M.S. in Forensic Science
93% of our M.S. students are lab-employed within six months of graduation.
Our mission is to prepare you for a career as a forensic scientist in government and private forensic laboratories, or for further graduate and/or professional academic degrees. In our FEPAC-accredited program, you will receive in-depth exposure to specializations within the field, including drug analysis, DNA analysis, trace evidence, criminalistics and legal issues. A strong emphasis on laboratory courses provides students with significant hands-on experience prior to graduation; for example, several of the required lab courses are taught at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science Lab, which is nationally accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors.
The program is a full-time, two-year program. Courses taken will vary depending on the concentration selected. Required and elective courses are offered at various times, day and night, throughout the week.
- Small class sizes
- Distinguished faculty
- Active research programs in various forensic science disciplines
- Select courses taught by practicing forensic science professionals
- Location in the state capital providing a rich environment for both classroom learning and internships
Students are admitted into one of the following concentrations prior to matriculating into the program. (Links go to VCU Bulletin.)
In addition to the core courses, the forensic biology concentration includes courses in scientific crime scene investigation, advanced forensic DNA analysis, emerging molecular applications for forensic biology, and population genetics with a selection of four credits worth of additional electives.
Forensic Chemistry / Drugs and Toxicology
In addition to the core courses, the forensic chemistry/drugs and toxicology concentration includes courses in scientific crime scene investigation (or forensic medicine), analytical considerations in forensic toxicology, applications in forensic toxicology, and advanced drug analysis with a selection of four credits worth of additional electives.
Forensic Chemistry / Trace
In addition to the core courses, the forensic chemistry/trace concentration includes courses in scientific crime scene investigation, analysis of fire debris and explosives, and forensic analysis of paint and polymers with a selection of seven credits worth of additional electives.
Forensic Physical Analysis
In addition to the core courses, the forensic physical analysis concentration includes courses in scientific crime scene investigation and advanced crime scene investigation with a selection of ten credits worth of additional electives.
Upon graduation, students with the M.S. in forensic science will be able to:
- Apply basic principles and laboratory procedures of biology and chemistry to forensic evidence analysis
- Demonstrate the capabilities, use, potential and limitations of forensic laboratory theory and techniques
- Demonstrate an understanding of legal procedure and the rules of evidence
- Demonstrate ethical and professional duties and responsibilities of the forensic scientist
- Demonstrate the ability to perform, report and orally present independent research in an area of forensic science