The Forensic Science Program offers a master’s degree in Forensic Science with four concentrations to best suit the student’s future career goals- Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Biology Analysis, Forensic Chemistry Analysis, and Forensic/Biometric Identity Analysis. This graduate degree will prepare students for a rewarding career in federal, state and local laboratories, investigative or intelligence agencies, private companies, or allow professionals currently working in the field an opportunity to improve their education and optimize career advancement.

Located in Northern Virginia within the Washington DC Metro area, our students are afforded the opportunity to study in close proximity to a plethora of federal, state and local crime laboratories, investigative and intelligence agencies. These facilities provide unique access to forensic science experts and offer students competitive internships and job opportunities.

Available concentrations include:

  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Biology Analysis
  • Forensic Chemistry Analysis
  • Forensic/Biometric Identity Analysis

Admissions

Application Requirements

University-wide admissions policies can be found in Graduate Admissions Policies.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.

In addition to fulfilling Mason's admission requirements for graduate study, applicants must provide:

  • Three letters of recommendation from academic references or references in the industry or government who are familiar with the applicant's academic and/or professional accomplishments.
  • Resume
  • Detailed goal statement to include why you are interested in coming into Mason's Forensic Science Master's program, career goals, and professional aspirations, and proposed area of interest for your final research project.
  • Two copies of official transcripts from each institution of higher education attended.
  • A Virginia Domicile Classification Form.

TOEFL scores are required of all international applicants who do not hold at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution within the US (some exceptions apply). The TOEFL score has to at least be a total of 88, with a minimum of 20 in each section.

The GRE is not required for admission into this program. Additional requirements for each specific concentration are listed below.

Concentration-Specific Requirements

Forensic Biology Analysis and Forensic Chemistry Analysis Concentrations

A bachelor's degree in a forensic or natural science.

Forensic/Biometric Identity Analysis Concentration

A bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree in a forensic or natural science, computer science, computer electronic or electrical engineering, information systems or information technology (or its equivalent coursework in a relevant field).

Crime Scene Investigation Concentration

A bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree in a related field.

Policies

For policies governing all graduate programs, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

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).

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. 

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

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.

FRSC 540 Advanced Forensic Chemistry and FRSC 541 Forensic Chemistry 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. 

Banner Code: SC-MS-FRSC

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 36

Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.

Select one concentration from the following:

Concentration in Crime Scene Investigation (CSIN)

This concentration educates students for a career as a crime scene investigator.

Core Courses
FRSC 500Introduction to Forensic Science3
FRSC 510Basic Crime Analysis3
FRSC 511Advanced Crime Scene Analysis3
FRSC 530Law and Forensic Science3
FRSC 570Trace and Physical Evidence Concepts 3
FRSC 600Forensics Seminar1
FRSC 610Forensic Research Project4
Electives
Select 16 credits from the following courses:16
Physical Evidence Laboratory
Forensic Photography
Survey of Forensic Chemistry, Biology, and DNA Analysis
Selected Topics in Forensic Science
Forensic Drone Photography
Questioned Document Examination
Toxicology
Issues in Forensic Anthropology
Facial Reconstruction
Medicolegal Death Investigation and Pathology
Forensics Seminar
Face and Biometric Pattern Analysis
Fingerprint Identification
Legal, Privacy and Ethical Issues in Identity Analysis
Identity Analysis Applications
Capstone - Moot Court Expert Testimony
Internship in Forensic Science (Credits: 1-6)
Total Credits36

Concentration in Forensic Biology Analysis (FRSB)

This concentration educates students for a career as a forensic biology laboratory analyst.

The successful passing of a Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences background check is required prior to gaining access to FRSC 560 Advanced Forensic DNA Sciences and FRSC 561 Forensic DNA Laboratory. In order to obtain a career as a DNA Analyst, the student should have undergraduate coursework in Statistics, Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry.

Core Courses
FRSC 500Introduction to Forensic Science3
FRSC 510Basic Crime Analysis3
FRSC 512Physical Evidence Laboratory3
or FRSC 630 Fingerprint Identification
FRSC 514Survey of Forensic Chemistry, Biology, and DNA Analysis3
FRSC 530Law and Forensic Science3
FRSC 560
FRSC 561
Advanced Forensic DNA Sciences
and Forensic DNA Laboratory
4
FRSC 570Trace and Physical Evidence Concepts 3
FRSC 600Forensics Seminar1
FRSC 610Forensic Research Project4
Electives
Select 9 credits from the following courses:9
Advanced Crime Scene Analysis
Physical Evidence Laboratory
Forensic Photography
Selected Topics in Forensic Science
Forensic Drone Photography
Questioned Document Examination
Toxicology
Issues in Forensic Anthropology
Facial Reconstruction
Medicolegal Death Investigation and Pathology
Forensics Seminar
Face and Biometric Pattern Analysis
Fingerprint Identification
Legal, Privacy and Ethical Issues in Identity Analysis
Identity Analysis Applications
Capstone - Moot Court Expert Testimony
Internship in Forensic Science (Credits: 1-6)
Total Credits36

Concentration in Forensic Chemistry Analysis (FRCA)

This concentration educates students for a career as a forensic chemistry laboratory analyst.

The successful passing of a Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences background check is required prior to gaining access to FRSC 540 Advanced Forensic Chemistry and FRSC 541 Forensic Chemistry Laboratory.

Core Courses
FRSC 500Introduction to Forensic Science3
FRSC 510Basic Crime Analysis3
FRSC 512Physical Evidence Laboratory3
or FRSC 630 Fingerprint Identification
FRSC 514Survey of Forensic Chemistry, Biology, and DNA Analysis3
FRSC 520Toxicology3
FRSC 530Law and Forensic Science3
FRSC 540
FRSC 541
Advanced Forensic Chemistry
and Forensic Chemistry Laboratory
4
FRSC 570Trace and Physical Evidence Concepts 3
FRSC 600Forensics Seminar1
FRSC 610Forensic Research Project4
Electives
Select 6 credits from the following courses:6
Advanced Crime Scene Analysis
Physical Evidence Laboratory
Forensic Photography
Selected Topics in Forensic Science
Forensic Drone Photography
Questioned Document Examination
Issues in Forensic Anthropology
Facial Reconstruction
Medicolegal Death Investigation and Pathology
Forensics Seminar
Face and Biometric Pattern Analysis
Fingerprint Identification
Legal, Privacy and Ethical Issues in Identity Analysis
Identity Analysis Applications
Capstone - Moot Court Expert Testimony
Internship in Forensic Science (Credits: 1-6)
Total Credits36

Concentration in Forensic/Biometric Identity Analysis (FRBI)

This concentration educates students for a career as an identity intelligence analyst.

Core Courses
FRSC 500Introduction to Forensic Science3
FRSC 510Basic Crime Analysis3
FRSC 514Survey of Forensic Chemistry, Biology, and DNA Analysis3
FRSC 530Law and Forensic Science3
FRSC 600Forensics Seminar1
FRSC 610Forensic Research Project4
FRSC 620Face and Biometric Pattern Analysis3
FRSC 630Fingerprint Identification3
FRSC 640Legal, Privacy and Ethical Issues in Identity Analysis3
FRSC 650Identity Analysis Applications1
AIT 678National Security Challenges3
Electives
Select 6 credits from the following courses:6
Advanced Crime Scene Analysis
Physical Evidence Laboratory
Forensic Photography
Selected Topics in Forensic Science
Forensic Drone Photography
Questioned Document Examination
Toxicology
Issues in Forensic Anthropology
Trace and Physical Evidence Concepts
Facial Reconstruction
Medicolegal Death Investigation and Pathology
Capstone - Moot Court Expert Testimony
Internship in Forensic Science (Credits: 1-6)
Total Credits36

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.