The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science is a general forensic science degree that covers various fields within forensic science including field and laboratory applications. These topics include areas such as, crime scene investigation, forensic DNA, forensic chemistry, trace evidence, firearms examination, questioned document, fingerprints, arson, and drug analysis.
This degree is intended to provide students with a well-rounded, hands-on forensic science education in order to prepare students for entrance into a graduate-level educational program, and/or entry-level professional careers in public and private forensic laboratories, federal, state, or local government/law enforcement, defense, homeland security and intelligence agencies.
Unique features of this program include innovative curriculum that offers hands-on training with crime scene techniques and crime laboratory methodologies, an outdoor forensic excavation research and training facility, and courses taught by professional and distinguished faculty from various forensic agencies and laboratories.
University-wide admissions policies can be found in the Undergraduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.
To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.
For policies governing all undergraduate programs, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.
Total credits: minimum 120
Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.
Students majoring in forensic science must complete their coursework with a minimum GPA of 2.30. No more than three courses with a grade of 'D' (1.00) may be applied to the major.
Students are advised to be aware of prerequisites that may be required for each course in the curriculum.
Forensic Science Core Courses
|FRSC 200||Survey of Forensic Science||3|
|FRSC 201||Introduction to Criminalistics||3|
|FRSC 302||Forensic Trace Analysis 1||3|
|FRSC 303||Forensic Evidence and Ethics||3|
|FRSC 304||Forensic Chemistry 1||3|
|FRSC 401||Crime Scene Investigations||3|
|FRSC 405||Independent Research Methods||3|
|or FRSC 406||Forensic Internship|
|FRSC 460||Forensic DNA Analysis||3|
|FRSC 461||Forensic DNA Analysis Laboratory||1|
|FRSC 499||Comprehensive Examination||0|
|CRIM 100||Introduction to Criminal Justice (Mason Core)||3|
Natural Science Core Courses
|BIOL 213||Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)||4|
|BIOL 214||Biostatistics for Biology Majors||3-4|
|or STAT 250||Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)|
|BIOL 311||General Genetics||4|
|BIOL 430||Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology I||4|
& CHEM 213
|General Chemistry I (Mason Core)|
and General Chemistry Laboratory I (Mason Core)
& CHEM 214
|General Chemistry II (Mason Core)|
and General Chemistry Laboratory II (Mason Core)
|CHEM 313||Organic Chemistry I||3|
|CHEM 314||Organic Chemistry II||3|
|CHEM 315||Organic Chemistry Lab I||2|
|CHEM 318||Organic Chemistry Lab II||2|
|MATH 113||Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)||4-6|
|or MATH 123|
& MATH 124
| Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part A|
and Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part B (Mason Core)
|PHYS 243||College Physics I (Mason Core)||3|
|PHYS 244||College Physics I Lab (Mason Core)||1|
|PHYS 245||College Physics II (Mason Core)||3|
|PHYS 246||College Physics II Lab (Mason Core)||1|
|Select 13 credits from the following:||13|
|Selected Topics in Forensic Science|
|Bioinformatics and Computational Biology I|
|Bioinformatics and Computational Biology II|
|Biology of Microorganisms|
|Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory|
|Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology II|
|Introduction to Molecular Genetics|
|Cell Signaling and Disease|
|Quantitative Chemical Analysis|
|Physical Chemistry I|
|Physical Chemistry II|
|Physical Chemistry Lab I|
|Physical Chemistry Lab II|
|Instrumental Methods of Chemical Analysis|
|Instrumental Methods of Chemical Analysis Laboratory|
|Aquatic Environmental Chemistry|
|Properties and Bonding of Inorganic Compounds|
|General Biochemistry I|
|General Biochemistry II|
Mason Core and Electives
In order to meet a minimum of 120 credits, this degree requires an additional 31-34 credits, which may be applied toward any remaining Mason Core requirements, Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, and elective courses. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors to ensure that they fulfill all requirements.
Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.
|Written Communication (ENGH 101)||3|
|Information Technology and Computing||3|
|Social and Behavioral Sciences||3|
|Western Civilization/World History||3|
|Written Communications (ENGH 302)||3|
Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.
Minimum 3 credits required.
Forensic Science, BS/Forensic Science, Accelerated MS
Highly qualified Mason undergraduate forensic science majors may apply to the accelerated master's degree with a concentration in either crime scene investigation, forensic biology analysis, forensic chemistry analysis, or forensic/biometric identity analysis. Students who have completed between 75 and 100 credits toward the bachelor’s degree are invited to apply. Students are eligible to enter this program and enroll in graduate courses after successfully completing 90 undergraduate credits, inclusive of prerequisites, toward the Forensic Science, BS degree. This flexibility makes it possible for students to complete graduate coursework during their final year. If accepted, students will be able to earn the Forensic Science, BS and the Forensic Science, MS after satisfactory completion of 150 credits.
Students must declare their intended concentration upon application. In the event that a student wishes to change their concentration, students may request to change their concentration by submitting a letter to the Forensic Science Program Director detailing the request and providing justification. These requests and possible substitutions/waivers will be considered on a case-by-case basis and only when the appropriate admissions requirements are met.
Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Graduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.
Application requirements for this accelerated master's program include one letter of recommendation from a Forensic Science Program faculty member or advisor. Additionally, a detailed goal statement is required to include why you are interested in the MS in forensic science degree, career goals and professional aspirations, and proposed area of interest of your final Research Project. The GRE and resume are not required for admission into this program.
Successful applicants will have completed each of the following courses or equivalent with a GPA of 3.00 or higher:
FRSC 200 Survey of Forensic Science
FRSC 201 Introduction to Criminalistics
FRSC 302 Forensic Trace Analysis
FRSC 303 Forensic Evidence and Ethics
BIOL 213 Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)
CHEM 211 General Chemistry I (Mason Core) and CHEM 213 General Chemistry Laboratory I (Mason Core)
CHEM 212 General Chemistry II (Mason Core) and CHEM 214 General Chemistry Laboratory II (Mason Core)
While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students complete six credits of graduate courses as indicated on their Accelerated Master's Program Application with a minimum grade of 3.00 in each course. Students must meet with an advisor to approve eligible graduate coursework. Once admitted to the accelerated master's program, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all coursework. On completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in the semester indicated in the application, they submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form and are admitted to graduate status.
As graduate students, accelerated master's students have an advanced standing. They must meet all master's degree requirements except for the two courses (6 credits) they completed as undergraduates. Students must begin their master's program the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree.
Forensic Biology Analysis Concentration Applicants:
In order to obtain a career as a DNA Analyst, the student should have undergraduate coursework in Statistics, Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry.
Reserve Graduate Credit
Students may take up to 6 additional graduate credits as reserve graduate credit. These credits do not apply to the undergraduate degree. To apply these credits to the master's degree, students should use the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form.
The ability to take courses, including ones not listed above, for reserve graduate credit is available to all high achieving undergraduates with the permission of the department. Permission is normally granted only to qualified Mason seniors within 15 hours of graduation. See the Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates section of this catalog for more information.
Students enrolled in this professional MS program are charged at a differential (premium) tuition rate. Therefore, any courses or secondary programs that they may enroll in are subject to the differential tuition rate. The Forensics Graduate Certificate has the same premium tuition rate, making it the ideal program for concurrent enrollment (if desired).
Criminal Background Check
The successful passing of a Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences background check is required prior to gaining access to FRSC 540 Advanced Forensic Chemistry, FRSC 541 Forensic Chemistry Laboratory, FRSC 560 Advanced Forensic DNA Sciences, and FRSC 561 Forensic DNA Laboratory.
Students shall have completed undergraduate coursework in molecular and/or cell biology, as well as genetics, or students must obtain permission of the instructor prior to taking FRSC 560 Advanced Forensic DNA Sciences and FRSC 561 Forensic DNA Laboratory.
Students shall have completed undergraduate coursework in general chemistry including polarity and acid/base chemistry. Students shall also have completed Organic Chemistry and be able to identify functional groups and other chemistry structures that make up a molecule. Exposure to instrumental techniques such as gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and infrared spectroscopy is recommended or permission of instructor.