Forensic Science and Law

M.S. in Forensic Science and Law

The M.S. in Forensic Science and Law aims to provide exemplary forensic science education in Criminalistics, advanced scientific analysis and innovative economic opportunity for the promotion of truth and justice in our community, state and nation.

This unique degree incorporates a curriculum that balances breadth and depth of scholarly coursework that incorporates the logic and workings of the criminal justice system. Coursework covers the theoretical underpinnings of the biological and physical sciences- as used in the collection, analysis, interpretation, reporting, and testimony of evidence. Students of the graduate program,

  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Present research findings at forensic science society seminars
  • Publish thesis research in peer reviewed forensic science journals
  • Maintain the ethical and professional standards of the profession of forensic science
  • Prepare for future employment in forensic science laboratory careers
Taylor and Sarah share their experiences conducting hands-on research alongside their supportive faculty mentors, obtaining internships at some of the country’s best forensic labs and investigative organizations while living on the Bluff with their Duquesne family.

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Program Information

The Forensic Science and Law Master Degree Program is fully accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission.

Program Type

Dual Degree

Degree

Master's

Duration

5-year

Required Credit Hours

150

Faculty and Staff

Pamela Marshall

Pamela Marshall

Director and Associate Professor, Forensic Science and Law

Lyndsie Ferrara, Ph.D.

Lyndsie Ferrara, Ph.D.

Teaching Assistant Professor, Forensic Science and Law

Lisa Ludvico, Ph.D.

Lisa Ludvico, Ph.D.

Teaching Assistant Professor, Forensic Science and Law

girls in lab

MISSION

As a student in our five-year program you will receive the best forensic science education possible. Our mission is to provide you with a high quality education in the natural and forensic sciences, and to advance scientific knowledge and improve society through research and education, thereby contributing to the mission of Duquesne University.

professor and student

GOALS

You will learn laboratory-based natural biology and biochemistry as well as forensic scientific and legal foundations. By the time you enter the workplace you will be prepared to start your career with an excellent background and knowledge base in the forensic sciences. You will also have a comprehensive knowledge of the applicable principles of the law as it pertains to forensic science.

dna strand

OBJECTIVES

As a student in our program, you will: Have an appreciation of professional and ethical concepts early in your college education, gain an understanding of the nexus that forensic science has with the law, have a comprehensive science and math educational background in order to be successful in upper level courses, be able to apply scientific principles to forensic problems in a laboratory setting, experience the broad diverse nature of the forensic community by participating in local, regional and national professional organizations and/or meetings, have an appreciation of the advances and changes in the forensic sciences and be able to adapt to those changes and have skills and a level of knowledge that will allow you to be a significant contributor to furthering the science of forensics upon graduation.

Accreditation

Accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission.

  • The Forensic Science and Law Master Degree Program is fully accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission. Our program is one of an elite group of forensic science programs to be accredited at the master's level. First obtained in 2009, our accreditation has been renewed twice.
  • FEPAC is sponsored by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), which awards the designation after a strict evaluation every five years. FEPAC-accredited programs have been rigorously reviewed and found to meet the standards for high quality forensic science education.
  • By choosing our accredited program, you will have the added assurance that your education will assist you in establishing a career in forensic sciences.

Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne

Student Outcomes

Students graduating from the Forensic Science and Law (MSFSL) Program with their Master of Science degree have enjoyed success not only in the forensic science community, but also in the associated areas of law, medicine, and research. In 2020, 81% of our graduates were employed between 12-18 months in a forensic science and/or science-related position and 13% continued their education in law, medicine, or research, totaling a 94% success-rate. 

Careers

Duquesne's Center for Career Development plays a key role in providing essential support to the Forensic Science and Law program by preparing graduates to enter the job market, and by connecting students to internships and employers. Each semester the Center holds Career Fairs that allow students an opportunity to meet with prospective employers.

Internship Placement

As an extension of our curriculum, we connect students to Internships that provide professional experience and potential connections for future jobs. Internships provide meaningful experience related to your area of concentration. Participation will give insight into the forensic field, and help you identify areas of interest. Internships are not required of students in the Forensic Science and Law program, but are strongly encouraged due to the valuable real-world experience and connections they provide.

Placement

  • Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office
  • Allegheny County Mobile Crime Unit
  • Allegheny County Forensic Laboratory Division
  • Cybergenetics; RJ Lee Group
  • Erie County Department of Health Medical Examiner's Office
  • SciTech Initiative at the Carnegie Science Center
  • Allegheny County Public Defenders Office
  • Brook's Army Medical Hospital in San Antonio, TX
  • University Of Pittsburgh Medical Centers Clinical Genomics Facility
  • National Audubon Society
  • Bexar County Criminal Investigations Laboratory in San Antonio, TX
  • The Law Firm of Bartel, Rudolf, and Associates.
  • FBI honors internship

 

Student Organizations

Join a MFSL student organization- Phi Sigma Lambda and Delta Delta Epsilon. Participate in community service while building a network of peers in the forensic community. 

Phi Sigma Lambda

Phi Sigma Lambda is a professional fraternity dedicated to scholarship and civic duty. The organization attracts analytical, forward-thinking minds in a setting that fosters intellectual growth and professional development. Associate yourself with students who have a collective interest in forensic science and start building your network of peers. 

Delta Delta Epsilon

Delta Delta Epsilon is an international honor society dedicated to academic achievement. The chapter promotes community service, and advancing the fields of forensic science through community engagement.

Summer Workshop

The summer workshop for high school students focuses on timely issues in forensics while providing hands-on experience to aspiring forensic science students. Participation in the event offers networking opportunities and exposure to the field. 

Suggested Course Sequence

Suggested course sequence for the Forensic Science and Law program.

  • CHEM 151 Atomic and Molecular Principles (4 credits)
  • CHEM 151L Intro Chemistry Lab I (1 credit)
  • MATH 115 Calculus I (4 credits)
  • BIOL 111/L Biology I/Lab (4 credits)
  • BRDG 101 Writing and Analysis (3 credits)
  • BRDG 100 Research & Information Skills (1 credit)
  • IFSL 100 Forensic Science and Law Undergraduate Seminar (1 credit)
  • CHEM 152 Quantitative Analysis (4 credits)
  • CHEM 152L Quantitative Analysis Lab II 1
  • MATH 116 Calculus II (4 credits)
  • BIOL 112/L Biology II/Lab (4 credits)
  • BRDG 102 Writing and Literature (3 credits)
  • FORE 101 Forensic Science & Criminal Law
  • CHEM 212/L Organic Chemistry II/Lab (4 credits)
  • PHYS 202/L Physics for Life Sciences II/Lab (4 credits)
  • MATH 225 Intro to Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • EQ xxx Essential Questions Seminar (3 credits)
  • FORE 201 Philosophical Ethics of Law & Science (2 credits)
  • IFSL 200 Forensic Science and Law Undergraduate Seminar II (1 credit)
  • CHEM 212/L Organic Chemistry II/Lab (4 credits)
  • PHYS 202/L Physics for Life Sciences II/Lab (4 credits)
  • MATH 225 Intro to Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • EQ xxx Essential Questions Seminar (3 credits)
  • FORE 201 Philosophical Ethics of Law & Science (2 credits)
  • IFSL 200 Forensic Science and Law Undergraduate Seminar Il (1 credit)
  • CHEM 340 Instrumental Analysis (3 credits)
  • CHEM 401 Biochemistry I (3 credits)
  • CHEM 301 Physical Chemistry for Life Sciences (4 credits)
  • MATH 335 Biostatistics II (3 credits)
  • FORE 410 Forensic Investigation I (2 credits)
  • FORE 301W Wrongful Convictions (2 credits)
  • FORE 300 Professional Development I (0/1 credit)
  • CHEM 371W/R
  • Forensic Chemistry Laboratory & Recitation (3 credits)
  • CHEM 402 Biochemistry II (3 credits)
  • CHEM 305/305R Advanced Skills Lab (1 credit)
  • BIOL 479 Forensic Molecular Biology (3 credits)
  • FORE 411 Forensic Investigation II (2 credits)
  • BRDG 105 Intro to Ethical Reasoning (3 credits)
  • FORE 320 Professional Development Il (0/1 credit)
  • CHEM 514W/R Advanced Forensic Chemistry Laboratory & Recitation (3 credits)
  • BIOL 530W DNA Methods/Population Genetics (4 credits)
  • FORE 401 American Legal History (1 credit)
  • FORE 402 Torts (1 credit)
  • BIOL 568 Human Genetics (3 credits)
  • BRDG Cultural Fluency & Responsiveness (3 credits)
  • SPRG 108 Service Learning in Science (0/1 credit)
  • FORE 400w Professional Development III (1 credit)
  • FORE 480 Independent Research Forensics (1 credit)
  • CHEM 691* Seminar (0 credits)
  • FORE 421 Environmental Law (1 credit)
  • FORE 510 Ethics in Forensic Science & Professional Responsibilities (1 credit)
  • FORE 522 Quality Assurance & Lab Administration Management (2 credit)
  • BRDG Social & Historical Reasoning (3 credits)
  • GEN General Elective or THEO/PHIL (3 credits)
  • FORE 420W Professional Development IV (1 credit)
  • FORE 480 Independent Research Forensics (1 credit)
  • BIOL 490 Seminar (1 credit)
  •  BIOL Elective (300+, BS trk)** (3 credits)
  • FORE 501 Trace Evidence & Environmental (3 credits)
  • FORE 521 Forensic DNA Analysis/Interpretation/Statistics (3 credits)
  • FORE 540 Constitutional Criminal Procedure (1 credit)
  • FORE 541 Latent Print Analysis (1 credit)
  • FORE 550 Journal Club/Research (1 credit)
  • FORE 610 Trace Evidence Application Lab (1 creedit)
  • FORE 620 Serology/DNA Application Lab (1 credit)
  • FORE 650 Adv DNA Tpcs/Non-Human DNA (1 credit)
  • IFSL 565 Forensic Pathology (1 credit)
  • FORE 500 Internship (optional) (0 credits)

FORE 511 Forensic Drug Analysis (2 credits)

FORE 513 Firearms & Toolmarks (2 credits)

FORE 525 Forensic Toxicology (2 credits)

FORE 535 Evidence/Case Management (1 credit)

FORE 545 Explosives & Arson Investigations (2 credits)

FORE 555 Expert Qualification (1 cedit)

FORE 630 Chemistry/Toxicology/Arson Application Lab (1 credit)

FORE 640 Research Defense (1 credit)

IFSL 600 Graduate Professional Seminar (1 credit)

Student Outcomes & Achievement

Year of Graduation

Percentage of Students employed between 12-18 months in a forensic science and/or science-related position

Percentage of students continuing their education in law, medicine, or research

Total %

2021 93% 7% 100%
2020 81% 13% 94%
2019 89% 6% 95%
2018 69% 31% 100%
2017 95% 5% 100%
2016 90% 0% 90%
2015 88% 12% 100%
2014 90% 10% 100%
2013 70% 30% 100%
2012 57% 14% 71%
2011 86% 14% 100%
2010 84% 16% 100%
2009 77% 15% 92%
2008 76% 21% 97%
2007 55% 21% 76%
2006 78% 22% 100%
Year of Graduation Number of students entering the 3rd year Number of students graduating the 5th year Percentage of students earning the Master of Science Degree
2022 32 25 78%
2021 17 15 88%
2020 21 16 76%
2019 20 18 90%
2018 19 16 84%
2017 25 21 84%
2016 15 10 67%
2015 23 17 74%
2014 12 10 83%
2013 11 10 91%
2012 17 14 83%
2011 14 14 100%
2010 22 19 86%
2009 30 26 84%
2008 35 29 81%
2007 44 42 95%
2006 12 9 75%

Questions? Contact Us!

Pamela Marshall, Ph.D.

Director and Associate Professor, Forensic Science and Law

Pamela Marshall headshot