Program Description

What does WVU offer?

  • Faculty with years of real-world forensic laboratory experience.

The Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program offers graduate studies leading to a degree of Master of Science. The degree program is rigorous, quantitative, and science-based.

Coursework focuses on advanced science classes; including microscopy, trace evidence, pattern evidence and laboratory management.

The degree is unique in that it shares aspects of a professional education degree, such as an MBA, while retaining a research component that can range from a project report to a thesis. The 40-hour program is comprised of a core of advanced chemistry and biology courses complemented with additional laboratory-based instruction in microscopy, analytical chemistry and impression evidence.

Students will also study professional communications, ethics and laboratory management as well as complete a research project under the guidance of related faculty.

This degree is an extension of the examiner track of the Program’s BS degree with emphasis on trace evidence, evidence interpretation, and pattern evidence. It will rest on a strong scientific foundation and is structured to meet FEPAC accreditation requirements.

The program will require a minimum of 40 credit hours to complete and includes six (6) hours of research. Research on-campus will be supervised by forensic, biology, chemistry and and other related faculty.


The WVU general requirements for the Master of Science degree are outlined in the WVU Graduate Catalog. Graduate students in the MS program in forensic and investigative science are required to submit a research thesis. You may apply up to six hours of research credit toward the 40-hour requirement. The remaining 34 hours of credit must be earned in the basic graduate courses in forensic science, chemistry, toxicology, biology or other approved courses at the 400 level or above.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the program will:

  • Be prepared and competitive for entry-level positions, particularly those on a supervisory track.
  • Be prepared to function in an operational forensic laboratory with skills which can be applied in a variety of disciplines within these laboratories.
  • Have an advanced understanding of the life cycle of evidence and an in-depth knowledge of evidence interpretation.
  • Have the necessary understanding of the broad range of evidence types typically encountered in the normal course of duties as forensic scientists.
  • Apply skills acquired in method development and validation.
  • Be able to define, implement and defend a research topic.