M.S. in Forensic Science

MSFS Policy Manual Report Option 2014

MSFS Policy Manual Thesis Option 2014

Application deadline for Fall admission is March 1st of every year.

Please see the Preliminary online application.

The Master of Science in Forensic Science is accredited by the American Academy of Forenisc Sciences (AAFS) Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) http://fepac-edu.org/accredited-universities


The Master of Science in Forensic Science is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for careers in local, state and national forensic science laboratories. The program may also be suitable preparation for doctoral instruction in several disciplines. This graduate program was initially accredited by the FEPAC of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (www.aafs.org) in 2004. To be admitted into the Master's degree program in Forensic Science, a student must:

  1. Hold a Bachelor's degree in a natural science from an accredited college or university.*
  2. Have a 3.0/4.0 average or higher. GRE general test scores must be submitted and will be factors in admission to the program. There is no university requirement for official minimum scores but GRE scores will be used by the department selection committee as an admission selection criteria. Students that are accepted into the program normally have 40% or higher on their GRE verbal and quantitative scores.
  3. Two letters of recommendation of the student's academic potential.
  4. Be accepted by a faculty sponsor.
  5. Receive approval from the Departmental Graduate Committee.
  6. Foreign students whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and obtain a score of 550 or higher.

A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Chemistry or Biology is the preferred degree.

Note: Students aspiring to work in the field of forensic science are normally required to undergo a thorough background check. A past criminal record (arrests and/or convictions) will usually disqualify a person to work in this field. In addition, most forensic science employers will not hire anyone with a history of illicit drug abuse.

The goals and objectives of this program are to graduate scientists that can work as forensic science practitioners conducting casework examinations or to provide advanced science education to students interested in continuing their education towards a research degree (ie. PhD) or other terminal degree (ie. JD).

Degree Requirements:

The Master of Science in Forensic Science consists of a minimum of 32 credits, including a thesis based upon the student's original research. A maximum of six credits of post-baccalaureate coursework may be transferred from other institutions, subject to the approval of the Graduate Committee. The graduate committee will consist of the Graduate Program Director and members from the Chemistry and Biology departments and meet at the end of the spring semester to consider the Fall applications to the Master's program.

Required Courses: (32 Total Credits)

  • CHS 5542 Forensic Chemistry (3)
  • BSC 5406 Forensic Biology (3)
  • CHS 5535 Forensic Analysis (3)

Electives (15 Credits Minimum)

Thesis Research BSC6971 or CHM6970 or approved cognate 6 (Minimum)

Thesis Proposal Seminar BSC5931 or CHM6935 or approved cognate 1

Thesis Defense Seminar BSC5975 or CHM6971 or approved cognate 1

  1. Workshops and laboratories (up to 6 credits) may be substituted by lecture electives as described in 2 below.
  2. At least nine credits of additional graduate-level courses (excluding research and seminars) approved by the thesis committee in consultation with the Graduate Program Director. Credits taken at the 4000-level beyond six, or at a lower levels, will not count towards graduation. Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Criminal Justice, Legal Psychology, and Medical Laboratory Sciences courses may serve as electives with approval from the student’s committee.

Core Course Descriptions

CHS 5542 Forensic Chemistry (3). Advanced analytical methods in forensic chemistry for application to the analysis of controlled substances, materials (ie. paint, glass and fibers), flammable and explosive residues with an emphasis on new methods and method development. (Spring)

BSC 5406 Forensic Biology (3). Advanced forensic applications of molecular biology including PCR, and STR techniques and other laboratory methods and data interpretation. (Fall)

CHS 5535 Forensic Analysis (3). Advanced topics on the role that physical evidence plays in the criminal justice system. Topics include crime scene methods, laboratory management and the legal framework as it relates towards physical evidence. (Fall)

Graduation Requirements

A grade of 'C' or higher must be obtained in all courses with a cumulative average of 3.0/4.0 or higher, and presentation and submission of a satisfactory research thesis to the Thesis Committee.

Dr. Jeffrey Wells (jedwell@fiu.edu)
Department of Biology
Graduate Program Director for Master of Science in Forensic Science