Master of Science (MS) in Forensic Science Degree

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Offered By: College of Science, Engineering, & Technology

Become a Leader in Forensic Science

The Master of Science in Forensic Science degree from Grand Canyon University is designed for both professionals looking to advance their careers in forensic science and those aiming to begin working in forensic science, crime scene processing, law enforcement, medicolegal and criminal professions.

This fully online forensic science degree program offers an advanced study in forensic science, focused on building a solid foundation of practical skills and theoretical knowledge. The MS in Forensic Science could be the next step you need to move your career toward your goals.

Skills You’ll Learn From a Master’s in Forensic Science Degree Online

Throughout the program, learners will develop the advanced skillset necessary for work in the field of forensic science. GCU’s unique forensic science curriculum works with hands-on, in-home laboratory activities to equip graduates for the analysis of various forms of forensic evidence. Coursework will allow students to become knowledgeable across a vast array of forensic competencies, including:

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Advanced critical thinking
  • Integrity and ethical principles in forensics
  • Effective courtroom testimony
  • Evidence analysis
  • Laboratory quality management
  • Chain of custody and authoring forensic reports
  • Applied forensic statistical analysis
  • Instrumental analysis including microscopy, chromatography and spectroscopy
  • Forensic toxicology
  • DNA and controlled substance analysis

Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree and a background in forensic science or a natural science. Specific course requirements include general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, biology, physiology, physics, genetics and statistics. If you have questions or would like more information on program admission, reach out to a GCU counselor today.

GCU's program also offers graduates an opportunity to study forensic science from the unique Christian worldview. Explore answers to forensic science's ethical and moral questions from a variety of different viewpoints and perspectives, including a biblical one.

Earn Your Master’s in Forensic Science From an Accredited University

Employers are looking to hire qualified candidates who have graduated from high-quality, accredited programs. GCU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1968 and prepares professionals for the workforce with advanced skills and capabilities.

By earning your MS in Forensic Science degree at GCU, you may be prepared for high-level positions such as:

  • Crime scene investigator
  • Autopsy assistant
  • Medicolegal death investigator
  • Forensic scientist
  • Forensic laboratory technician
  • Forensic section supervisor
  • Crime laboratory administrator

Graduates can also pursue further specialization within the forensic science field and pursue important, rewarding careers in:

  • Bloodstain pattern analysis
  • Forensic pathology
  • Medical examination
  • Toxicology for the Department of Health
  • Analytical chemistry

Spend each day creating a real difference in your community by earning your Master of Science in Forensic Science and advancing your career.

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TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 36
Online: 8 weeks [More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
TUITION RATE:
Online: $557 per credit [More Info]

Course List

Major:
36 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
36 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course will cover the Code of Ethics statements published by major forensic science organizations. The role quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) principles play in maintaining high ethical principles is discussed. Issues involving failure to maintain QA/QC and resulting ethical dilemmas will also be addressed. Accreditation and its place within the crime laboratory is included to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of the importance of maintaining quality within the laboratory.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the various procedures used to document, collect, package, and preserve evidence found at crime scenes. The body as it pertains to medicolegal death investigation with an examination of the guidelines for death scene investigations is also discussed. Concepts such as maintaining chain of custody, ethical considerations, and report writing are also covered.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the use of statistics within various forensic disciplines. Analytical sampling, basic statistical analyses, and uncertainty measurements are covered with respect to comparative disciplines. Statistics as applied to the analysis of DNA evidence, including probability of inclusion, likelihood ratio, and random match probability are also covered. The impact of statistics on the valuation of evidence is included.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to microscopy. Concepts such as compound, comparison, and scanning electron microscopy are covered. The course also covers instruments commonly used in the analysis of forensic evidence. Various chromatography, spectroscopy, and detection methods are covered in relation to the forensic evidence for which they are used.

Course Description

In this course serological testing of blood, semen, and saliva is introduced through a discussion of various presumptive and confirmatory chemical tests. DNA profiling of various samples types is covered, with a focus on the processes used to obtain a DNA profile: extraction, quantification, amplification, and electrophoresis. The comparison of DNA profiles, report writing, and DNA mixture interpretation are also discussed. Prerequisite: FOR-515, FOR-525.

Course Description

In this course students will learn various laboratory methods and procedures for the detection of drugs/controlled substances from both physical specimens and bodily fluids (blood and urine). Instrumental and chemical techniques used to separate, detect and quantitate controlled substances are discussed. The creation and detection of designer drugs is also covered. Prerequisite: FOR-515.

Course Description

This course is dedicated to forensic comparative methods used in pattern-based evidence analysis. Forensic disciplines addressed include firearms and toolmark analysis, fingerprint comparisons, and shoe print and tire tread evidence. Prerequisite: FOR-515, FOR-525.

Course Description

This course focuses on the ways in which science is used by the criminal justice system and how to effectively present evidence in court. The impact of landmark court cases, including the Daubert and Frye decisions, are addressed in relation to expert witness testimony and the admissibility of scientific evidence. The role of the forensic scientist in relation to the Federal Rules of Evidence is also addressed. Students also learn how to be an effective expert witness, including how to prepare for testimony, how to properly convey scientific technology in layman’s terms, and how to be perceived as a credible witness. Prerequisite: FOR-530, FOR-540, FOR-560, FOR-575.

Course Description

This course discusses various topics that students are likely to encounter as working forensic scientists. The ways in which the public views forensic science is addressed, with a focus on the CSI Effect and the publication of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Report. Ways in which to address conflicting results from multiple experts is discussed. Prerequisite: FOR-530, FOR-540, FOR-560, FOR-575.

Locations

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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