Forensic Science

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

The master's degree in Forensic Science is appropriate for students with a baccalaureate degree in the biological sciences, chemistry, or a related field of study. Applicants are required to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) in their undergraduate degree. GRE scores are required, with a score of 1100 (old system) or 306 (new system) to be competitive. [The requirement to submit GRE scores is temporarily suspended for Fall 2021.] In addition, each applicant is asked to provide a personal statement of interests and objectives, a statement of their definition of the word "ethics" and two letters of reference. Letters of reference can be submitted by the student's undergraduate adviser, research adviser, and/or an instructor for an upper level course taken as part of their major. An applicant may be asked to go through an interview process conducted by members of the forensic science faculty. Admission to the program is based upon a thorough review of all applicant qualifications, and the best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces available for new students.

Degree Requirements

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

Chemistry Emphasis

A minimum of 41 credits are required for completion of the program, with at least 19 credits from courses at the 500 and 800-level, and at least 6 credits at the 500 level. Students are required to take 27 credits from the core courses listed below and 11 additional credits of Chemistry course work. Elective credits are from courses which are determined based on interest and career track. FRNSC 801 will serve as the capstone course for completion of the M.P.S. in Forensic Science.

Biology Emphasis

A minimum of 42 credits are required for completion of the program, with at least 20 credits from courses at the 500 and 800-level, and at least 6 credits at the 500 level. Students are required to take 27 credits from the core courses listed below and 12 additional credits of Biology coursework. Elective credits are from courses which are determined based on interest and career track. FRNSC 801 will serve as the capstone course for completion of the M.P.S. in Forensic Science.

Required Courses
FRNSC 400Courtroom Proceedings and Testimony1
FRNSC 410A Scientific Approach to Crime Scene Investigation2
FRNSC 411Criminalistics: Trace and Impression Evidence3
FRNSC 413Criminalistics: Biology3
FRNSC 415WLaboratory in Crime Scene Investigation2
FRNSC 475Forensic Science Seminar1
FRNSC 532Drug Chemistry and Toxicology3
FRNSC 541Forensic Seminar Series1
FRNSC 561Ethics in forensic Science1
FRNSC 894Research Projects in Forensic Science6
Additional Courses
Select one of the following emphases:11-12
Forensic Chemistry Emphasis
Chromatography and Electrochemistry
Seminar in Chemistry
Forensic Chemistry II
Forensic Biology Emphasis
Molecular Biology of the Gene
Colloquium
Forensic Molecular Biology II
Electives
Select at least 3 credits of the following:3
Sociology of Deviance
Sexual and Domestic Violence
Organized Crime
Crime and the American Court System
Women and the Criminal Justice System
Psychology of Adjustment and Social Relationships
Culminating Experience
FRNSC 801Criminalistics III 1 4
Total Credits41-42

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Forensic Science (FRNSC) Course List

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Wendy Hanna-Rose
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Jason William Brooks
Program Contact

Maria Rosario Long
329 Whitmore Laboratory
University Park PA 16802
mrd1@psu.edu
(814) 867-2465

Program Website View