MS in Crime Scene Investigation

Student wearing goggles and working with lab equipment.

The Master of Science in Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) is designed for students seeking careers as investigators, detectives, lawyers, special agents, medical examiners, crime scene technicians and forensic pathologists.

Graduates are proficient in crime scene investigation techniques including photography, fingerprinting, digital imaging and forensic pathology. They also learn how to investigate crimes from medical and legal perspectives.

Coursework includes core and elective classes in topics like bloodstain pattern analysis, forensic documentation, firearms and toolmark identification and child abuse investigation techniques. Students acquire skills required by agencies hiring CSIs for careers ranging from latent print examiners to medicolegal death investigators.

"I can't tell you how much the CSI program prepared me for my current position. On a daily basis, I process evidence for the presence of fingerprints, using all the techniques [I learned]. "

Ivy Walker
MS '13

Program Objectives

Students who complete the MS in Crime Scene Investigation gain working knowledge of crime scene analysis.

Specifically, students graduate with:

  • Expertise to collect, protect and preserve crime scene evidence
  • Practical skills and approaches necessary to synthesize data and draw evidence-based conclusions
  • Experience using software tools such as Photoshop, SketchUp, Rhinoceros 3D and more   
  • Communication skills to work effectively within and across teams


Hybrid Online Program Option 

Students may elect to pursue their master’s in a hybrid format that combines online and in-person coursework. Because nearly half of the required courses are available online, students participating in the hybrid format are able to cut their in-person campus time in half.

GW’s hybrid MS in Crime Scene Investigation was ranked as the best in the nation by


Courses Available Online

FORS 3203 Examination of Questioned Documents
FORS 6215   Science of Fingerprints
FORS 6219  Digital Image Processing
FORS 6251 Crime Scene Investigations I
FORS 6252 Crime Scene Investigations II
FORS 6257 Medicolegal Death Investigation

All courses are available for Non-Degree students, but you must first register through The Office of Non-Degree Students.


Application Requirements

In addition to the Columbian College’s graduate application requirements, applicants must:

  • hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with at least one (1) semester in chemistry and one (1) semester of biology, or
  • obtain departmental permission based on work, military or other experience.

Email [email protected] for more information.


Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

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

36 credits, including 27 credits in required courses and 9 credits in elective courses, and successful completion of a master's comprehensive examination.

FORS 6005Fundamentals of Forensic Science II
FORS 6207Photography in the Forensic Sciences
FORS 6215Science of Fingerprints
FORS 6219Digital Image Processing
FORS 6224Criminal Law for Forensic Scientists
FORS 6251Crime Scene Investigation I
FORS 6252Crime Scene Investigation II
FORS 6256Forensic Pathology
FORS 6257Medicolegal Death Investigation
9 credits selected in consultation with the departmental advisor. Suggested electives include:
FORS 6010Bloodstain Pattern Analysis I
FORS 6203Examination of Questioned Documents
FORS 6204Firearms and Toolmark Identification
FORS 6255Investigation of Child Abuse
FORS 6290Selected Topics (Crime Scene Investigation III)
Other requirements
Successful completion of a master’s comprehensive examination is required.