FIS Frequently Asked Questions

Our web site and offices field many inquires and questions from around the world. We collect those most frequently asked and provide answers here. If you can’t find the information you need anywhere on our web site, try this list, which is updated regularly. If all else fails, email or give us a call but please be patient – with the number of inquiries we receive, it can take several days for us to reply.

Why should I consider WVU for my forensic science studies over other programs?

Accredited programs such as ours have to meet rigorous standards in our classes, structure, facilities, and faculty qualifications. A degree from an accredited institution carries significant weight in the forensic science community and that will become increasingly important as the number of forensic science graduates enter the job market. Our program is approaching the decade-old mark and was one of the first accredited programs in the nation.

We employ full-time faculty with real forensic experience, professors whose one and only job is to pass their knowledge and experience to the next generation of forensic leaders.

All of our students complete a rigorous, 420-hour summer internships at locations such as the United States Secret Service, state and local police agencies and labs, and forensic laboratories nationwide. Working with students, we organize the internships, check on progress, and insure that the experience helps you mature from a student to a forensic professional. Many students obtain their first job as a a result of their internship, either directly or indirectly.

WVU has facilities that are second-to-none. There are three crime scene houses, a forensic garage, and an 18,000 square foot dedicated forensic laboratory facility.

How do I study to get a job like I see on CSI?

Unfortunately, there are no such jobs unless you are an actor or actress. Forensic science is more compartmentalized than is shown on TV. Our forensic examiner track prepares students for crime scene analyst positions. These folks usually work as part of a law enforcement agency and their job is to process scenes, document them, and deliver evidence to the laboratory. They rarely do any of the lab work. There are three areas of emphasis you can pursue in our program.

How do I apply for admission to the FIS program?

Undergraduates apply through the Office of Admissions. Masters candidates apply through the Office of Admissions and also complete a Program Application Process.

What is the undergraduate degree code for the application?

Major Codes: Pre-Forensic and Investigative Science: 1062 New applicants to West Virginia University should apply for admission to the pre-Forensic & Investigative Science undergraduate program. You may request application materials from the Office of Admissions and Records (1-800-344-9881).

Who do I contact for help with advising?

Students who enter the Pre-Forensic & Investigative Science Program will be advised by the University Advising Center. Direct admit honors students and upperclassmen from their sophomore year on are advised by Lori Britton.

How are transfer credits handled?

Transfer credit decisions are not made by FIS but by the Office of Admissions.

What about financial aid?

The Financial Aid Office of WVU will assist you in this process.

Does the FIS program participate in the Academic Common Market?

Because of the unique nature of the Forensic & Investigative Science Program, it is not considered eligible for the Academic Common Market program.

Can students transfer in from other programs to advanced placement in FIS program at WVU?

Advanced placement is not available at this time. Students who wish to come to the University at this time can take courses required for the degree program. Individuals will need to discuss the program outline with the Office of Admissions and the advisor responsible for advising advance pre-major students in the University Advising Center.

Applicants interested in transferring from another accredited institution of higher learning are required to attend WVU for two semesters before applying to the Forensic & Investigative Science Program. The student may apply for admission during their second semester. All applicants to the FIS major are required to have completed or be enrolled in FIDP 201 prior to submitting their application for admission.

A transfer student should meet with their advisor at the onset of transferring to determine which courses will be accepted by the FIS Program. The admission decision will be based on academic performance at WVU. A minimum GPA of 2.75 must be maintained at WVU.

Dual degree students seeking a FIS degree as their second degree are required to follow WVU’s current policies on dual degrees and must fulfill all requirements for admission to the program.

Is there a masters program at WVU?

Yes. There are also strong MS and doctoral degrees in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biology that are tailored to forensic science students and their careers.

Is everyone who applies for admission to the program accepted?

No. Admission is very competitive and not all who apply will be accepted.

What happens to students who are not accepted?

Because the first two years of the program consist of basic science and math, most go on to obtain degrees in those fields. Few if any lose any time and usually still graduate after four years. Students who want to pursue a career with law enforcement, who find that FIS is too heavily weighted toward the hard sciences for them, frequently select a criminology area of emphasis within the the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. They also graduate within the expected four year period.