Master of Science in Forensic Science

The Master of Science in Forensic Science is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for careers in forensic science laboratories.  The program may also be suitable preparation for doctoral instruction in several disciplines. This is primarily a research degree, emphasizing critical thinking through research, presentation, and publication on each studentís original problem.  Students must first be admitted to the university and to the program.  IFRI/FIU also administers a Certificate in Forensic Science Program for undergraduates.

University and Program Admission Requirements:

To be admitted into the Master's degree program in Forensic Science, a student must:

1. Hold a Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from an accredited college or university.*

2. Have a 3.0/4.0 average or higher during the last two years of the undergraduate program and a combined score (verbal and quantitative) of 1000 or higher on the Graduate Record Exam.

3. Two letters of recommendation of the student's academic potential.

4. Be accepted by a faculty sponsor.

5. Receive approval from the Departmental Graduate Committee.

6. Foreign students whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and obtain a score of 550 or higher. 

* A minimum of a minor in chemistry or biology is required.

Degree Requirements:

The Master of Science in Forensic Science consists of a minimum of 32 credits, including a thesis based upon the student's original research. A maximum of six credits of post-baccalaureate coursework may be transferred from other institutions, subject to the approval of the Graduate Committee. The graduate committee will consist of the Graduate Program Director and members from the Chemistry and  Biology departments and meet at the end of the spring semester to consider the Fall applications to the Masters program.

Required Courses:                                                        Credits:

CHM 5993  Forensic Chemistry                                       3

BSC 5406  Forensic Biology                                               3

CHS 5531 Forensic Analysis                                              3

Workshops and Laboratories1                                        6

Electives2                                                                                          9 (Minimum)

Thesis Research   BSC6971 or CHM6970                    6 (Minimum)

Thesis Proposal Seminar BSC5931 or  CHM6935        1

Thesis Defense Seminar  BSC5975 or  CHM6971        1

1 Workshops and laboratories (up to 6 credits) may be substituted by lecture electives as described in 2 below.

2At least nine credits of additional graduate-level courses (excluding research and seminars) approved by the thesis committee in consultation with the Graduate Program Director. Credits taken at the 4000-level beyond six, or at a lower levels, will not count towards graduation.  Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Psychology courses may serve as electives with approval from the studentís committee.

See the Proposed Schedule of Courses

Core Course Descriptions:

CHM 5993  Forensic Chemistry (3). Advanced analytical methods in forensic chemistry for application to the analysis of controlled substances, materials (ie. paint, glass and fibers), flammable and explosive residues with an emphasis on new methods and method development. (Spring)

BSC 5406 Forensic Biology (3). Advanced forensic applications of molecular biology including PCR, and STR techniques and other laboratory methods and data interpretation. (Fall)

CHS 5531  Forensic Analysis  (3). Advanced topics on the role that physical evidence plays in the criminal justice system. Topics include crime scene methods, laboratory management and the legal framework as it relates towards physical evidence. (Fall)

See a full list of electives in the departments of Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Criminal Justice and Psychology

Graduation Requirements:

A grade of 'C' or higher must be obtained in all courses with a cumulative average of 3.0/4.0 or higher, and presentation and submission of a satisfactory research thesis to the Thesis Committee. 

Read a survey of Crime Laboratory Directors on the preferred educational requirements for forensic scientists working in crime laboratories in the U.S.

For information on competitive Graduate Assistantships offered to incoming graduate students click here.

Important Information for Graduate Students         Financial Assistance for Grad Students @ FIU

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