Forensic Science Courses of Study

Program Structure

Arcadia’s curriculum is unique in that it covers a variety of specialties, unlike other graduate programs that require a commitment to a single field of study, making for more well-rounded forensic practitioners. The curriculum involves classroom and laboratory exposure to the field of criminalistics, including forensic biology, chemistry and trace analysis as well as forensic toxicology. Coursework emphasizing the development of problem-solving abilities is designed to encourage a concentration in these forensic science specialty areas and expose students to both relevant laboratory techniques and relevant medico-legal developments.

An emphasis on laboratory coursework provides students with significant hands-on experiences. Students are afforded the opportunity to reinforce their laboratory skills via internship arrangements with practicing forensic laboratories, including NMS Labs in Willow Grove, Pa. A comprehensive internal internship practicum at the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education is guaranteed for all students. These experiences, coupled with the completion of an independent research project, ensure that Arcadia graduates are well-prepared for careers in forensic science and that they are well-received by the forensic science community.

The M.S.F.S. program focuses primarily on the fields of forensic biology, chemistry, toxicology, and trace evidence analysis.

  • Forensic Biology involves the analysis of biological fluids and tissues collected at crime scenes and from articles of physical evidence for the purpose of identification and individualization. A forensic biologist employs a wide range of laboratory methods and instruments for body fluid identification and forensic DNA analysis.
  • Forensic Chemistry involves the forensic application of chemical theories, techniques and instrumentation to the analysis of illicit drugs, arson, explosives, and other trace evidence materials.
  • Forensic Toxicology involves the detection and characterization of chemical substances exhibiting adverse or toxic physiological effects. A forensic toxicologist uses a wide range of laboratory methods, which may include spectrophotometric and chromatographic analyses.
  • Trace Analysis involves the proper collection, preservation identification and comparison of items such as glass, paint, hairs, fibers and soil. A forensic trace evidence examiner uses instrumental, mechanical, chemical and visual techniques to analyze these types of trace evidence.


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