Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
OSU-CHS News > 2014

Sept. 18, 2014

OSU-CHS offers arson, explosives investigation option in forensic sciences graduate program

arson, explosives investigation
IMPEX instructors demonstrate a chemical reaction during a training exercise.

Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences is now offering an Arson and Explosives Investigation option as part of the Master of Science in Forensic Sciences degree program.

The program is offered through the Center for Improvised Explosives (IMPEX), part of the School of Forensic Sciences at OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. IMPEX helps to alleviate the threats of improvised explosives by combining research, testing, training and education for law enforcement investigators.

 “The world has seen an increase in terrorist attacks using improvised or homemade explosives and our goal is to offer advanced instruction for law enforcement investigators who respond to these increasingly dangerous situations,” said OSU-CHS President Kayse Shrum, D.O. “This new option expands the training and research opportunities we offer through IMPEX and will potentially save many lives.”

The Arson and Explosives Investigation option was created to offer advanced training for law enforcement and military officials working actively in the field of explosives and fire investigation.

“The program fills an important need for fire and explosives investigators on the scene working to keep others from being injured or working to unravel what happened at a crime scene,” said Robert Allen, Ph.D., chair of the OSU-CHS School of Forensic Sciences. “Students work directly with our highly experienced IMPEX directors and forensic sciences faculty on investigation techniques and recognizing potentially hazardous explosive materials.”

Classroom and online courses focus on the chemistry of improvised explosives, pyrotechnics, fire dynamics, blast effects, evidence collection techniques, laboratory techniques and procedures, device and ordnance identification and other field related topics. 

“The training, education, certification and accreditation of personnel and organizations involved in forensic science – from investigators in the field to scientists in the laboratory – is more important than ever before. Forensic investigations are complicated and require extensive knowledge in multiple specialties,” said Jarrad Wagner, Ph.D., IMPEX director of research and testing. “Knowing how the evidence collected in the field is used in the labs helps investigators determine what to collect from the scene and ask the right questions when evidence is submitted for analysis.”

The program, which has already attracted interest from across the country, includes a research component requiring students to complete a forensic sciences analysis worthy of being published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Providing quality training and education to the men and woman who are out there everyday to protect us from harm is critical,” said John Frucci, Ed.S., IMPEX director of training. “Our new Arson and Explosive Investigation graduates will be better prepared for the next terrorist attack or serial arsonist.”

For more information about Arson and Explosive Investigation option or the OSU Center for Improvised Explosives, visit impex.okstate.edu.

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