Rapid advances and growth in the field of forensic genetics has created a demand for individuals with expertise and training in the areas of forensic DNA testing, statistical evaluation of DNA results and legal testimony on testing procedures, results and interpretations.
The Forensic Genetics graduate program is designed to offer a broad-based learning experience in forensic science with an emphasis on current and developing DNA technologies. The program was designed to meet all educational and many training requirements as outlined in the National Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories adopted in 1998. The Master of Science degree requirements are met upon satisfactory completion of 53 semester credit hours (SCH) of course work, including six semester credit hours of internship that culminates in a practicum report. In addition to completing selected components of the Graduate School's Integrative Core Curriculum, students in Forensic Genetics are trained in biostatistics, population genetics, forensic DNA technology laboratory methodologies, and are prepared to accurately provide legal testimony on their work product. Upon completion of the program, graduates are prepared become qualified DNA analysts and, later, after obtaining the experience required in the National Standards, individuals are qualified to serve as forensic DNA Technical Leaders. Graduates will also find the program helpful in building a foundation to pursue further studies at the doctoral level. Certain individuals interested in related investigative fields or practicing law might find the curriculum appropriate for their professional objectives as well.
In addition to the professional Master of Science degree program in Forensic Genetics, the Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics also offers comprehensive training in analytical and computational methods necessary for studies in the various fields of applied genetics. Students may enter the advanced programs with a variety of academic backgrounds, providing that they have fulfilled prerequisite courses in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and statistics. Students participate in seminars and teaching, and receive extensive training in the techniques of contemporary molecular genetics. Research track students perform original, publishable research and present their research findings at national and international scientific meetings. Areas of research include: Clinical Genetics, Computational Genetics/Genomics, Microbial Genetics, Evolutionary/Population Genetics, and several applied technology development areas.