Master of Science in Forensic Science

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Our mission is to provide Master of Science in Forensic Science students the knowledge, skills, and abilities to prepare them for successful careers in forensic science. This mission is accomplished through academic coursework, hands-on experience in the laboratory, research, and the completion of an internship in a forensic science laboratory.

Our overall program goals are:

  • To provide full support combined with continual improvement in the quality of education, scholarship, and service in compliance with the mission of the university;
  • To develop an understanding of the areas of knowledge that are essential to forensic science; and 
  • To provide students with the practical skills, knowledge, and problem-solving abilities that will promote their advancement within the field of forensic science

We try to meet these goals by having specific, well defined and measurable objectives wherever possible:

  • Students will command detailed competence of core course material in forensic science.
  • Students will acquire practical skills in forensic science and apply this knowledge.
  • Students will be oriented in professional values, concepts, ethics and problem solving.
  • Students will demonstrate integration of knowledge and skills necessary for future success in the field of forensic science.

The Master of Science in Forensic Science program requires the completion of 44 graduate semester hours of core and forensic science coursework that can be completed in two years of full-time study. The program is designed to provide students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities essential to forensic science. This unique and interdisciplinary program was the first of its kind in Texas. Graduate level topics include:

  • forensic biology
  • Forensic chemistry
  • forensic toxicology
  • controlled substances
  • trace evidence and microscopy
  • instrumental analysis
  • crime scene investigation
  • pattern evidence
  • law and forensic science
  • ethics
  • quality assurance
  • statistics

These core topics are complemented with advanced coursework and laboratory instruction. The program maintains strong ties with accredited forensic laboratories in both the private and public sectors.

Students are required to:

  • complete an internship in a forensic laboratory,
  • complete an independent research project, and
  • demonstrate good oral and written skills that will prepare them for future success in both the laboratory and in the courtroom.

Those seeking careers in this field should be aware that background investigations similar to those required for law enforcement officers are likely to be a condition of employment. Drug testing, history of drug use, criminal background checks, and other factors including use of social media may be considered for employment or internship placements.

Additional information: Reference the Program Landing Page for additional information, such as cost, delivery format, contact information, or to schedule a visit.

Please submit all document to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Admission considerations include:

  1. Graduate Application
  2. Application fee
  3. A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in chemistry, biology, forensic or natural science
  4. Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  5. Official GRE scores
  6. Three letters of recommendation with Admission Recommendation Checklists. At least two must be from academic sources
  7. Program Application
  8. A Graduate Application Supplement
  9. A personal statement of 500 - 750 words
  10. An application writing prompt of 500 - 750 words
  11. A current resume or vita
  12. TOEFL/IELTS scores and third-party transcript evaluation for international students (if applicable)
  13. A personal interview will be requested

The Program Application, Application Recommendation Checklist, Graduate Application Supplement and instructions are available at Application Resources.

A holistic review of each student’s application will be completed on a competitive basis.

The Master of Science in Forensic Science does not require a thesis. However, students complete an intensive research experience FORS 6014 during both long semesters of the second year. Students must orally defend their research in a public forum and achieve a grade of B or higher in this capstone course to satisfy the University’s comprehensive exam requirement.

During the first year of study students are exposed to the major forensic disciplines in addition to the forensic internship. However, students are expected to develop a highly specialized degree plan, tailored towards their specific career goals. This is accomplished through specialized electives, advanced coursework, and forensic research.

Master of Science in Forensic Science (Non-thesis)
Required Courses
FORS 5116Seminar In Forensic Science1
FORS 5117Controlled Substances1
FORS 5226Law And Forensic Sciences2
FORS 5360Pattern and Physical Evidence Concepts3
FORS 5435Trace/Microscopical Analysis4
FORS 5440Forensic Biology4
FORS 5445Forensic Instrumental Analysis4
FORS 6014Forensic Science Research 16
FORS 6224Quality Assurance and Ethical Conduct in Forensic Science2
FORS 6371Forensic Science Internship3
FORS 6446Forensic Toxicology4
Select ten credit hours of approved graduate courses in FORS, CRIJ, BIOL, PSYC, or CHEM10
Total Hours44

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

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

The MS in Forensic Science is designed to provide graduates with the following marketable skills:

  • Advanced discipline-specific knowledge.
  • Hands-on laboratory skills.
  • Familiarity with legal, ethical, and quality assurance issues.
  • Critical thinking skills.
  • Impartiality and scientific objectivity.
  • Application of statistical concepts to forensic science.
  • Familiarity with consensus-based scientific standards in forensic science.