Graduate Degree

Forensic Science - Master of Science

Forensic Science - Master of Science
Plan Code:
Program Level:
Award Type:
Master of Science
College of Social Science
School of Criminal Justice

Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog:

Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.

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 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, 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 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.


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 Anthropology (15 credits):
ANP 441 Osteology and Forensic Anthropology 4
ANP 842 Human Osteology 4
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 11 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.