Masters in Forensic Science graduate programs prepare students to collect, identify, classify and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Using their natural and learned abilities, combined with evolving technologies, forensic scientists perform tests on weapons or substances such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. They may serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting or biochemistry.
Whereas the Bachelors in Forensic Science is not always the time to specialize in one aspect of forensic science, many students do so in graduate school in order to fine tune their career path or keep up to date on the latest trends and technology.
A comprehensive graduate degree program for a master’s of forensic science will typically include the following types of courses:
|Forensic toxicology||Laboratory science||Statistics||Criminalistics|
Students in a forensics master’s program may also learn to collect and evaluate evidence while participating in an internship. While an undergraduate degree in forensic science, any physical science such as biology or chemistry, or criminal justice is helpful, it may not be a requirement for your program. A forensic science master’s degree is a rigorous program and you should be sure that you have a sufficient base of science courses before applying for a forensics graduate program. Otherwise, you may need to add some prerequisites onto your program, lengthening the time you may need to spend to get your master’s degree.
The American Academy of Forensic Sciences accredits both undergraduate and graduate programs in Forensics through their Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). This means that the program has been evaluated by FEPAC and found to meet all the requirements set forth by the commission.
As a forensic scientist, you might be able to pursue potential career opportunities in
a variety of environments, earning a graduate degree might create new opportunities to pursue career options leading research teams, consulting, or teaching at the post-secondary level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of forensic science technicians was $52,840 in 2012. Salary data on the earnings of forensic scientists employed above the technician level is not available.