Academic Programs Catalog

College of Social Science

School of Criminal Justice

Graduate Study
Forensic Science - Master of Science

Several colleges and departments within Michigan State University cooperate to offer the Master of Science in Forensic Science. These include the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in cooperation with the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies;  the College of Human Medicine in cooperation with the Department of Radiology; the College of Natural Science in cooperation with the departments of Chemistry; Pharmacology and Toxicology, Statistics and Probability, and Zoology as well as the Center for Advanced Microscopy, the Genetics Program and the Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program; and the College of Social Science in cooperation with the Department of Anthropology and the School of Criminal Justice. The School of Criminal Justice is the primary administrative unit.

This program is designed to give all students a broad, theoretical and practical background in the scientific, legal and investigative aspects of forensic science while providing the opportunity to study one of the major disciplines in depth. Students enrolled in this program must complete a concentration in one of the following areas: forensic chemistry, forensic biology, or forensic anthropology.

A thesis is required of all students pursuing Plan A and opportunities exist for an internship in a practicing United States or international forensic science laboratory.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

To be considered for admission to the Master of Science degree program in forensic science, an applicant must have:

  1. completed a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in a discipline appropriate to the desired concentration. For example, a student who desires to complete the concentration in forensic chemistry must have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a closely allied science such as biochemistry.
  2. a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0 for all course work in the bachelors degree.
  3. satisfactory scores in the Graduate Record Examination General Test as judged by the program faculty. No substantive area GRE exams are required.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Forensic Science

The program is available under Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis). Each student will have a thesis advisory committee comprised of the academic advisor and two other program faculty. The student must complete at least 38 credits as follows:

               
1. The following courses (6 credits):  
  CJ 804 Crime Scene Investigation 1
  CJ 805 Survey in Forensic Science 3
  CJ 817 Law and Forensic Science 2
2. One of the following concentrations:  
  Forensic Chemistry (18 credits)  
  CEM 832 Mass Spectrometry 3
  CEM 835 Advanced Analytical Chemistry II 3
  CJ 819 Forensic Analysis of Drugs and Alcohol 3
  CJ 820 Forensic Chemistry and Microscopic Evidence 3
  NSC 820 Scanning Electron Microscopy; Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis 3
  PHM 431 Pharmacology of Drug Addiction 3
  Forensic Biology (18 credits):  
  BMB 801 Molecular Biology 3
  CJ 820 Forensic Chemistry and Microscopic Evidence 3
  CJ 824 Forensic Serology 3
  CJ 825 DNA Profiling 3
  FOR 842 Population Genetics, Genealogy and Genomics 3
    or          
  FW 828 Conservation and Genetics 3
  STT 464 Statistics for Biologists 3
  Forensic Anthropology (16 credits):  
  ANP 441 Osteology and Forensic Anthropology 4
  ANP 842 Human Osteology 5
  ANP 843 Bioarcheology 3
  ANP 844 Topics in Forensic Anthropology 4
  Students must enroll for Anthropology 844 twice, in increments of 2 credits.  
3. Complete an additional 8 to 10 credits of electives chosen in consultation with the student’s academic advisor.  

Additional Requirements for Plan A

1.    Complete 6 credits in Forensic Science 899 Master's Thesis Research.
2.    Attend at least one Master's Seminar Series lecture per semester.
3.    Pass an oral examination in defense of the thesis.

Additional Requirements for Plan B

1.    Complete 6 credits of Forensic Science 890 Independent Study.
2.    Attend at least one Master's Seminar Series lecture per semester.
3.    Completion of a final examination or evaluation.