Forensic Science MS

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College : Sciences Degree :MS
Department : Chemistry Option : Thesis, Nonthesis
Program Websites : http://chemistry.cos.ucf.edu/

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

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.

CURRICULUM

The Forensic Science MS degree is comprised of 32 or 34 credit hours of study beyond the BS degree with 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 forensic science, chemistry, biochemistry, physics and biology are encouraged to apply.

Total Credit Hours Required:
32-34 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Required Courses—9 Credit Hours

Students in all three concentrations take the following required courses and complete either the thesis option or the nonthesis option.

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

Thesis Option—23 Credit Hours

Forensic Analysis Concentration—15 Credit Hours

Students in the Forensic Analysis concentration take 15 credit hours from the following courses and complete a thesis. 

  • STA 5206 Statistical Analysis (3 credit hours) or equivalent course
  • CHM 5235 Applied Molecular Spectroscopy (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 6492 Atomic Spectroscopy (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6546 Forensic Analysis of Ignitable Liquids (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6545 Forensic Analysis of Explosives (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 5937 Chemometric Applications in Forensic Science (3 credit hours)

Forensic Biochemistry Concentration—15 Credit Hours

Students in the Forensic Biochemistry concentration take the following courses and complete a thesis. 

  • STA 5206 Statistical Analysis (3 credit hours) or equivalent course
  • CHS 6535L Forensic Analysis of biological Materials (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6535 Forensic Molecular biology (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6536 Population Genetics and Genetic Data Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • BCH 6740 Advanced Biochemistry (3 credit hours)

Thesis—8 Credit Hours

The Forensic Analysis and Forensic Biochemistry concentrations require the student to conduct original research and successfully defend a written thesis.

  • CHS 6971 Thesis (8 credit hours)

Nonthesis Option—25 Credit Hours

Forensic Professional Concentration—24 Credit Hours

Students in the Forensic Professional concentration are required to take 24 credit hours selected from the list below with approval of their faculty adviser and complete the Capstone course. 

  • STA 5206 Statistical Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 5235 Applied Molecular Spectroscopy (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 6492 Atomic Spectroscopy (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6546 Forensic Analysis of Ignitable Liquids (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6545 Forensic Analysis of Explosives (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6535L Forensic Analysis of Biological Materials (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6535 Forensic Molecular Biology (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6536 Population Genetics and Genetic Data Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • BCH 6740 Advanced Biochemistry (3 credit hours)
  • CGS 5131 Computer Forensics I (3 credit hours)
  • CNT 6418 Computer Forensics II (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 5518 Forensic Examination of Digital Evidence (3 credit hours)
  • CIS 6207 Practice of Digital Forensics (3 credit hours)
  • CAP 6133 Advanced Topics in Computer Security and Computer Forensics (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 5937 Chemometric Applications in Forensic Science (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 6710 Applied Analytical Chemistry (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 6440 Kinetics and Catalysis (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6251 Applied Organic Synthesis (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6240 Chemical Thermodynamics (3 credit hours)
  • BCH 6740 Advanced Biochemistry (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 6134 Advanced Instrumental Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 6938 Special Topics (3 credit hours)

    Capstone—1 Credit Hour

    The capstone experience in the Forensic Professional concentration requires one credit hour of Independent Study, which culminates in the submission of a required report on a pre-approved topic. This study will comprise either (1) a review of the current literature on a particular forensic science research topic area, or (2) a holistic case study dealing with a particular criminal case in which forensic evidence played a significant role.

    • CHS 6908 Independent Study (1 credit hour)

    Equipment Fee

    Full-time students in the Forensic Science MS program pay a $90 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $45 per semester.

    Independent Learning

    Students in the Forensic Analysis and Forensic Biochemistry concentrations are required to conduct original research and defend a written thesis. Students in the Forensic Professional concentration complete a capstone experience that requires independent research and a report.

    Application Requirements

    For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

    In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

    • 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, and Chemical Engineering.
    • Three letters of recommendation. 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 their 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.

    The Forensic Science Graduate Committee will evaluate the background of potential students applying for admission into the program.

    Meeting minimum UCF admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. Final admission is based on evaluation of the applicant's abilities, past performance, recommendations, match of this program and faculty expertise to the applicant's career/academic goals, and the applicant's potential for completing the degree.

    Application Deadlines

    Forensic Science MS *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
    Domestic Applicants Jan 15Mar 15

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    International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15

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    International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1

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    *Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.

    FINANCIALS

    Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.

    Fellowships

    Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship. 


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