Forensic Science

Degree Offered M.S.F.S.
Director Elizabeth Gardner, Ph.D.
Phone (205) 934-2069
E-mail eagard@uab.edu
Website http://www.uab.edu/cas/justice-sciences/graduate-programs/master-of-science-in-forensic-science-msfs

To obtain specific admissions requirements on how to apply to Graduate School, prospective students should visit this page: http://www.uab.edu/cas/criminaljustice/graduate/msfs

Program Information

The Master of Science in Forensic Science program is designed to prepare individuals for careers in various forensic science and conventional analytical laboratories, emphasizing the application of scientific methods and technologies to legal proceedings. With thoughtful planning, many students have found the program helpful in building a strong foundation to pursue doctoral studies.

The program support includes many UAB faculty members from other departments, personnel from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences' Birmingham laboratory, the Jefferson County Medical Examiner's Office, and local forensic science-related private institutions.  In addition, the program maintains a close working relationship with the DNA profiling laboratories of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences and hosts the editorial offices of the Forensic Science Review (the only review journal in forensic science). Faculty research and practice focus especially on forensic aspects of drug chemistry and DNA-based identification.

Minimum admission requirements include a B.S. degree from accredited programs in Chemistry, Biology, or Forensic Science. Coursework is designed for qualified students to begin in fall and complete the program in 21 months. Admission is granted for the fall term only.

According to the National Institute of Justice, students wishing to pursue a career in forensic science should be aware that positions in these fields usually require extensive background checks similar to those required for law enforcement personnel, and are likely a condition of employment.  (National Institute of Justice, 2004. Education and Training in Forensic Science: A Guide for Forensic Science Laboratories, Educational Institutions, and Students. NCJ Report 203099.  Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, pp. 7-10).

Graduates from the UAB Master of Science in Forensic Science program are very successful in gaining employment within a year of graduating.  During the period 2012-2015, 31 students completed the program. Of these, 28 are working in a laboratory or continuing their education (e.g., pursuing a doctorate, professional degree, or second master's degree).  Eighteen of the graduates are employed in forensic science laboratories, ranging from those operated by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences to the Greensboro N.C. Police Department.

Additional Information

Dealine for Entry Term(s) Fall
Deadline for All Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office January 31. Later applications will be considered before April 30th if vacancies are available
Number of Evaluation Forms Required Three
Entrance Tests GRE (TOEFL and TWE also required for international applicants whose native language is not English.)

For detailed information, contact Dr. Elizabeth Gardner, UAB Department of Justice Sciences, 1201 University Blvd.,  Suite 210,  Birmingham, Alabama 35294-4562.
Telephone: 205-934-2069
E-mail:  eagard@uab.edu
Physical Address (for directions): 1201 University Blvd.  Suite 210, Birmingham, AL 35294.

Master of Science in Forensic Science

A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required.

Plan I - 42 hours with Thesis

RequirementsHours
GRD 708Writing Successfully1
FS 567Forensic Toxicology3
FS 670Elements of Forensic Science3
FS 671Conventional Criminalistics3
FS 673Forensic Drug Analysis3
FS 674Molecular Biology in Forensic Science3
CJ 675Law Evidence and Procedure3
Forensic Seminar (taken twice)6
Seminar in Forensic Science
FS 699Thesis Research in Forensic Science6
Leveling Courses (requirements vary by undergraduate background)
Instrumental Analysis for Graduate Study
and Instrumental Analysis Laboratory for Graduate Study
Advanced Biochemistry I
Quantitative Analysis for Graduate Study
and Quantitative Analysis I for Graduate Study Lab
Molecular Genetics
Electives
Advanced Conventional Criminalistics
Advanced Biological Methods in Forensic Science
Advanced Drug Chem. & Toxicology
Intermediate Statistical Analysis I
Biostatistics
Graduate Internship in Forensic Science
Total Hours42

Plan II - 39 hours

RequirementsHours
GRD 708Writing Successfully1
FS 567Forensic Toxicology3
FS 670Elements of Forensic Science3
FS 671Conventional Criminalistics3
FS 674Molecular Biology in Forensic Science3
FS 673Forensic Drug Analysis3
CJ 675Law Evidence and Procedure3
CJ 698Directed Research (Non-Thesis)6
Forensic Seminar (taken twice)6
FS 679Seminar in Forensic Science3
Leveling Courses (requirements vary by undergraduate background)
Instrumental Analysis for Graduate Study
and Instrumental Analysis Laboratory for Graduate Study
Advanced Biochemistry I
Quantitative Analysis for Graduate Study
and Quantitative Analysis I for Graduate Study Lab
Molecular Genetics
Electives
Advanced Conventional Criminalistics
Advanced Biological Methods in Forensic Science
Advanced Drug Chem. & Toxicology
Intermediate Statistical Analysis I
Biostatistics
Graduate Internship in Forensic Science
Total Hours39

Courses

FS 565. Cold Case Analysis. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the methods used in analyzing unsolved cases, including innovative uses of technology, 3rd party investigators, and teams.

FS 567. Forensic Toxicology. 3 Hours.

Discussion of drugs and poisons found in biological evidence, including the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of drugs and poisons, evidence collection and handling, selection of the most appropriate evidence, and analytical methods of detection.

FS 572. Molecular Genetics for Forensic Scientists. 3 Hours.

Gene structure, function, and regulation. Chromosome structure and inheritance. An overview of the human genome.

FS 650. Advanced Questioned-Death Investigation. 3 Hours.

Examination of forensic pathology as used in local medical examiners’ offices.

FS 653. Advanced Investigation of Fires and Explosions. 3 Hours.

Introduction to arson investigation including overview of specific techniques used in case investigation.

FS 670. Elements of Forensic Science. 3 Hours.

Introduction to philosophical considerations and historic landmarks in the discipline; overview of major sub-disciplines in forensic science; examination of the ethics and expert witnesses and their role in forensic science.

FS 671. Conventional Criminalistics. 3 Hours.

Exploration of basic methodologies and approaches for identifying, collecting, and analyzing trace and pattern evidence, including an overview of microscopy.

FS 672. Advanced Conventional Criminalistics. 3 Hours.

Examination of advanced methods for the analysis of trace and pattern evidence.
Prerequisites: FS 671 [Min Grade: C]

FS 673. Forensic Drug Analysis. 3 Hours.

Exploration of the isolation, identification, and quantification of commonly abused drugs and common poisons; interpretation of findings and correlation with legal applications.

FS 674. Molecular Biology in Forensic Science. 3 Hours.

DNA replication, transcription, and translation. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques used to amplify human DNA for identification of biological evidence. Methods for identifying and collecting blood and semen stains. DNA extraction. Short tandem repeat typing using capillary electrophoresis.
Prerequisites: FS 572 [Min Grade: C]

FS 676. Advanced Biological Methods in Forensic Science. 3 Hours.

Discussion of current issues and trends in forensic DNA analysis, including advanced analysis of biological evidence samples.
Prerequisites: FS 674 [Min Grade: C]

FS 677. Advanced Drug Chem. & Toxicology. 3 Hours.

Discussion of relevant analyses conducted for drugs and poisons occurring in biological evidence; examination of the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of detected substances.
Prerequisites: FS 567 [Min Grade: C]

FS 679. Seminar in Forensic Science. 3 Hours.

Review of forensic science in the literature. Review, discussion, and presentation of forensic science student research.

FS 680. Graduate Internship in Forensic Science. 1-3 Hour.

Field experience in a forensic science laboratory.
Prerequisites: FS 698 [Min Grade: C] or FS 699 [Min Grade: C]

FS 686. Special Topics in Forensic Science. 3 Hours.

In-depth review of 3-4 topics in forensic science presented by practitioners in the field.

FS 698. Directed Research in Forensic Science (Non-Thesis). 1-6 Hour.

Independent study in a student's substantive area of interest under the direction of a faculty member.
Prerequisites: FS 679 [Min Grade: C]

FS 699. Thesis Research in Forensic Science. 6 Hours.

Independent study in a student's substantive area of interest under the direction of a faculty member. Admission to candidacy and successful defense of thesis proposal.
Prerequisites: GAC M

FS 703. Laboratory Rotation III: Drug Analysis. 3 Hours.

Lab Rotation III Drug Analysis.

FS 704. Laboratory Rotation II: Biological Methods. 3 Hours.

Lab Rotation II Biol Methods.

Faculty

Byrd, Jim, Instructor of Accounting, Program Director, MAc, 2013, B.S. (Auburn), M.B.A. (Georgia State), M.A., Ph.D. (UAB), CPA, CHFP
Earwood, Martha, Teaching Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice & Internship Coordinator, 2003, B.S., M.S. (Georgia State), Corrections, Victimology, Restorative Justice, Experiential Learning.
Hasan, Ragib, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, 2011, B.S. (Bangladesh), M.S., Ph.D. (Illinois Urbana-Champaign)
Johnston, Allen, Associate Professor of Information Systems, Director of Information Systems Programs, 2007, B.S. (LSU), M.B.A., PhD. (Mississippi)
Leece, Ryan, Assistant Professor of Accounting, 2014, BS (University of Minnesota); MA (University of North Carolina), PhD (Virginia Tech)
Saxena, Nitesh, Associate Professor of Computer Science; MS CFSM Program Co-Director, 2011, B.S. (Kharagpur), M.S., Ph.D. (University of California-Irvine)
Walker, Jeffery, Professor and Chair, 2015, B.S. (Arkansas), M.A. (Arkansas - Little Rock), Ph.D. (Sam Houston), Social Structures of Neighborhoods, Crime Analysis/Mapping, Crime and Place
Warner, Gary, Instructor and Director of the Computer Forensics Research Lab, 2007, B.S. (UAB), Digital Forensics, Cybercrime and Security
Zheng, Yuliang, Professor and Chair of Computer Science, 2015, Ph.D. (Yokohama - Japan)