Forensic Science, M.S.

Program Type:
Online Master
College:
College of Sciences
32 – 34
Credits Required

The Master of Science in Forensic Science program is designed to service the needs of both practicing professionals and full-time students who desire an advanced program study in forensic science. The program comprised of three concentrations: Forensic Analysis, Forensic Biochemistry and Forensic Professional. The Forensic Biochemistry and Forensic Analysis concentrations require the student to perform original research and defend a written thesis. The Forensic Professional concentration is a non-thesis option comprised of course work and an independent study capstone project.

Forensic Science is a highly interdisciplinary science, as reflected in the following programs of study. The interdisciplinary nature of the program makes it imperative that students seek advising from faculty members on the content courses to ensure that they have the appropriate background to master the course content.

Up to 6 hours of graduate credit for advanced courses taken at another approved institution can be accepted with approval of the graduate program director. International students who are resident in the United States (F or J visa) are required to enroll in a full-time course load of 9 credits during the fall and spring semesters. Only 3 of 9 credits may be taken in a completely online format. International students who are not resident in the United States are not bound by these restrictions. For a detailed listing of enrollment requirements for international students, please visit www.intl.ucf.edu. If you have any questions, please consult the International Services Center at 407-823-2337.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general graduate admission requirements established by the university, applicants are expected to:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • A bachelor’s in Forensic Science or another physical science, based on at least 30 hours of college-level science subjects, that provides the background required to be successful in the proposed program. Acceptable non-Forensic Science BS degrees may include Chemistry, Physics, Molecular Biology, Biology, and Chemical Engineering.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Please note that, for thesis concentrations only, if the applicant is employed in a forensic laboratory and wishes to continue working in that laboratory while a distance learner in the Forensic Science MS program, one letter should come from his/her supervisor and should express their willingness to allow the student to use the laboratory instrumentation for thesis research. Otherwise, the student will be unable to complete the research component of the degree.
  • Short (one page) statement describing why the applicant wants to pursue an advanced degree in Forensic Science.

Required for the Forensic Professional Concentration

  • Proof of current employment in a forensic laboratory or previous employment for a minimum period of five years.

Admission Deadlines

Students are admitted to the program two times per year:  Fall Priority, January 15 and Fall term, March 15. All admission materials must be submitted to Graduate Studies by the posted deadlines.

Program of Study: 32 – 34 Total Credit Hours

While most courses are available in a Web-based format, some courses require class attendance (as indicated). Forensic Science is a highly interdisciplinary science, as reflected in the following program of study. The interdisciplinary nature of the program makes it imperative that students seek advising from faculty members to ensure that they have the appropriate background to master the course content. Up to six hours of graduate credit for advanced courses taken at another approved institution can be accepted with approval of the program administrator. A maximum of six semester credit hours at the 4000 level will be accepted.

All Concentrations: 9 Credit Hours

  • CHS 5504:  Topics in Forensic Science (3 credits)
  • CHS 5596:  The Forensic Expert in the Courtroom (3 credits)
  • CHS 6513:  Quality Assurance for Forensic Scientists (3 credits)

Forensic Analysis Concentration: 16 Credit Hours

  • STA 5206:  Statistical Analysis (3 credits) or equivalent
  • CHM 5235:  Applied Molecular Spectroscopy (3 credits)
  • CHM 6492:  Atomic Spectroscopy (3 credits)
  • CHS 6546:  Forensic Analysis of Ignitable Liquids (3 credits)
  • CHS 6645:  Forensic Analysis of Explosives (3 credits)

Biochemistry Concentration: 16 Credit Hours

  • STA 5206:  Statistical Analysis (3 credits) or equivalent
  • CHS 6535L:  Forensic Analysis of Biological Materials (3 credits)
  • CHS 6535:  Forensic Molecular Biology (3 credits)
  • CHS 6536:  Population Genetics and Genetic Data Analysis (3 credits)
  • BCH 6740:  Advanced Biochemistry (3 credits)

Thesis Research

Analysis and Biochemistry Concentrations – 8 Credit Hours

  • CHS 6971:  Thesis Research (8 credits)

Thesis Options

The grounding in scientific research methodology provided by the thesis requirement is a central focus of these thesis-based concentrations. The Forensic Analysis and Biochemistry concentrations are comprised of 32 hours of study beyond the BS degree. Students will conduct research either on site or at the professional laboratories where they work. In either case, a member of the UCF Forensic Science faculty will act as research adviser and approve the research topic. This research culminates in the writing and presentation of the thesis.

The student’s research adviser will select the thesis examination committee, consisting of two UCF faculty members and at least one other acknowledged forensic expert in the field. The student will present his/her thesis for examination by the committee. The thesis must be judged worthy of publication by the review committee and may not be submitted for examination until approved. For students choosing to conduct research at non-UCF sites, the thesis adviser may visit the student’s laboratory where the research is to be performed, before the research begins and on a regular basis until the work is complete.

Forensic Analysis Concentration: The Forensic Analysis concentration emphasizes the application of modern chromatographic, spectroscopic and micro-analytical techniques to problems in forensic science. This specialized program option is not designed for international applicants.

Forensic Biochemistry Concentration: The Forensic Biochemistry concentration in the Forensic Science MS program has a strong biochemistry-DNA focus to serves the needs of supervisory personnel in DNA sections of crime laboratories. National DNA standards mandate that such personnel have advanced degrees. This specialized program option is not designed for international applicants.

Non-Thesis Option: The Non-Thesis Concentration is specifically designed for the forensic analyst who currently holds employment in an operational forensic laboratory or has previously worked for a minimum of three years in an operational forensic laboratory. Applicants who do not meet these criteria must apply for one of the thesis-based concentrations.  International applicants should apply for the Forensic Professional Concentration.

Forensic Professional Concentration: The Forensic Professional concentration is comprised of 34 hours of study beyond the BS degree but does not require an original laboratory-based research project. The Forensic Professional concentration culminates in a one credit hour independent study capstone project performed under the direction of one of the faculty members in the program.

Elective Courses

Professional Concentration: 24 Credit Hours

All students in the Forensic Professional Concentration are required to take an additional 24 credit hours of electives after consultation with their advisor. Elective courses may be selected from the following:

  • STA 5206:  Statistical Analysis (3 credits)
  • CHM 5235:  Applied Molecular Spectroscopy (3 credits)
  • CHM 6492:  Atomic Spectroscopy (3 credits)
  • CHS 6XXX:  Forensic Analysis of Ignitable Liquids (3 credits)
  • CHS 6XXX:  Forensic Analysis of Explosives (3 credits)
  • CHS 6535L:  Forensic Analysis of Biological Materials (3 credits)
  • CHS 6535:  Forensic Molecular Biology (3 credits)
  • CHS 6536:  Population Genetics and Genetic Data Analysis (3 credits)
  • BCH 6740:  Advanced Biochemistry (3 credits)
  • CGS 5131:  Computer Forensics I (3 credits)
  • CNT 6418:  Computer Forensics II (3 credits)
  • CHS 5518:  Forensic Examination of Digital Evidence (3 credits)
  • CIS 6207:  Practice of Digital Forensics (3 credits)
  • CAP 6133:  Advanced Topics in Computer Security and Computer Forensics (3 credits)

Capstone

The Forensic Professional concentration capstone experience requires one-credit of Independent Study which culminates in the submission of a required report on a pre-approved topic. This will comprise either (i) a review of the current literature on a particular forensic science research topic area, or (ii) a holistic case study dealing with a particular criminal case in which forensic evidence played a significant role.

Professional Concentration: 1 Credit Hour

  • CHS 6908:  Independent Study (1 Credit)

For additional information contact:

College of Sciences, Chemistry Department: 407-823-2246

Forensic Biochemistry Concentration
Jack Ballantyne, Ph.D
Associate Professor
407-823-0163, Jack.Ballantyne@ucf.edu

Forensic Analysis Concentration
Michael Sigman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
407-823-2120, Michael.Sigman@ucf.edu

Due to restrictive state regulations, UCF is not permitted to provide online courses or instruction to students in some states. More information is available here.

Application Deadlines
Domestic International
Fall: Jul 15
Spring: Dec 1
Summer: Apr 15
Fall: Jan 1
Spring: Jul 1
Summer: Nov 1

Tuition & Fees

$327.32

Tuition Per Credit

For a description of fees, please visit http://tuitionfees.ikm.ucf.edu

$1151.72

Tuition Per Credit

For a description of fees, please visit http://tuitionfees.ikm.ucf.edu

Career Opportunities

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  • crime scene investigator
  • educator
  • forensic accountant
  • forensic anthropologist
  • forensic computer analyst
  • forensic document examiner/analyst
  • forensic odontologist
  • forensic pathologist
  • forensic psychiatrist
  • forensic psychologist
  • forensic scientist
  • medical examiner
  • researcher
  • toxicologist