Time to Degree

The master’s program in Forensic Science can be taken part-time or full-time. The degree can be completed in two years if students enroll in an average of 9 units per quarter. Students enrolled part-time with 5 units or less per quarter typically complete the degree in three years. The program requires the completion of 54 units distributed across core courses required for all students and specialty courses, electives, seminars, and research, as shown below. Number of courses and units are variable depending on a student’s choice of specialty track.

Graduate Student Calendar

First Year


Fall Quartermicro

  • September
    • Attend the Thesis Presentations and Dinner, followed by Orientation for new graduate students
    • Meet program faculty and staff
    • Join the Forensic Science Student Organization
    • Fall Quarter courses begin
  • October
    • Meet with your graduate adviser and student affairs officer at least once during the quarter
  • November
    • Register for Winter Quarter courses
  • December
    • Attend Fall Quarter Thesis Presentations and Dinner
    • Take final exams
    • Quarter ends

Winter Quarter

  • January
    • Classes begin
    • Meet with your graduate adviser and student affairs officer at least once during the quarter
    • Begin identifying research topics of interest and potential thesis committee members
  • February
    • Register for Spring Quarter courses
    • Attend Winter Thesis Presentations and Dinner
  • March
    • Take final exams
    • Quarter ends

Spring Quarter

  • April
    • Classes begin
    • Confirm thesis committee: One thesis committee chair and two committee members
    • Start writing thesis research proposal (complete by the end of Spring Quarter)
    • Meet with graduate adviser for a progress report
  • May
    • Attend Thesis Presentations
    • Check in with your Student Affairs Officer or Program Director regarding course work progress
  • June
    • Attend Spring Thesis Presentations and Dinner
    • Submit thesis research proposal. After submitting the research proposal, your Thesis Committee Chair becomes your main adviser.
    • Take final exams
    • Quarter ends

Summer Session I & II

    • Register for Fall Quarter courses by July 1st
    • Conduct thesis research
    • Program courses are not offered during Summer Sessions. Electives outside the program and other campus courses are offered.
    • Optional: Internship or professional position

Second Year


Fall QuarterFingerprint

  • September
    • Courses begin
    • Attend Thesis Presentations and Dinner
  • October
    • Meet with your Thesis Committee Chair periodically throughout the quarter and meet with Thesis Committee members at least once during the quarter
    • Work on thesis research throughout the quarter
  • November
    • Register for Winter Quarter courses
    • Identify career interests or higher education goals. Monitor internship or professional position openings.
  • December
    • Attend Fall Quarter Thesis Presentations and Dinner
    • Take final exams

Winter Quarter

  • January
    • Courses begin
    • Submit Advancement to Candidacy form to Student Affairs Officer by January 15th
    • Meet with your Student Affairs Officer at least once during the quarter
    • Complete thesis research. Begin writing thesis paper to report background, methods, and results of the experiment, and discuss the conclusions that can be made as a result of the research effort.
  • February
    • Attend Winter Quarter Thesis Presentations and Dinner
    • Register for Spring Quarter courses
    • Meet with your Thesis Committee Chair periodically throughout the quarter
  • March
    • Monitor internship or professional position openings.
    • Aim to complete a draft of thesis paper by April
    • Take final exams
    • Quarter ends

Spring Quarter

  • April
    • Courses begin
    • Send draft thesis paper to Thesis Committee members for review. Each committee member can review the thesis for a period up to four weeks.
    • Register to walk in graduate student commencement ceremony
  • May img_8923
    • Implement recommendations from Committee Members into thesis
    • Make an appointment with the Office of Graduate Studies to submit thesis
    • Prepare thesis presentation
  • June
    • Obtain Thesis Committee Members’ signatures for thesis title page
    • Submit Thesis to Office of Graduate Studies
    • Present thesis research at Spring Quarter Thesis Presentations and Dinner
    • Take final exams
    • Quarter ends
    • Walk in commencement ceremony

Course Requirements

Type of Course Number of Courses Units
Core 5 12
Specialty Track 2-4 9-12
Graduate Seminars 3 3
Electives 1-6 3-7
Research 18 18
Total units to degree: 54

Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP)

The Planned Educational Leave Program is defined as a voluntary, temporary, planned interruption or pause in your regular, full-time education. The purpose is to enhance the prospect of successful completion of your academic program by allowing time for you to pursue other activities that will assist you with: clarifying your educational goals; job opportunities away from campus; and time to resolve your personal, financial or medical problems. PELP makes it possible for you to suspend your academic work for a time and resume your studies with minimal procedural difficulties. For more information on eligibility for PELP and the application process, please see the form below.

Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP) (GS338)

Filing Fee

The Filing Fee option was established to assist those students who have been advanced to candidacy and who have completed all requirements for degrees, including all research associated with the thesis or dissertation, except filing theses or dissertations and/or taking any final examinations (not applicable for this program). Filing fee is a reduced fee paid in lieu of registration fees for one quarter only. For more information on eligibility for the filing fee and the application process, please see the form below.

Filing Fee Application and Regulations (GS305)

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