Degree Requirements

Overview

The Forensic Science Graduate Program incorporates coursework and research components to provide students with the most valuable education and training necessary for careers in forensic science. Students complete advanced courses in forensic science, specialized courses in DNA analysis and criminalistics, graduate seminars, and electives in various topics. Students may select to specialize in DNA, Criminalistics, or both tracks, to extended their training in the instruments, techniques, and analyses used in the field. Thesis research projects are conducted within the student’s track under the guidance of a thesis committee. The research effort is culminated in a written thesis, which is presented to faculty, staff, and fellow graduate students at quarterly thesis presentation seminars. Students are strongly encouraged to publish their thesis research in peer-reviewed journals.

Navigating Your Degree

Current students are encouraged to use the Academic Advising Worksheets to plan their course schedules in advance as well as to assist in the progress reports conducted by your advisor each year. The worksheets list sample course schedules for each track that meet all degree requirements within 2 years (6 quarters). The worksheets also provide a convenient milestone checklist to enable you to keep track of your progress in the program. Prospective students are welcome to review the advising worksheets for a glimpse into a typical course schedule. For an overview of other program milestones, see the graduate student calendar.

Select from the tracks below to download the Academic Advising Worksheet:

GPA

Only upper division and graduate courses with grades of A, B, C (including C-) or S may be counted in satisfaction of the unit requirements for the master’s degree. Programs may establish higher grade minimums in their degree requirements. The University requires that students maintain a 3.0 grade point average (A=4, B=3, C=2) each quarter in order to be in “good standing.”

Degree Requirements

The table below offers an at-a-glance comparison of the requirements needed to complete the Master of Science in Forensic Science program based on track. For more information on the requirements, refer to the official Office of Graduate Studies Degree Requirements.

Degree Requirements
Master of Science in Forensic Science
2013 – Present

Criminalistics Track DNA Track Dual Track
Core
Courses
FOR200 Fundamentals (3)
FOR210 Personal ID (3)
FOR212 Sci Evid & Crtrm Tm (3)
FOR240 Homicide CSI (3)
FOR200 Fundamentals (3)
FOR210 Personal ID (3)
FOR212 Sci Evid & Crtrm Tm (3)
FOR240 Homicide CSI (3)
FOR200 Fundamentals (3)
FOR210 Personal ID (3)
FOR212 Sci Evid & Crtrm Tm (3)
FOR240 Homicide CSI (3)
Track
Courses
FOR205 Micro Methods (3)
FOR207 Spectroscopy (3)
FOR220 Analysis of Tox. (3)
FOR278 Molecular Tech. (3)
FOR280 DNA Analysis (3)
FOR289 Survey of FS (3)*
FOR276 Pop Genetics (3)*
FOR205 Micro Methods (3)
FOR207 Spectroscopy (3)
FOR220 Analysis of Tox. (3)
FOR276 Pop Genetics (3)*
FOR278 Molecular Tech. (3)
FOR280 DNA Analysis (3)
Lab
Courses*
FOR221L Instrument Lab (2) FOR281 DNA Typing (3) FOR221L Instrument Lab (2)
FOR281 DNA Typing (3)
Seminars FOR290 Fall Seminar (1)
FOR290 Winter Seminar (1)
XXX290 Graduate Seminar* (1)
FOR290 Fall Seminar (1)
FOR290 Winter Seminar (1)
XXX290 Graduate Seminar* (1)
FOR290 Fall Seminar (1)
FOR290 Winter Seminar (1)
XXX290 Graduate Seminar* (1)
Electives* Minimum ten elective units (10) Minimum six elective units (6) Not required (0)
Research FOR299 Research (18) FOR299 Research (18) FOR299 Research (18)
Other Thesis and Oral Presentation Thesis and Oral Presentation Thesis and Oral Presentation
Total
Units

54 Units

54 Units

56 Units

*Notes:

  • FOR289: In lieu of FOR289, student may take FOR205 Microscopy and Microanalytical Methods (3) and FOR220 Analysis of Toxicants (3).
  • FOR276 Population Genetics: Also offered as FOR298. Any 200-level genetics or bioinformatics course, or GGG201D (5), will fulfill this requirement in place of FOR276.
  • Laboratory Courses: Required only if student has no prior relevant laboratory experience. Courses may be waived only with approval from your graduate adviser.
  • XXX290 Graduate Seminar: Seminar may be taken in any department. Attendance at an external conference (such as AAFS or CAC, offered as FOR290C in winter and spring quarters) and written summary can fulfill this requirement in lieu of an additional seminar course.
  • Electives: Students can select elective courses from Forensic Science or other departments on campus. See the Academic Advising Worksheets above for recommended elective courses for each track.