This program is designed for science graduates interested in pursuing a science-based graduate curriculum that includes a research project and thesis completion under the direction of a faculty member. Practicing forensic scientists may take courses at FIU (and transfer up to six credits from another institution) and conduct the research project in their laboratory. 

The goal of this program is to graduate scientists who can work as forensic science practitioners conducting casework examinations or to provide advanced science education to students interested in continuing their education towards a PhD or another terminal degree such as a law degree.

This program is designed to meet the requirements of the DNA Advisory Board for DNA analysts in the Technical Leader position (for DNA track students) and meets the criteria of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) for Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) accreditation.

Admissions

All application materials should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions via the online Graduate Application. Use the graduate admission checklist to get started.

  • Deadlines
    • Fall: Apply by March 1, 5 p.m. EST
    • Spring: Contact Graduate Program Director
  • Requirements
    • GPA: 3.0
    • GRE: Required, students who are accepted into the program normally have a 40% (149) or higher on their GRE verbal and quantitative scores
    • Applicant Statement/Letter of Intent: Required 
    • Letters of Recommendation: Required, 3 Letters 
    • Hold a bachelor's degree in a natural science from an accredited college or University. A Bachelor of Science in Chemistry or Biology is the preferred degree
    • Be accepted by a faculty sponsor
    • Foreign students whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and obtain a score of 550 or higher

    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.

    For additional requirements, consult the Graduate Catalog.

  • Funding

Program

The Master of Science in Forensic Science consists of a minimum of 32 credits, including a report or thesis based upon the student's original research. For more information, consult the Graduate Catalog.

  • Course Requirements

    Students must take at least 32 credits and earn a grade of "C" or higher in all courses, with an average of 3.0 or higher.

    Required Courses:

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

    Electives (minimum 15 credits):

    • Thesis Research BSC 6971 or CHM 6970 or approved cognate 6 (minimum)
    • Thesis Proposal Seminar BSC 5931 or CHM 6935 or approved cognate 1
    • Thesis Defense Seminar BSC 5975 or CHM 6971 or approved cognate 1
    • Workshops and laboratories (up to 6 credits) may be substituted by lecture electives as described below.
    • At least nine credits of additional graduate-level courses (excluding research and seminars) approved by the student's thesis committee in consultation with the Graduate Program Director. Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Criminal Justice, Legal Psychology, and Medical Laboratory Sciences courses may serve as electives with approval from the committee. Credits taken at the 4000 level beyond six credits, or taken at lower levels, will not count toward graduation.

    A maximum of six credits of post-baccalaureate coursework may be transferred from other institutions, subject to the approval of the Graduate Committee. The committee, which will consist of the Graduate Program Director and members from the Chemistry and Biology departments, meets at the end of the spring semester to consider the fall applications to the master's program.

  • 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)

Program Contact

Julian Mendel.jpeg

Julian L. Mendel

Research Assistant Professor; Assistant Director of the International Forensic Research Institute

International Forensic Research Institute; Biological Sciences


Office: OE 116C

Phone: 305-348-6211

Email: jmendel@fiu.edu