Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

Graduate Program in Forensic Sciences:  Approved Courses

Registration and Upcoming Courses: Spring 2016 Courses

Course Information

A schedule of regular offerings is charted below. The semester list of course offerings may include additional classes.

Course # Course Title Term Offered
FRNS 5000^ Research and Thesis Each semester
FRNS 5013* Survey of Forensic Sciences Fall
FRNS 5023* Forensic Examination of Questioned Documents Every other fall
FRNS 5033* Forensic Handwriting Examination As needed
FRNS 5043* Technical Aspects of Forensic Document Examination As needed
FRNS 5053* Historical Aspects of Forensic Document Examination As needed
FRNS 5063* Ethical Research and Scientific Writing Fall
FRNS 5073* Quality Assurance in Forensic Sciences Fall
FRNS 5083* Ethics in Forensic Leadership Every other spring
FRNS 5090 Internship in Forensic Sciences Each semester
FRNS 5213* Molecular Biology for the Forensic Scientist Fall
FRNS 5242 Population Genetics Spring
FRNS 5282 Methods in Forensic Sciences Fall
FRNS 5323* Forensic Microbiology As needed
FRNS 5413* Forensic Pathology and Medicine Spring
FRNS 5513* Forensic Bioscience Spring
FRNS 5523* Forensic Toxicology Fall
FRNS 5533* Drug Toxicity As needed
FRNS 5543* Advanced Forensic Toxicology Spring
FRNS 5613* Criminalistics and Evidence Analysis Spring
FRNS 5622 Advanced Criminalistics Spring
FRNS 5653* The Law and Expert Evidence Spring
FRNS 5713* Forensic Psychology Fall
FRNS 5723 Advanced Forensic Psychology As Needed
FRNS 5733 Forensic Victimology Fall
FRNS 5743 Seminar in Forensic Psychology As needed
FRNS 5913* Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation As needed
FRNS 5943* Forensic Management and Organizational Development Every other spring
FRNS 5960 Forensic Problem Solving through Applied Research Summer
FRNS 5980 Non-Thesis Creative Component in Forensic Sciences Each semester
FRNS 5990 Special Topics in Forensic Sciences As needed
# The last digit of the course number indicates the number of credit hours.  
* The asterisk indicates an online course; no campus attendance required.
^ Courses ending in zero vary in credit hours.  The FRNS 5000 Research course may be taken in 1- to 3-hour increments.

Course Descriptions

FRNS 5000 Supervised Forensic Research Project and Thesis  Prerequisite(s):  Consent of major advisor, 5063 Ethical Research and Scientific Writing (or equivalent course), and statistics course approved by advisor.  Research in forensic sciences for M.S. degree.  [Independent study, laboratory course]

FRNS 5013 Survey of Forensic Sciences  Provides overview of various forensic sciences and their relation to presentation of evidence and problems of law.  Covers major areas and reviews current guidelines for quality assurance/control, and certification/accreditation.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5023 Forensic Examination of Questioned Documents   Instructs students in functions of questioned document examiners, beyond document analysis to related services and issues.  Covers history of field, process for obtaining exemplars, types of document examination, collection/preservation of evidence, and courtroom procedures.  (This course does not train the student as a document examiner and in no way certifies or qualifies the student to conduct questioned document analysis at the conclusion of the course.)  [Internet course]

FRNS 5033 Forensic Handwriting Examination:  Theory and Practice  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5023 Forensic Examination of Questioned Documents and approval of lead instructor in forensic document examination.  Theoretical and practical aspects of handwriting as forensic evidence.  Covers production of normal and false handwriting, variables in handwriting production, standards of comparison, identification theories, examination methodologies, expression of conclusions, characterization and validation of examiner skills, legal admissibility of handwriting expertise, and challenges to professional practice.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5043 Technical Aspects of Forensic Document Examination   Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5023 Forensic Examination of Questioned Documents and approval of lead instructor in forensic document examination.   Basic theory in visual examination of questioned documents.  Includes visual and color theory, measuring tools, instruments, simple microscopy, and photographic techniques.  Also provides technical description, theory, operation, and practical use of various instrumentation used in the field such as the Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA) and Video Spectral Comparator (VSC).  [Internet course]

FRNS 5053 Historical Aspects of Forensic Document Examination  This course presents historical aspects of forensic document examination. It covers the development of handwriting, the acceptance of document examination expertise in Britain and North America, the early luminaries, and famous cases.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5063 Ethical Research and Scientific Writing   Prerequisite(s):  Permission from research advisor.  Develops knowledge and skills for ethical scientific research, writing, and presentation.  Covers responsible conduct, organization and design of research around a scientific question, and writing problems specific to science and the individual.  Advisor guidance on some assignments required.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5073 Quality Assurance in Forensic Science   Prerequisite(s):  Admission to the program.  Preparation for the forensic scientist to develop and implement quality assurance and quality control procedures to ensure the excellence of a laboratory.  Covers preparation of laboratory procedures and policies, use of appropriate standards and controls, and validation methods for establishing an effective quality assurance program in the laboratory. [Internet course]

FRNS 5083 Ethics in Forensic Leadership  Focuses on leadership development for managers of forensic organizations, including examination of leadership and ethics theories, application of theories to problems in forensic settings, and tasks and relational skills for developing effective teams and groups within an ethical framework. [Internet course]

FRNS 5090 Internship in Forensic Sciences Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5073 Quality Assurance, initial course in chosen specialty, permission of Advisor and Program Director, and letter of agreement or contract with designated facility or laboratory.  Provides practical training and experience within a work or laboratory setting under the guidance of a designated supervisor.  This experience should complement graduate studies in the forensic sciences and support related career goals. 

FRNS 5213 Molecular Biology for the Forensic Scientist  Prerequisite(s):  College-level biology.  Develops a solid foundation of knowledge in molecular biology for understanding the concepts of genetic marker analysis, especially DNA typing.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5242 Population Genetics Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5513 Forensic Bioscience.  Population genetics relevant to DNA analysis technologies to identify perpetrators of crime.  Includes foundation of statistical knowledge in forensic DNA analysis and family relatedness testing, history, and application of statistical and population genetic theory to assigning weight to matches in DNA profiles for the court.  Students will perform appropriate calculations in sample cases and interpret in layman’s terms. 

FRNS 5282 Methods in Forensic Sciences  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of the instructor.  Advanced-level laboratory course in which students apply knowledge from earlier coursework in a hands-on setting and employ fundamental techniques and methods related to forensic biology, forensic microbiology, forensic pathology, and forensic toxicology.  [Laboratory course]

FRNS 5323 Forensic Microbiology  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of instructor; basic microbiology recommended.  Basic microbiologic techniques applied to actual forensic situations.  Includes rules of evidence applied to investigations with suspected use of microorganisms as bioterrorism agents.  Stresses recognition of biological agents, site sampling, and laboratory identification.  [Internet course] 

FRNS 5413 Forensic Pathology and Medicine  Prerequisite(s):  Consent of instructor.  Deals with medico-legal investigation of death and injury due to natural causes, accidents, and violence.  Covers analysis/investigation of transportation injuries, homicides/suicides due to various causes, rape, or injury;  methods for identification; and guidelines for quality control/asssurance. [Internet course]

FRNS 5513 Forensic Bioscience  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5213 Molecular Biology or consent of instructor,  college-level biology and chemistry.  Teaches concepts of identity testing, relating history, theory, application, and quality assurance concepts to the material presented.  Covers effects of identity testing in the laboratory.  Presents basic concepts in genetics and use in tracing origin of biological samples. [Internet course]

FRNS 5523 Forensic Toxicology  Introduces fundamental aspects of forensic toxicology and emphasizes major subfields of postmortem forensic toxicology, human performance toxicology, and  forensic drug testing.  Also examines methodologies and analytes associated with these three major subfields. [Internet course]

FRNS 5533 Drug Toxicity  Introduces fundamental aspects of abused drugs from a toxicological perspective and examines major disciplines of toxicology.  Also covers basic principles of toxicology applied to different classes of commonly abused drugs. [Internet course]

FRNS 5543 Advanced Forensic Toxicology  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5523 Forensic Toxicology.  Familiarizes the student with advanced aspects of forensic toxicology in view of  current forensic toxicological trends.   Covers risk assessment principles, factors in pharmacokinetics, weapons of mass destruction, and integrating concepts with current applications. [Internet course]

FRNS 5613 Criminalistics and Evidence Analysis  Introduces crime investigation techniques and tools; analysis, operation, and function of laboratory; application of scientific concepts; instrumentation and microscopy; use of physical evidence; and guidelines for quality control/assurance and accreditation in the gathering of evidence.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5622 Advanced Criminalistics  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5073 Quality Assurance in Forensic Sciences, FRNS 5616 Criminalistics and Evidence Analysis, FRNS 5653 Scientific Evidence, FRNS 5000 Research and Thesis, and basic coursework in the speciality area.  Examines practical aspects of criminalistics, duties of crime scene investigator,  and techniques/procedures of crime scene processing.  Also covers law-enforcement/crime-lab relationships, evidence recovery, and investigation types.  One meeting is moot court session.[Laboratory course with collaboration, assigned times]

FRNS 5653 The Law and Expert Evidence  Reviews of ways in which the law, particularly the law of evidence, affects the work of the forensic scientist.  Starts with the beginning of the case, most often the crime scene, and works through the legal process up through trial and including appeals and motions for a new trial.  Covers, at each stage, legal doctrines of interest to the forensic scientist, such as chain of custody, work product privileges, laying the proper foundation, exhibits, and the standards necessary to obtain a new trial.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5713 Forensic Psychology  Prerequisite(s):  Consent of instructor.  Introduction to the relationship between the disciplines of law and psychology by examining and contrasting the issues at the interface of both disciplines.  Covers legal terminology; criminal behavior; ethical, competency, defense, and testimony issues; insanity defense; polygraph testing; and the role and functioning of legal and mental health systems.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5723 Advanced Forensic Psychology  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5713 Forensic Psychology.  Expands on topics covered in FRNS 5713 Forensic Psychology; also covers function of the mental health professional in criminal cases, nature and impact of mental illness on individual life and freedom, reasons behind crimes, gender differences in the criminal justice system, laws pertinent for mental health professionals.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5733 Forensic Victimology  Prerequisite:  Permission from the instructor.   Introduction to victimology, emphasizing victims’ issues within the justice system and in medico-legal investigations.  Explores impact of crime on victim; correlations between types of victims; crime and offender categories, risk factors; victim-offender and victim-society relationships; the role of victimologist as a researcher and consultant; influences of media, law enforcement, advocacy groups, businesses, and social movements. 

FRNS 5743 Seminar in Forensic Psychology  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of instructor.  Capstone seminar course for all subspecialty tracks in forensic psychology.  Builds upon prior coursework to prepare student for comprehensive final examination in area of specialization and provide a theoretical background suitable for research leading to publication, presentation, or a thesis or dissertation. 

FRNS 5913 Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation   Introduces concepts and tools used in the fields of forensic accounting and financial fraud investigations. Focuses on aspects of fraud investigation, including overview and types of fraud, indicators, and international investigations.  Covers methods for litigation/investigation and compliance issues for expert reports.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5943 Forensic Management and Organizational Development  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5073 Quality Assurance in Forensic Science.  Application of managerial and organizational leadership skills to the demands of forensic sciences, including attention to the human resource/relations and development issues.  Attention also given to interagency cooperation, quality control/assurance, certification/accreditation issues, and internal security.  [Internet Course]

FRNS 5970 Directed Readings in Forensic Sciences  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of instructor and faculty advisor.  Provides guided reading under direction and supervision of the instructor; in-depth, independent study on an identified topic relative to the forensic sciences.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5980 Non-Thesis Creative Component in Forensic Sciences  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of instructor and faculty advisor; FRNS 5063 Ethical Research and Scientific Writing (concurrent enrollment allowed)  Provides final-semester capstone experience for the non-thesis graduate student through independent research or project management. Culminates with presentation of results in writing and in a public forum, which may be via electronic delivery or in person. 
FRNS 5990 Special Topics in Forensic Sciences  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of instructor and faculty advisor.  Provides for exploration on special topics in the forensic sciences.  Students gain an understanding at an advanced level of the particular topic presented. 

Required Courses from Other Programs 

BIOM 5013 Medical Biostatistics  Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing.  Fundamentals of biostatistics including parametric and non-parametric statistical methods with applications to biomedical research, clinical epidemiology and clinical medicine.  [On-campus course]

HCA 5023 Human Resources in Health Care and Public Administration  Review, discuss, and analyze current issues, rules, practices, and governance of human resources in health care and public administration.  [Internet course available through OSU-Tulsa]

REMS 5953 Statistical Methods in Education  Statistical methods needed by conductors and consumers of research in education and the behavioral sciences.  Introduction to interpretation and application of descriptive and inferential statistics.  [Internet course through the main campus in Stillwater; also available on campus at OSU-Tulsa or in Stillwater]  NOTE:  This course may count as the required statistics course only with advisor’s permission and is typically recommended for CHS students in the forensic psychology track.

STAT 5013 Statistics for Experimenters I Prerequisite(s):  Graduate standing and MATH 1513 (college algebra).  Introductory statistics course for graduate students.  Descriptive statistics, basic probability, probability distributions, fundamentals of statistical inference, hypothesis testing, regression, one-way classification, analysis of variance, comparative experiments, correlations and linear regression, introduction to categorical data analysis. [Internet course through OSU Arts & Sciences Extension; also available on campus at OSU-Tulsa and on the main campus in Stillwater.]

Possible Electives from Other Programs

BIOM 6543 Neurochemical Toxicology  Prerequisite(s): BIOM 5215 Medical Biochemistry and BIOM 5616 Medical Microbiology and Immunology [or equivalent courses, if approved by instructor]. The fundamental aspects of neurochemistry and neurotoxicology using both cellular and molecular approaches in neurotoxicology will be emphasized using the effects of exogenous toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, solvents and drugs of abuse and their role in the pathogenesis of neurological toxicity.  [Offered on campus at OSU Center for Health Sciences]

GRAD 5992 Succeeding in the Professoriate  Prerequisite(s):  Graduate standing and permission of Director of College Teaching Certificate program.  Preparation for doctoral students who wish to pursue careers in academia.  Focuses on university-level teaching and scholarship.  Prepares a foundation course for doctoral students in the University Faculty Preparation Certificate program.  [Available at the OSU main campus in Stillwater]

PLP 5343 Principles of Plant Pathology Lab 2  Prerequisite(s):  BOT 1404 or BOT 3463 or MICR 2125 or PLNT 2013.  Introduction to basic principles and concepts of plant pathology, including the nature, cause and control of biotic and environmentally induced plant diseases.  Offered in combination with PLP 3343.  No credit for both 3343 and 5343.  Graduate students will be expected to complete extra assignments. [Available at the OSU main campus in Stillwater]

FEMP courses from OSU’s Fire and Emergency Management program may also qualify as electives.  Options include one-week summer and intercession classes available on campus, usually for three credit hours.  See the OSU Fire and Emergency Management program website for course listings and registration information.  Advance approval from the advisor is required.

NOTE:  Other courses authorized or pending approval by OSU or the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education since this posting may be available.  Contact the School of Forensic Sciences for more information.

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