Note: as of catalog publication in April, the program described below has been approved by the Board of Visitors and sent to the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia for consideration as a new degree program.  The university cannot accept applications or enroll students in this program until SCHEV approval has been granted.

Forensic science encompasses many fields (physical, biological, and social sciences) and deals with the intersection of science, technology, and the law. In common academic parlance “forensic science” most typically refers to the application of any recognized, quantifiable science to the evaluation of a material substance that exists physically or virtually that may be critical to a legal proceeding (for example, assessing the identity of an individual who is accused of a crime via molecular biological testing (e.g., DNA)). This program is designed to provide an advanced understanding of the applicable forensic sciences, human behavior, and best practices with respect to the criminal justice/legal system in tandem with professional and managerial skills.

The Forensic Science, PSM will prepare students and professionals for the next stage in their careers by providing them with advanced knowledge in forensic science and managerial skillsets so they can take advantage of exciting and increasingly more demanding administrative opportunities. The ultimate aim of the program is the successful placement of graduates in relevant positions, helping students achieve their professional goals.

Note: as of catalog publication in April, the program described below has been approved by the Board of Visitors and sent to the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia for consideration as a new degree program.  The university cannot accept applications or enroll students in this program until SCHEV approval has been granted.

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 on why you are interested in Mason's Forensic Science, PSM program, to include your career goals and professional aspirations
  • 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 program emphasis are listed below.

Emphasis-specific Requirements

Crime Scene Investigation

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

Biometric Identity Analysis Emphasis, Forensic Biology Analysis Emphasis, and Forensic Chemistry Analysis Emphasis

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

Policies

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

Premium Tuition

Students enrolled in this program are charged at a differential (premium) tuition rate. Therefore, any courses that they may enroll in are subject to the differential tuition rate, including any professional skills courses.

Emphasis Declaration

Students must declare their intended emphasis upon application. In the event that a student wishes to change their emphasis, students may request the change 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 LaboratoryFRSC 560 Advanced Forensic DNA Sciences, and FRSC 561 Forensic DNA Laboratory.

Course Notes

FRSC 560  and FRSC 561

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 and FRSC 541

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 prior to taking FRSC 540 Advanced Forensic Chemistry and FRSC 541 Forensic Chemistry Laboratory

Banner Code: SC-MSP-FRSC

Note: as of catalog publication in April, the program described below has been approved by the Board of Visitors and sent to the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia for consideration as a new degree program.  The university cannot accept applications or enroll students in this program until SCHEV approval has been granted.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 36

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

Students must complete the program's core and internship course. Additionally, students must select one area of emphasis and one professional skills option. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss course options with an advisor. All students must reach a minimum of 36 credits for degree conferral.

Core Courses

FRSC 510Basic Crime Analysis3
FRSC 511Advanced Crime Scene Analysis3
FRSC 515Selected Topics in Forensic Science (When the topic is "Quality Assurance/Accreditation/Ethics in a Forensic Laboratory")3
FRSC 530Law and Forensic Science3
FRSC 570Trace and Physical Evidence Concepts3
Required only for students without a bachelor's in forensic science:0-3
Introduction to Forensic Science 1
Total Credits15-18

Emphasis Options

Choose one area of emphasis from the following:

Crime Scene Investigation Emphasis

Choose two courses from the following:6
Physical Evidence Laboratory
Forensic Photography
Survey of Forensic Chemistry, Biology, and DNA Analysis
Forensic Drone Photography
Issues in Forensic Anthropology
Medicolegal Death Investigation and Pathology
Total Credits6

Biometric Identity Analysis Emphasis

Choose two courses from the following:6
Face and Biometric Pattern Analysis
Fingerprint Identification
Legal, Privacy and Ethical Issues in Identity Analysis
Total Credits6

Forensic Biology Analysis Emphasis

Choose two courses from the following:6-7
Survey of Forensic Chemistry, Biology, and DNA Analysis
Selected Topics in Forensic Science (When the topic is DNA)
Advanced Forensic DNA Sciences
and Forensic DNA Laboratory
DNA Analysis of Biological Evidence
Total Credits6-7

Forensic Chemistry Analysis Emphasis

Choose two courses from the following:6-7
Physical Evidence Laboratory
Survey of Forensic Chemistry, Biology, and DNA Analysis
Toxicology
Advanced Forensic Chemistry
and Forensic Chemistry Laboratory
Trace and Physical Evidence Concepts
Total Credits6-7

Professional Skills Options

Choose one professional skills option from the following1, paying close attention to any course prerequisites:

Option One: Business Fundamentals Graduate Certificate

Complete the requirements for the Business Fundamentals Graduate Certificate and receive both the graduate certificate and the PSM upon completion of both programs' requirements.12
Total Credits12

 Option Two: Professional Preparation

COS 600Multidisciplinary Problem Solving and Leadership3
or GBUS 551 Leadership
GBUS 653Organizational Behavior3
MBA 712Project Management 23
or GCH 691 Project Management in Public Health
Choose one course from the following:3
Professional Preparation for STEM Disciplines
Multidisciplinary Problem Solving and Leadership (if not chosen above)
Analysis of Financial Decisions
Leadership (if not chosen above)
Financial Reporting and Decision Making
Marketing Management
Managerial Finance
Data Mining for Business Analytics
Advanced Data Mining for Business Analytics
Fraud Examination
Project Management in Public Health (if not chosen above)
Project Management (if not chosen above)
Or other courses in consultation with the faculty advisor.
Total Credits12

Internship

The internship component is intended to provide students with the opportunity to put into practice all of the skills and knowledge accumulated throughout their studies in this program. Students must arrange an internship with a private company, a governmental agency, a non-governmental organization, or some other entity with an interest in forensic science and management. Students must identify a specific person within that outside entity who will be the contact and manager of the internship.

Internship credit is never given for work previously done, or for work that would have been done in any case due to an existing employment relationship.

The internship work must produce one or more products such as a comprehensive report, a departmental presentation, a research project, or an article. Internship placement and product type must be approved by the student's faculty advisor.

Further details and procedures for completing the internship can be found with the faculty advisor.

FRSC 790Internship in Forensic Science3
Total Credits3