MFS in Forensic Science


students working together


The FEPAC-accredited Master of Forensic Science degree provides an understanding of the integration of forensic disciplines with the investigation of criminal activity, along with an overview of the analytic methods, procedures, equipment and data used by forensic specialists.  

Students gain the skills needed to understand and interpret a variety of types of physical evidence, including fingerprints, shoe and tire impressions, firearms, fired bullets, cartridge cases and toolmarks.


Forensic Science Info Session: January 20

Female student seated in class with a laptop listening



Join us online for an information session discussing the field of forensic science and GW's Master of Forensic Science, Master of Science in Crime Scene Investigation and Graduate Certificate in Forensic Investigation programs.



Focus Areas

Students gain the skills to evaluate and interpret crime scene evidence. These skills are valued by law enforcement agencies, crime labs, coroner's offices, hospitals and courts of law. Our alumni also work in the private sector analyzing physical evidence. 


Program Objectives

Students graduate with:

  • Deep knowledge of variety of forms of physical evidence
  • Mastery of fingerprints, shoe and tire impressions and firearms and tool mark identification
  • Working knowledge of ethics, criminal law and statistics
  • Familiarity with modern instrumental methods used in forensic laboratories, including mass spectrometry, optical spectroscopy, microscopy, chromatographic and electrophoretic separations
  • Communication skills necessary to present findings with clarity



Application Requirements

The Department of Forensic Sciences requires applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in chemistry from an accredited university. Preference is given to students who have extensive laboratory experience with instrumentation analysis through undergraduate research, internships or Federal Work-Study programs.


Course Requirements

All MFS students must complete research projects and present their research results in the graduate seminar.

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

37 credits, including 18 credits in required courses, 19 credits in courses selected in consultation with the advisor, and successful completion of a master's comprehensive examination.

FORS 6004Fundamentals of Forensic Science I
FORS 6005Fundamentals of Forensic Science II
FORS 6020Ethics, Professional Responsibility, and Quality Assurance
FORS 6224Criminal Law for Forensic Scientists
FORS 6225Statistics for Forensic Scientists
FORS 6292Graduate Seminar (taken twice) *
19 elective credits are selected in consultation with the departmental advisor.
Additional requirements
Successful completion of an independent research project is required.
Successful completion of a master’s comprehensive examination is required.
*Students must register for FORS 6292 in their first semester and again after or during the completion of the required independent research project.