Jun 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Forensic Science 4+2 Program

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  • Lauretta Bushar, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biology
  • Tatjana Milenkovic, Associate Director, Chemistry and Physics

About the Program

  • Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Forensic Science in six years
  • Rigorous scientific foundation for a career in forensic science
  • One of the first FEPAC-accredited program in Forensic Science
  • Guaranteed internship with nation’s premier forensic scientists
  • Arcadia University-sponsored student participation in professional meetings
  • State-of-the-art laboratory facilities
  • Personal attention from faculty advisers
  • Active research programs in various forensic science disciplines
  • Top scores on national Forensic Science Assessment Test
  • Opportunity to attend autopsies and visit Forensic Science laboratories
  • Opportunity to participate in U.K. field trip
  • Opportunity to become recognized by the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) by taking the Forensic Science Assessment Test (FSAT) prior to graduation
  • Curriculum aligned with guidelines from the DNA Advisory Board (DAB), Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG) and the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT)

This program provides four years of study leading to a bachelor’s degree plus two years of graduate study leading to the Master of Science in Forensic Science degree from Arcadia University. Students following the 4+2 program must pursue an undergraduate major in either Biology or Chemistry. Following the compulsory program of courses will ensure that students meet all required prerequisite and recommended coursework for Arcadia’s master’s program in Forensic Science. In the fourth year, students have the option of taking FS515 (Research Methods) with the approval of the Director of the Forensic Science program and the Chair of their undergraduate major department. Assured admission into Arcadia’s master’s program in forensic science is available for select qualified students from the 4+2 program each year.  Students have the opportunity to undertake their faculty sponsored research with faculty in the MSFS program.

Forensic science is an applied field and the greatest indicators for a successful career are a thorough grounding in the natural sciences and a high level of comfort with basic principles in biology, chemistry and physical sciences. The 4+2 program offered by Arcadia University provides that foundation and prepares students for success in the Master’s program through carefully selected undergraduate courses. The 4+2 program helps ensure students graduate with the basic knowledge that is so important to employers as well as the unique insight into forensic science practice that gives our graduates the edge in selecting their profession. Students who complete the program graduate with career options in the forensic sciences in a variety of settings, in other laboratory based science careers, in education or as researchers.

Arcadia’s FEPAC-Accredited Master’s Program in Forensic Science

Forensic science is the application of science to the purposes of law. It is highly interdisciplinary by nature and has become a vital part of the judicial and regulatory system worldwide. Practicing forensic scientists, law enforcement personnel, and criminal justice professionals all recognize the growing need for highly qualified specialists who can execute established and appropriate techniques in the collection, preservation, analysis, and presentation of forensic evidence.

The Arcadia University Master of Science in Forensic Science (M.S.F.S.) program is nationally accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). Arcadia University is one of only a select few institutions to hold this accreditation, which recognizes the high-quality graduate forensic science education offered through this program.

The M.S.F.S. degree is offered by Arcadia University in partnership with the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education and in collaboration with NMS Labs, one of the nation’s premier ASCLD-LAB and ISO 17025 accredited forensic science laboratories. This alliance provides a source of adjunct instructors, a forensic library, invaluable links to the forensic science community and guaranteed internships with some of the nation’s premier forensic scientists. State-of-the-art laboratory equipment and facilities are provided in nearby Willow Grove, Pa.

Arcadia’s curriculum is unique in that it covers a variety of specialties, unlike other graduate programs that require a commitment to a single field of study, making for more well-rounded forensic practitioners. The curriculum involves classroom and laboratory exposure to the fields of forensic biology, forensic chemistry, forensic toxicology and trace analysis. Coursework emphasizing the development of problem-solving abilities is designed to encourage a concentration in these forensic science specialty areas and expose students to both relevant laboratory techniques and relevant medico-legal developments.

The Forensic Science program offers a variety of core and elective courses. In their first year of study, students are given the opportunity to take advanced courses in the fields of biology and chemistry. This provides students with a strong scientific foundation, which is essential in the field of forensic science. The remainder of the first-year courses concern both general and specific topics in forensic science. The second year of study allows for further specialization in chemical, biological, and toxicological coursework. Students also complete internship experiences and research projects in the second year.

Minimum Admission Requirements

Students who begin their undergraduate education at Arcadia University must complete the following prerequisites:

  • Biological Sciences: four lab/lecture courses, which include General Biology I and II, General Genetics, and Molecular Biology. (Anatomy and Physiology are highly recommended.)
  • Chemistry: five lab/lecture courses, which include General, Organic Chemistry, and at least one semester of Analytical/Instrumental Chemistry. (Quantitative Chemical Analysis is highly recommended.)
  • Biochemistry is required.
  • Mathematics: one course in Statistics
  • Related coursework: A course in Ethics is highly recommended. A Criminal Justice course is also recommended (CJ 226 : Crime Scene Investigation and Reconstruction is recommended).
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in Biology or Chemistry from Arcadia University.
  • Achieve a minimum 3.2 GPA overall and a 3.2 in prerequisite courses taken at Arcadia University and elsewhere. A grade of “C” or better must be earned in each prerequisite course. (A “C-” is unacceptable for prerequisite credit.) All courses in the various designated areas are included when calculating the prerequisite GPA.
  • Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and achieve a minimum total score of 300 on the combined verbal and quantitative portions with a minimum of 145 on the verbal portion and a minimum of 150 on the quantitative portion, and score a 3.5 or higher on the analytic portion. The test may be taken in the junior year (preferably) and/or in the fall of senior year.
  • Work or volunteer related experience: Knowledge of the profession through internships or research experience is preferred but not required.
  • Test scores are not required of applicants with a cumulative science GPA of 3.4 or greater.  Test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), taken within the last five years are required for all other applicants.
  • A recommendation from the undergraduate Biology or Chemistry adviser and one other recommendation
  • The third recommendation is not required from Arcadia students
  • Students desiring assured admission must submit their completed application electronically by November 1 of the academic year of graduation from Arcadia University.
  • Note: The number of allotted assured admissions from the supplying Department will be determined by the Admissions Committee of the Arcadia University Forensic Science program on an annual basis. If the supplying Department exceeds the allotted number of assured admissions, the supplying Department will prioritize the list of applicants.
  • Selected students must undergo an interview with the faculty of the Forensic Science program at Arcadia University for final approval.

Students who transfer to Arcadia University must meet the aforementioned criteria as well as the following:

  • Complete a minimum of 15 earned credits per semester—and no fewer than 60 credits over the last four semesters of work at Arcadia University, excluding summers.
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in Biology or Chemistry from Arcadia University.
  • Successfully complete four of the prerequisite science courses at Arcadia University.

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