PhD in Forensic Science

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Program Description

The Doctor of Philosophy in Forensic Science is an interdisciplinary science degree that is designed to provide students with the critical thinking ability, problem-solving skills, and advanced, discipline-specific knowledge to allow them to advance into leadership positions. This is accomplished by demonstrating the ability to perform independent, original research, the successful completion of multidisciplinary academic coursework, hands-on experience in the laboratory, and collaboration with accredited forensic laboratories, institutes and partners.

The PhD in Forensic Science requires the completion of 86 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree. Students complete:

Core Coursework45
Dissertation Research15
Total Hours86

The curriculum is designed to deliver an essential core curriculum in forensic science, together with specialized electives and intensive research in the area of interest. Students are expected to fulfill the requirements during four to five years of full-time study.

Program Breakdown

Degree TypeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Length86 credit hours
Tuition/CostsRates per Semester

Admission Requirements

  1. Graduate Admissions Application
  2. Application Fee
  3. Bachelor's degree in chemistry or biology; or a bachelor’s degree in forensic or natural science with the equivalent of a minor in either chemistry or biology
  4. Official transcript(s) from degree granting institution(s)
  5. Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  6. GPA of 3.5 or higher
  7. Program Application
  8. Personal statement , not to exceed 1000 words
  9. Three letters of recommendation in addition to the Admission Recommendation Checklist . A minimum of two letters must be from faculty who are sufficiently acquainted with the student to comment on potential for success in the doctoral program
  10. Current resume or vita
  11. Official GRE  scores
  12. In some instances, a personal interview may be requested.

Degree Requirements

The program requires the completion of a minimum of eighty-six hours of graduate credit, as prescribed in the plan below.

Students must register full-time and maintain a 3.0 grade point average in all courses. In order to advance to candidacy students must have successfully completed (or be currently enrolled in) forty-four graduate credit hours of coursework and research, submit a portfolio for review, write a formal research proposal and orally defend the proposal by the close of the second spring semester. Once the doctoral program committee determines that the portfolio, proposal and defense are satisfactory, the student may enroll in dissertation credits.

A minimum of fifteen hours of dissertation credits are required and students must maintain continuous enrollment until they graduate. Students must complete and defend a doctoral dissertation, which is the product of original scholarly research and is of sufficient publishable quality to represent a meaningful contribution to knowledge in the field of forensic science.

Degree Plan

Doctor of Philosophy in Forensic Science
Required Courses
FORS 5445Forensic Instrumental Analysis4
FORS 5117Controlled Substance Analysis1
FORS 5360Pattern and Physical Evidence Concepts3
FORS 5335Trace/Microscopical Analysis3
FORS 5440Forensic Biology4
FORS 6446Forensic Toxicology4
FORS 5116Seminar In Forensic Science1
FORS 5226Law And Forensic Sciences2
FORS 6224Quality Assurance and Ethical Conduct in Forensic Science2
FORS 6014Forensic Science Research 16
FORS 6371Forensic Science Internship3
FORS 7331Research Methods3
FORS 7332Scientific Communications3
FORS 7390Forensic Laboratory Management3
Select twenty-nine semester credit hours of approved graduate courses in FORS, CRIJ, BIOL, or CHEM29
FORS 8099Dissertation 215
Total Hours86

FORS 6014 must be taken for a total of six credit hours.


Once enrolled in FORS 8099, students must enroll in this course every semester until graduation.