- Karen Scott, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director, Forensic Science Program
- Lauretta Bushar, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology
- Emanuele Curotto, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics
About the Program
- Highly selective program for academically talented students
- Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Forensic Science in five years
- Rigorous scientific foundation for a career in forensic science
- One of the first FEPAC-accredited programs 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
- Opportunity to attend autopsies and visit Forensic Science laboratories
- 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 an accelerated pathway through the Undergraduate Curriculum into Arcadia’s master’s degree program in Forensic Science.
During the first three years of study, a student takes prerequisite coursework and Undergraduate Curriculum requirements. In the fourth year of study, the student completes the Senior Seminar and Capstone requirements for the undergraduate degree and begins graduate coursework, which is completed in the fifth year.
In addition to courses in chemistry and biology, graduate courses concern both general and specific topics in forensic science. The fifth year of the accelerated program includes certain common courses as well as specialization in chemical, biological, and toxicological coursework. Students also complete an internship and independent research project. The University sponsors student participation in professional meetings in the final year of the program.
This pathway allows a student to fulfill all of the Undergraduate Curriculum and major requirements (including completing 128 undergraduate credits) and the requirements of the Master of Science in Forensic Science (38 to 70 credits) in five years. The 3+2 program provides a pathway to ensure that the undergraduate coursework taken by the student meets the expected prerequisites and required background knowledge for the master’s program in Forensic Science at Arcadia University.
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 in America. 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. Arcadia University is one of only a select few institutions in the country to hold this accreditation which recognizes the high quality graduate forensic science curriculum offered through this program.
The Master of Science in Forensic Science (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.
Advising: Each student admitted into the program is assigned a faculty adviser in either the Biology or Chemistry department. The adviser is involved in helping the student to take the prescribed coursework for admission into the master’s program while completing the Undergraduate Curriculum and major requirements necessary for completion of the bachelor’s degree. The Director of the Forensic Science program also assists each student with questions and advises him or her.
Expert graduate seminars: The fourth year features 1-credit seminars in which forensic experts address key issues in their fields.
Summer project/internship: After the fourth year, students engage in a summer research project mentored by a faculty member affiliated with the University or its partners. At this time, students may also participate in a summer internship experience with one of the University’s affiliated laboratories. This is in addition to the guaranteed internship offered in the Spring semester of the fifth year.
Admission to the 3+2 Accelerated Program
Students must apply for admission into the 3+2 program directly from high school. Highly selective admissions criteria are used to select academically talented students capable of handling the accelerated schedule.
Applicants must submit an essay of approximately 500 words that answers the following two questions:
- What interests you in the field of forensic science?
- Why do you want to be a forensic practitioner?
Before writing the essay, students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the field of forensic science by exploring the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Web site (www.aafs.org).
Matriculated students will not be accepted into the 3+2 program. (Note: Matriculated students can follow the 4+2 Forensic Science program, which prepares students for admission into Arcadia’s master’s program and offers assured admission for select qualified students.)
The profile of the typical successful candidate includes the following:
- High school laboratory science courses in biology, chemistry and physics; Advanced Placement courses if available
- A college-prep math course in each year of high school
- Combined SAT scores of at least 1800, with no individual score below 600
- Students need a 3.0 cumulative GPA or better to be considered
At the completion of each semester of undergraduate study, students will be evaluated to ensure that they meet the qualifications to continue on in the accelerated degree program. These criteria include:
- Maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better and a GPA of 3.0 in the major.
- Have received no less than a “B-” in any of the science or math courses in the prerequisite major. If a C or C+ is earned in a required course, it may be repeated one time only with the Forensic Science Director’s permission. No additional Cs will be permitted in required coursework).
At the completion of the third year of undergraduate study, students will be evaluated to ensure that they meet the qualifications to begin graduate coursework. At this point the students must have met the following additional criteria:
- Completed all major and Undergraduate Curriculum requirements (with the exception of the following courses: BI 340, CH 404, BI 490 and CH 490).
- Earned at least 112 semester hours by the end of the third year.
- Met with the Director of Forensic Science to discuss their intention to start the M.S.F.S program in Fall of the 4th year.
Students who meet these requirements are permitted to begin graduate coursework in their fourth year of study and enter into the Master of Science in Forensic Science program without having to take the GRE exam.
Students who do not meet these requirements can continue on with their undergraduate education in their fourth year and then apply to the M.S.F.S. program upon completion of their undergraduate degree following standard application requirements.
4+2 Program: Since the 3+2 program is highly accelerated, students who choose to participate at the traditional pace may transfer to the 4+2 program, completing the undergraduate degree in four years while completing requirements for admission in the master’s program. Assured admission into the master’s program is available for select qualified 4+2 students.
Structure of the B.A./B.S. in Biology and the M.S. in Forensic Science
Students completing the 3+2 B.A./B.S. in Biology and the M.S. in Forensic Science will complete all degree requirements in five years. In years one to four, students complete all Undergraduate Curriculum requirements and major requirements, including senior thesis/capstone project. In year four, students also commence graduate study and after successful completion of this year, will receive a bachelor’s degree. In year five, students will complete the remaining Forensic Science coursework. Students must work closely with an academic advisor to ensure all of the undergraduate requirements are met by the end of year four.
Structure of the B.A./B.S. in Chemistry and the M.S. in Forensic Science
Students completing the 3+2 B.A./B.S. in Chemistry and the M.S. in Forensic Science will complete all degree requirements in five years. In years one to four, students complete all Undergraduate Curriculum requirements and major requirements, including senior thesis/capstone project. In year four, students also commence graduate study and after successful completion of this year, will receive a bachelor’s degree. In year five, students will complete the remaining Forensic Science coursework. Students must work closely with an academic advisor to ensure all undergraduate requirements are met by the end of year four.