The Master's degree offers specialization for individuals pursuing careers in crime laboratories, investigative agencies, or teaching and research in the forensic sciences. Available fields of study are:
- forensic biology/DNA
- forensic pathology/death scene investigation*
- forensic psychology*
- forensic toxicology/trace evidence
The applicant should have a college major or equivalent coursework as a foundation for graduate studies in the chosen specialization, known as a track.
The degree requires satisfactory completion of 39 graduate credit hours, a research project, participation in graduate seminars or continuing education and a comprehensive examination. The maximum time to complete the degree is seven years. Throughout the program, the student must maintain a 3.0 or better grade point average. Specialization students dedicate six of the required credit hours to research, for which they publish, present, and defend a Master's thesis in the final semester.
Full-time students taking nine credits per semester may graduate in two to three years. Part-time students enrolling in six credits per semester may complete the program in three-and-one-half to four years. With at least 21 of the required graduate hours available online, full-time students pursuing specialization may relocate to the Tulsa area after the second semester. At least two or three semesters on campus are required for advanced studies and thesis research.
The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences has accredited the OSU Master of Science in Forensic Sciences degree in the areas of forensic biology and forensic toxicology. See AAFS.org Resources for more information.
See admission requirements for complete information on degree requirements by track.
Options in the M.S.F.S. degree are for individuals already engaged in careers related to the forensic sciences. These options allow professionals to complete a Master's degree while remaining active in their careers. Participants typically attend part-time, taking six credits per semester to complete the program in three-and-one-half to four years.
The applicant must have a bachelor's degree and at least one year of professional experience. No particular college major is required, but the professional experience must provide a foundation in support of the option.
The option in Arson and Explosives Investigation offers graduate-level education for law enforcement and military investigators in support of their professional mission. Admission requires a related professional background, appropriate clearance, and prior approval of the lead instructor for this option. This option consists mainly of online classes but has some hybrid courses, which have a combination of online sessions and on-site activities.
The option in Forensic Document Examination (FDE) provides academic studies for individuals pursuing apprenticeship or journeyman programs that prepare document examiners, trainees, and laboratory interns for certification. Because FDE certification involves two years of training under the mentorship of a qualified document examiner, applicants must either have training in or professional experience with FDE. This degree does not result in professional certification. This degree option consists entirely of online courses.
The option in Forensic Science Administration helps professionals improve job performance, build toward management positions, or expand knowledge of the forensic sciences. This degree works only in conjunction with appropriate experience in the acquisition of skills and knowledge necessary for successful management within a forensic agency, laboratory, or organization. This degree option consists entirely of online courses.
Degree requirements for all options include satisfactory completion of 39 graduate credit hours, a research project, and a comprehensive examination. The maximum time to complete the degree is seven years. The student must maintain a 3.0 or better grade point average. Students in these options complete a research project for one to three course credits, depending on the weight of the project. During the final semester, the student will present information on the project in a public forum, which can be facilitated via videoconference or other electronic means, and will field questions from the audience. Afterward, the student will meet privately to discuss the project with the Graduate Advisory Committee.
For the online degree option only (Forensic Document Examination and Forensic Science Administration), waivers for the non-resident portion of tuition may be available for residents of Academic Common Market (ACM) states. Besides Oklahoma, the ACM states are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
See admissions requirements for complete information on degree requirements by option.
Individuals not pursuing the master's degree may apply to enroll in courses not filled by M.S.F.S. students. Course openings are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis according to the date of admission as a Non-Degree Seeking student. Applicants must provide a transcript showing an undergraduate degree conferred.
Admission for “Non-Degree Seeking” applicants is for college graduates in these categories:
- Individual interested in a specific course
- Qualified applicant not admitted to the master's program because of limited space
- Potential applicant wanting to take a trial course before applying
At least one month prior to the start of the semester:
- Apply online at the OSU Graduate College online application.
- Choose Non-Degree Seeking on the screen asking for the Degree Program and Admission Type.
- Have official transcripts sent directly by each college/university attended to:
OSU Graduate College
Stillwater, OK 74078-1019
- Scan transcripts for upload, if available, including one showing the undergraduate degree conferred. This action speeds up the application by allowing provisional admission and enrollment before official transcripts arrive.
- Make any changes before you submit and pay. Information cannot be changed afterward.
- Send notice of your completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Watch for the admission letter by e-mail from the OSU Graduate College.
After confirming your admission, the School of Forensic Sciences will e-mail you a “Welcome” message with complete directions for OKEY (OSU system) access, online enrollment, and the required online orientation.
Automatic holds restrict enrollment by non-program students. You may ask to have the hold removed after setting up OKEY by e-mailing the information below to email@example.com:
- On the subject line, write “OKEY and Hold Removal”
- In the message, give your name, CWID, numbers/names of desired courses and a request to have the advising hold removed.
Confirm that you have enrolled by sending either a screen shot or cut-and-paste copy of your schedule to firstname.lastname@example.org.