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The Biology and Chemistry Emphasis

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A Forensic Foundation

Students looking to to earn a Master's in Forensic Science choose either the biology option or the chemistry option to complete their degree. Both degree options provide a foundation in the principles and practices of criminalistics and forensic science, but allow students to tailor their Penn State experience more specifically towards their research interests and career goals. 

Biology Option

The biology option provides a deeper understanding of and hands-on lab experience in serology, biochemistry, and forensic molecular biology, with particular emphasis on forensic DNA analysis. 

Coursework includes: 

  • Forensic Biology
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Molecular Biology I and II
  • Drug Chemistry and Toxicology
  • Trace Evidence

For a full listing of courses, check out the Recommended Academic Plan for the biology option.

Chemistry Option

The chemistry option provides a deeper understanding of and hands-on lab experience in analytical, physical, and inorganic chemistry. Those selecting the chemistry option can learn more in-depth about the forensic analysis of controlled substances, trace evidence, fire debris, ignitable liquids, and firearms and gunshot residue. 

Coursework includes:

  • Forensic Chemistry I and II
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Chromatography and Electrochemistry
  • Drug Chemistry and Toxicology
  • Trace Evidence

For a full listing of courses, check out the Recommended Academic Plan for the chemistry option.

Research

A research project is required for our degree program. Students will conduct research under the guidance of the programs faculty, and will received $2500 per year for two years to put toward their research. Additional funding is available to help pay for travel and other expenses associated with conference attendance and presentations of research findings.

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Program Office Location:

329 Whitmore Lab, University Park, PA 16802
Phone (814) 867-2465 / Fax (814) 863-8372

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