About the Forensic Science Master’s Program
Research Assistant Professors: Prada, Thoen
The Master of Science in Forensic Science degree program emphasizes extensive learning in the scientific and laboratory skills necessary for application in a modern forensic laboratory. The program offers concentration focuses in areas of forensic investigation and includes exposure to the breadth of forensic disciplines, including the principles, practices, and contexts of science as they relate to specialized forensic topics.
Graduates from this program are prepared to enhance and strengthen the forensic science disciplines through sound methodologies and practices while simultaneously advocating the highest ethical standards through public service to federal, state, and local law enforcement jurisdictions and agencies.
Students from various undergraduate backgrounds may pursue either of two tracks within the program: the scientist track or the investigative track. The investigative track is designed for students who have a social science background and intend to work in a non-laboratory setting. The scientist track is designed for students who have a chemistry/biology science background and wish to work in a traditional laboratory setting. The program offers both theoretical and practical coursework and is designed to allow students to emphasize areas of special interest such as toxicology, DNA, or crime scene investigation.
Students in the both tracks must take at least 27 hours from the core curriculum, including statistics, research methods, and ethics. The remaining coursework requirements vary by track and also include options from a broad list of approved electives. Scientist track students are required to complete a research-oriented thesis. Investigative track students may complete a research-oriented thesis or an internship and a comprehensive written exam. This comprehensive exam is highly individualized and will focus on the student’s primary area of interest. For the scientist track, a minimum of 36 hours of graduate coursework plus 6 hours of thesis (FSCI 6000 ) are required. For the investigative track, the non-thesis (internship) option is a required minimum of 36 hours of graduate-level work plus 6 hours of internship (FSCI 6031 ) while the thesis option is a minimum of 36 hours of graduate coursework plus 6 hours of thesis (FSCI 6000 ).
Following the first 9 credit hours of graduate study, each student’s curriculum will be formalized through consultation with a graduate faculty member and will reflect the student’s area of emphasis. This degree plan will be approved by the program advisor before being submitted to the Graduate School. When approved, it will serve as a tool for advising and reviewing to assure completion of degree requirements.
Applicants will be considered for admission to the forensic science program after the following materials are received: completed application to the Texas Tech Graduate School, GRE test scores, three letters of recommendation (two of which must be from academic faculty), letter of intent, and curriculum vita/resume. The program accepts students in the fall and spring semesters. Once that process is completed, program admission and competitive scholarship awards are based on the following three general categories of criteria:
- Academic Record. All academic records may be considered—60 hours, total, major, post-baccalaureate, etc.
- Test Scores. Scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) should be no more than five years old. Each score is considered separately, with percentile scores viewed by broad major. No test score will be considered the sole criterion.
- Individual Profile. Profiles may include recommendations, research background, motivation, undergraduate institution, presentation, and interviews. Other information that admission committees may consider is work commitment, demonstrated commitment to a particular field of work or study, and community involvement.
Contact: Dr. Paola Prada; Institute for Forensic Science; firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: Certain criminal, traffic, and civil convictions can disqualify a graduate from obtaining some positions in the law enforcement or criminal justice professions.