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The Eberly College of Science

Forensic Science Graduate Degree Emphasis

A Forensic Foundation

Students looking to to earn a Master's in Forensic Science choose either the biology emphasis or the chemistry emphasis to complete their degree. Both degree paths provide a foundation in the principles and practices of criminalistics and forensic science, but allow students to tailor their Penn State experience more specifically towards their research interests and career goals. 

Biology Emphasis

The biology emphasis provides a deeper understanding of and hands-on lab experience in serology, biochemistry, and forensic molecular biology, with particular emphasis on forensic DNA analysis. 

Coursework includes: 

  • Forensic Biology
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Molecular Biology I and II
  • Drug Chemistry and Toxicology
  • Trace Evidence

For a full listing of courses, check out the University Bulletin or the Recommended Academic Plan for the biology emphasis. For more information about the 

Chemistry Emphasis

The chemistry emphasis provides a deeper understanding of and hands-on lab experience in analytical, physical, and inorganic chemistry. Those selecting the chemistry emphasis can learn more in-depth about the forensic analysis of controlled substances, trace evidence, fire debris, ignitable liquids, and firearms and gunshot residue. 

Coursework includes:

  • Forensic Chemistry I and II
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Chromatography and Electrochemistry
  • Drug Chemistry and Toxicology
  • Trace Evidence

For a full listing of courses, check out the University Bulletin or the Recommended Academic Plan for the chemistry emphasis.

Research

A research project is required for our degree program. Students will conduct research under the guidance of the program's faculty, and will receive $2500 per year for two years to put toward their research. Additional funding is available to help pay for travel and other expenses associated with conference attendance and presentations of research findings.