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Program Overview

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The forensic science program at The Pennsylvania State University is designed to provide high quality instruction to undergraduate students, through our forensic science undergraduate major, graduate students through our graduate program , and continuing education to practicing professionals in related fields through our professional development opportunities. This program is sponsored by the Eberly College of Science, through the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department since it provides the academic home for the program, houses the state-of-the-art criminalistics laboratories and facilities affiliated with the program, and offers several of the courses for both the undergraduate and graduate program, as well as, professional development workshops.

Vision and Mission Statement

Forensic Science Undergraduate Major

Forensic science is the application of scientific principles and methods to assist criminal and civil investigations and litigations. The Forensic Science undergraduate major is an interdisciplinary collaboration among academic units relevant to forensic science, and it brings together faculty members who are experts in their respective fields from the College of Agricultural Science, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Health and Human Development, and the Eberly College of Science, which also provides the academic home for this undergraduate program. The major provides students with a strong foundation in the biological and physical sciences and introduces them to relevant topics in forensic chemistry, forensic anthropology, forensic biology, and appropriate social sciences. Students are educated on the role of forensic scientists in the criminal justice system and how scientific evidence can be used in that system.

Interested in Penn State's College of Science? More information for prospective students.

Forensic Science Graduate Program

The Master's program in Forensic Science at Penn State University is an exciting and innovative curriculum that offers students advanced, hands-on training in crime scene investigation techniques and crime laboratory methodologies. State-of-the-art crime scene training facilities and crime laboratories are used to train students in the practices of modern forensics. Specialized training is provided in forensic biology, forensic chemistry, and criminalistics. In addition, students can take a variety of forensic courses in other disciplines such as anthropology, criminal justice, entomology, geology, and meteorology in order to shape the curriculum around their particular interests. Students are also educated on the role of forensic scientists in the criminal justice system through direct exposure to courtroom proceedings and interaction with forensic experts, criminal lawyers, defense attorneys and police investigators. The formal degree received upon completion of the program is a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Forensic Science.

The MPS in Forensic Science offered at Penn State is one of the Professional Science Master's (PSM) degree program supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Since 1997, the Sloan foundation has been supporting the development of professional Master's programs in the natural sciences and mathematics. Graduates of PSM programs directly apply their knowledge by joining public agencies and private industry in their respective disciplines. Graduates of the MPS in Forensic Science program at Penn State will be attractive candidates for jobs in the law enforcement, forensic science, and criminalistics communities.

Professional Development Opportunities

In collaboration with other university departments relevant to forensic science, faculty in the Eberly College of Science design and administer professional development workshops and short courses for diverse audiences: crime scene investigators, professional forensic scientists, first responders, police officers, detectives, and attorneys. We partner with guest speakers from related disciplines, government agencies, crime laboratories, and the criminal justice community to implement highly relevant and unique educational programs. In our workshops, we discuss the application of new technologies to crime scene investigation, the interpretation of scientific analyses in an investigation, and the presentation of scientific evidence in a court of law. We also strive to create a forum for discussion among scientists, law enforcement and practitioners, as well as to tailor our instruction to the educational needs of the professionals we serve.

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Forensics on Trial
Forensics on trial
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