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

FOR201A Fundamentals-A (3)
FOR201B Fundamentals-B (3)
FOR201C Fundamentals-C (3)
FOR240 Homicide CSI (3)

FOR218 Forensic Case Reports (3)

FOR201A Fundamentals-A (3)
FOR201B Fundamentals-B (3)
FOR201C Fundamentals-C (3)
FOR240 Homicide CSI (3)

FOR218 Forensic Case Reports (3)

FOR201A Fundamentals-A (3)
FOR201B Fundamentals-B (3)
FOR201C Fundamentals-C (3)
FOR240 Homicide CSI (3)

FOR218 Forensic Case Reports (3)

Track
Courses
FOR268 Forensic Statistics (3)
FOR207 Spectroscopy (3)
FOR220 Analysis of Toxicants (3)
FOR278 Molecular Tech. (3)
FOR280 DNA Analysis (3)
FOR276 Population Genetics (3)*
FOR268 Forensic Statistics (3)
FOR207 Spectroscopy (3)
FOR220 Analysis of Toxicants (3)
FOR276 Population Genetics (3)*
FOR278 Molecular Techniques (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

Note 1: If a student has prior equivalent laboratory experience in the area, the program may waive this requirement.
Note 2: FOR289 should not be taken by students in the Criminalistics track as it will result in some duplication of subject matter.