What will I learn?

The Master of Science in Forensic Science program is designed to prepare students for careers as forensic scientists in government and private laboratories. Students receive in-depth exposure to specializations within the field, including drug analysis, DNA analysis, trace evidence, criminalistics and legal issues. A strong emphasis on laboratory courses provides students with significant hands-on experience prior to graduation. Several of the required lab courses are taught at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science Lab, which is nationally accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors.

The MS in Forensic Science at VCU has been granting degrees since 1978, and is accredited by the Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

Program features

  • Prepares students for careers as forensic scientists in government, private agencies and laboratories
  • Small class sizes
  • Distinguished faculty
  • Active research programs in various forensic science disciplines
  • Select courses taught by practicing forensic science professionals
  • Location in the state capital provides a rich environment for both classroom learning and internships
  • Specialized laboratory courses using modern crime laboratory equipment taught on campus and at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science Central Laboratory

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to apply basic principles and laboratory procedures of Biology and Chemistry to Forensic Science through focused study in concentration tracks (Forensic Biology, Forensic Chemistry/Drug Analysis and Toxicology, Forensic Chemistry/Trace Analysis, and Forensic Physical).
  • Students will demonstrate capabilities, use, potential and limitations of forensic laboratory theory and techniques.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to perform (report and orally present) independent research in an area of Forensic Science.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of legal procedure, rules of evidence, ethical and professional duties and responsibilities of the forensic scientist.


  • Forensic Chemistry / Trace
  • Forensic Physical Analysis
  • Forensic Chemistry / Drugs and Toxicology
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Which department am I in?

College of Humanities and Sciences

Study options

Full Time (42 hours)

Tuition fees
US$25,956.00 per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

23 August 2022


College of Humanities and Sciences

828 West Franklin Street,



23284, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Qualified applicants typically have a baccalaureate degree with a major in fields such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy and related sciences. Successful applicants will typically have the following credentials: 300 (verbal plus quantitative) and 3.5 analytical GRE scores (or equivalent scores on the new GRE exam), undergraduate GPA of 3.2 and some laboratory research experience.

For international students

Beyond the general VCU Graduate School admission standards, admission to the Master of Science in Forensic Science is based on the following minimum criteria:

  • A bachelor's degree in a natural science discipline, including forensic science; or a degree with equivalent course work.
  • Completion of EIGHT credits (two semesters or equivalent) of organic chemistry with laboratories and EIGHT credits (two semesters or equivalent) of general biology with laboratories.
  • Completion of NINE upper-level credits (or equivalent) - coursework topics depend on concentration.
  • An undergraduate grade-point average that exceeds 2.9 overall on a 4.0 scale.

The university minimum TOEFL score requirement is 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based). The university minimum IELTS score requirement is 6.5. The PTE is also accepted with a minimum score of 65. Deadline: Fall - Mar 1.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University is a top 100 research university and number one public postgraduate arts school in the US.

  • VCU is one of the top 3 research universities in Virginia
  • 21% growth in sponsored awards in a 10-year period
  • 1,600 international students from 108 countries
  • 173-acre campus in downtown Richmond

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