Dawson Cruz, Dr. Tracey
Director, Graduate Program in Forensic Science
Forensic Science, Master of Science (M.S.)
Undergraduate degree in natural sciences or degree with equivalent course work; completion of two semesters or equivalent of organic chemistry with two laboratories and two semesters or equivalent of general biology with laboratories; three letters of recommendation; GPA that exceeds 2.9 on 4.0 scale; prior graduate course work and/or relevant laboratory experience will be assessed where applicable.
Most students entering the forensic science graduate program have a 3.0 GPA or above on undergraduate work and a combined score of 1,000 or more on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE.
Review of applications and offers of admission will begin January 15 and proceed until enrollment openings are filled. All application materials must be received by March 1. All applicants will be notified of a decision. There are no spring admissions in the program. The program may request a phone or in-person interview for admission. Upon acceptance of an offer of admission, a nonrefundable deposit is required.
The Master of Science in Forensic Science is one of only a few of its kind in the U.S. The objective of the Master of Science in Forensic Science program is to prepare students for careers as forensic scientists in government and private forensic laboratories. In addition, students will be prepared to pursue further graduate and/or professional academic degrees.
Core courses in the forensic science curriculum offer broad exposure to forensic laboratory equipment and instrumentation, as well as legal issues, expert testimony, forensic biology, forensic chemistry, trace evidence, physical evidence, professional ethics, quality assurance and current topics in research and development within the forensic sciences. Students entering the program will be required to select a concentration track by the end of their first semester. Tracks offered include forensic biology, forensic chemistry/drugs and toxicology, forensic chemistry/trace and forensic physical evidence. A strong emphasis is placed on laboratory course work, providing students with significant laboratory experience. Several of the laboratory courses are taught by practicing professional forensic scientists at the Virginia Division of Forensic Science Central Laboratory, which is nationally accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board.
The graduate program is a full-time, two-year program. Courses taken will vary depending on the track selected. Required and elective courses are offered at various times, day and night, throughout the week. The Master of Science in Forensic Science degree requires 42 semester hours of course work, including 27 semester hours of required core course work and 15 semester hours of specialized course work designed for each track (including electives). The required course work includes a directed research project, which is an extensive research experience conducted within a forensic laboratory setting. The curriculum offers four tracks: forensic biology, forensic chemistry/drugs and toxicology, forensic chemistry/trace, and forensic physical evidence.