While the Forensic Science Department does not have its own Ph.D. program, we actively accept students through VCU's Integrated Life Sciences program.


VCU's Integrated Life Sciences (ILS) program 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.


For more information:

Read more about the ILS admission requirements and degree requirements.  Then, 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.  We recommend that you 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.


Recent graduate and Ph.D. candidate dissertation topics:

Claire Cartozzo, Ph.D. Dissertation work in Dr. Tal Simmons' research laboratory.  Dissertation title:  "DNA Analysis and Postmortem Submersion Interval Estimation (PMSI) from the Microbiome of Porcine Skeletal Remains in a Freshwater Lake and River"

Carolyn Lewis, Ph.D.  Dissertation work in Dr. Sarah Seashols-Williams' research laboratory.  Dissertation title: "Development and evaluation of a combinatorial RT-qPCR multiplex for forensic body fluid identification"

Tyson Baird, Doctoral candidate in Dr. Michelle Peace's research laboratory.  Dissertation title: "The Effect of Synthetic Cathinone Chirality on Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics: Implications for Forensic Toxicology”

Brittany Hudson, Doctoral candidate in Dr. Tracey Dawson Green's research laboratory.  Dissertation title: "Development and Optimization of an Affinity Molecule-Based Cell Isolation Technique for Sexual Assault Samples"

Alaina Holt, Doctoral student in Dr. Michelle Peace's research laboratory.  Dissertation title: "The Impact of Vaping Ethanol on Impairment, DUI Investigations, and Formation of Ethanol Biomarkers Used in Drug Testing"

Chastyn Smith, Doctoral student in Dr. Tracey Dawson Green's research laboratory.  Dissertation title: "The Redesign, Evaluation and Validation, of a Commercially Viable High Resolution Melt Based Mixture Screening Tool for More Information - Earlier in The Forensic Workflow"

Jade Smith, Doctoral student in Dr. Emanuele Alves' research laboratory.  Dissertation title: "Evaluation of the Drug Interaction of Kratom Formulations and HIV Treatment Medications"

Ashley Gesseck, Doctoral student in Dr. Michelle Peace's research laboratory.  Dissertation title: "The development of a novel neonatal oral fluid collection device and screening for the prediction of neonatal abstinence syndrome"