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.

Admissions

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.

Policies

Students must fulfill all Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, including the Mason Core.

FRSC 302 Forensic Trace Analysis and FRSC 304 Forensic Chemistry will satisfy the writing intensive requirement.

For policies governing all undergraduate programs, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.

Banner Code: SC-BS-FRSC

Degree Requirements

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 200Survey of Forensic Science3
FRSC 201Introduction to Criminalistics3
FRSC 302Forensic Trace Analysis 13
FRSC 303Forensic Evidence and Ethics3
FRSC 304Forensic Chemistry 13
FRSC 401Crime Scene Investigations3
FRSC 405Independent Research Methods3
or FRSC 406 Forensic Internship
FRSC 460Forensic DNA Analysis3
FRSC 461Forensic DNA Analysis Laboratory 1
FRSC 499Comprehensive Examination0
CRIM 100Introduction to Criminal Justice (Mason Core)3
Total Credits28

Natural Science Core Courses

BIOL 213Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)4
BIOL 214Biostatistics for Biology Majors3-4
or STAT 250 Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)
BIOL 311General Genetics4
BIOL 430Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
CHEM 211
CHEM 213
General Chemistry I (Mason Core)
and General Chemistry Laboratory I (Mason Core)
4
CHEM 212
CHEM 214
General Chemistry II (Mason Core)
and General Chemistry Laboratory II (Mason Core)
4
CHEM 313Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 314Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 315Organic Chemistry Lab I2
CHEM 318Organic Chemistry Lab II2
MATH 113Analytic 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 243College Physics I (Mason Core)3
PHYS 244College Physics I Lab (Mason Core)1
PHYS 245College Physics II (Mason Core)3
PHYS 246College Physics II Lab (Mason Core)1
Total Credits45-48

Additional Courses

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
Medical Microbiology
Microbial Genetics
Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology II
Immunology
Immunology Laboratory
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
Bioinorganic Chemistry
General Biochemistry I
General Biochemistry II
Biochemistry Lab
Total Credits13

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.

Mason Core

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.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (ENGH 101)3
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology and Computing3
Exploration Requirements
Arts3
Global Understanding3
Literature3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Western Civilization/World History3
Integration Requirements
Written Communications (ENGH 302)3
Writing-Intensive 13
Synthesis/Capstone 23
Total Credits40

Forensic Science, BS/Forensic Science, Accelerated MS

Overview

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. 

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Concentration Declaration

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. 

Application Requirements

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.

Premium Tuition

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 ChemistryFRSC 541 Forensic Chemistry Laboratory, FRSC 560 Advanced Forensic DNA Sciences, and FRSC 561 Forensic DNA Laboratory

Course Notes

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.