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M.S. in Forensic and Investigative Science

This Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) accredited degree program is rigorous, quantitative, and science-based. Course­work focuses on advanced science courses, 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 strong research component. Students are required to complete a minimum of 40 credit hours, including six credit hours of research. The coursework is comprised of a core of advanced chemistry and biology courses and complemented with additional laboratory-based instruction in criminalistics, trace and impression evidence, and forensic informatics. Students also study forensic statistics, ethics, and laboratory management.

An independent research project/thesis under the supervision of a faculty mem­ber is required. The learning and research environment is supported by state-of-the-art instrumentation and laboratory facilities.

This degree recognizes that future forensic scientists will need even greater education and training to work in national and state forensic laboratories. Our program is designed to prepare tomorrow’s leading forensic science investigators and laboratory analysts.

Thesis Research

All students should identify a faculty mentor and research topic as soon as possible. In order to register for FIS 697 Research, the student must have successfully completed his or her thesis proposal defense.

Each student is responsible to ensure that, with the assistance of the Graduate Studies Coordinator, his or her committee is correctly constituted.  Upon successful completion of the research, the candidate will present his or her results in a thesis and at the appropriate time defend the work in a final oral examination according to the rules of the College and University.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in natural science, forensic science, or equivalent which includes one year of each of the following courses:

  • Fundamentals of Chemistry (inclusive of laboratories)
  • Organic Chemistry (inclusive of laboratories)
  • Biology (inclusive of laboratories)
  • Physics (inclusive of laboratories)
  • Calculus

Additional Requirements for Admission:

  • Personal statement (for more information, click here)
  • GRE taken within the last five years with a score of 300 or better.
  • GPA of 3.00 or better on a 4.00 scale
  • Writing sample in a peer-reviewed publication where the applicant was the lead author (of, at most, three authors) or a 5-page essay. For more information on the essay, please click here.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Upon receipt and evaluation of application package, suitable candidates will be invited for a final interview with the graduate committee. Students enrolled in the program will be required to maintain a GPA of 3.0.  

Application Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and will be accepted throughout the year. Application reviews for a fall semester start begin in late February.

Application to WVU