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 of study in forensic science. The program is 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 nonthesis 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 appropriateness of this program towards their future career as well as the content of courses to ensure that they have the appropriate background to master the course content.
The grounding in scientific research methodology provided by the thesis requirement is a central focus of the thesis-based concentrations. The Forensic Analysis and Biochemistry concentrations are comprised of 32 credit 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.
- Forensic Biochemistry Concentration: The Forensic Biochemistry concentration has a strong biochemistry-DNA focus to serve the needs of supervisory personnel in DNA sections of crime laboratories. National DNA standards mandate that such personnel have advanced degrees.
The nonthesis 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. This specialized program option is not designed for international applicants.
- Forensic Professional Concentration: The Forensic Professional concentration is comprised of 34 credit hours of study beyond the bachelor of science 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.
The Forensic Science MS degree is comprised of 32 or 34 credit hours of study beyond the BS degree with an intensive specialization in one of three concentrations: Forensic Analysis, Forensic Biochemistry or Forensic Professional. Full-time students should complete the degree in two years of continuous full-time study, while part-time students will generally finish the degree in four years.
The program in Forensic Analysis and Forensic Biochemistry is research-based and requires original and independent research resulting in a written thesis to be defended before a committee consisting of two UCF graduate faculty members and at least one other acknowledged forensic expert in the field. These concentrations require 32 credit hours, including 9 credit hours of required courses, 15 credit hours of concentration courses, and 8 credit hours of Thesis.
The program in Forensic Professional requires 34 credit hours, including 9 hours of required courses and 24 hours of elective courses and one credit hour of independent study as the capstone experience. This concentration does not require an original laboratory-based research project. Students not in residence at UCF should consult the catalog for courses with online offerings.
Students with undergraduate degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, forensic science, statistics and physics are encouraged to apply. Students applying to this program with a forensic science undergraduate degree, please be aware that this program is designed for students interested in pursuing a career in forensic chemistry, forensic biology, forensic biochemistry applications.
Students interested in pursuing careers in any of the following forensic disciplines should apply to a more appropriate program:
- Forensic Psychology, you should apply to a graduate Psychology program.
- Forensic Anthropology, you should apply to a graduate Anthropology program.
- Crime Scene Investigation, you should apply to a graduate Criminal Justice program.
- Forensic Pathology or Medical Examination, you should apply to a medical school.
- Forensic Engineering, you should apply to a graduate Engineering program.
Total Credit Hours Required: 32-34 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree
Please note: Forensic Science MS may be completed fully online by domestic students, although not all elective options or program prerequisites may be offered online. Newly admitted students choosing to complete this program exclusively via UCF online classes may enroll with a reduction in campus-based fees.
International students (F or J visa) are required to enroll in the in-person version of this program and a full-time course load of 9 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters. Only 3 of the 9 credit hours may be taken in a completely online format. For a detailed listing of enrollment requirements for international students, please visit http://global.ucf.edu/. If you have questions, please consult UCF Global at 407-823-2337.
UCF is not authorized to provide online courses or instruction to students in some states. Refer to State Restrictions for current information.
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