molecule-Based Cell Isolation Technique for Sexual Assault Samples (Brittany Hudson)
Michelle Peace, Ph.D. The Effect of Synthetic Cathinone Chirality on Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics: Implications for Forensic Toxicology (Tyson Baird)
The Impact of Vaping Ethanol on Impairment, DUI Investigations, and Formation of Ethanol Biomarkers Used in Drug Testing (Alaina Holt)
The Development of a Novel Neonatal Oral Fluid Collection Device and Screening for the Prediction of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (Ashley Gesseck)
Sarah Seashols-Williams, Ph.D. Development and Evaluation of a Combinatorial RT-qPCR Multiplex for Forensic Body Fluid Identification (Carolyn Lewis)
Tal Simmons, Ph.D. DNA Analysis and Postmortem Submersion Interval Estimation (PMSI) from the Microbiome of Porcine Skeletal Remains in a Freshwater Lake and River (Claire Cartozzo)