Independent Study

Independent study (FRSC 692: Independent Study) is an experience designed to provide an opportunity for independent research in an area that relates to forensic science.

This experience culminates in research presentations at a campus seminar and/or professional conferences, and a written technical report. Students and mentors are encouraged to submit their research work for publication where feasible.

FRSC 692 is available to graduate students as elective credits. This is designed to be a semester course and has variable hours. Interested students may choose one to three credits, with an expectation of approximately three hours of laboratory work per credit enrolled. No more than six FRSC 692 credits will be counted towards the M.S. degree in forensic science.

Interested?: Next Steps

  1. Work with your academic advisers and/or instructors to identify either an accredited crime laboratory or university research laboratory and a mentor.
  2. Apply for independent study [DocuSign] to the graduate director by the first day of the semester of enrollment.
  3. Along with the application, provide your completed proposal to the faculty member supervising your project.
  4. The faculty member must then submit the proposal to the graduate director for final approval before you officially enroll in an independent study course.

What is the difference between directed research and independent study?

Both experiences involve forensic science-related laboratory research, a written paper and an oral presentation.

However, the directed research experience (FRSC 793: Forensic Science Research Experience) is a thesis-level experience that is typically completed over two to three semesters. While directed research opportunities may be completed on campus in a university research setting, students are also encouraged to look for opportunities off campus in accredited forensic laboratories. The graduate director encourages students to select a mentor and project based on their primary career choice or forensic science discipline (e.g., biology, drugs, toxicology, questioned documents, trace analysis), and select a committee composed of faculty and practitioners to guide them through the research experience. 

By contrast, FRSC 692: Independent Study is available as elective credit, emphasizes basic research, and serves as an opportunity for students to gain additional research and/or hands-on laboratory experience. The independent study typically only entails one semester of work, and requires a short (15-minute) oral presentation and a written technical report. Independent study may be completed in an area of forensic science outside of the primary area of interest and is commonly completed within a university research laboratory.