Master of Science in Forensic Science

Two students study how blood reacts at different drop angles.

The Master of Science in Forensic Science (MSFS) degree at Emporia State is the only one offered in the state of Kansas. The program was developed with the input of the directors of all of the major crime laboratories in the State of Kansas and the Kansas City Metro area. Our program is where academia meets the real world.

What is an MSFS?

You will get hands on experience with the equipment professionals use today.

Forensic science is the application of the natural sciences such as biology, chemistry, or physics, to matters of the law. Forensic science encompasses a broad spectrum of specialties including criminalistics (the study of trace evidence such as hairs, fibers, glass, and physical impressions), molecular biology (DNA), toxicology (the study of drugs and poisons), drug identification, latent prints, and firearms.

The master of science in forensic science will qualify you to work as a scientist in national, state, or regional criminalistics laboratories or conventional analytical laboratories.

The MSFS program requires 40 hours of graduate credit and completion of a research experience. The research requirement may be fulfilled through participation in thesis or project research (FO 890, 809, or 803), or through research conducted during an internship at a crime lab (FO 886). There is no limitation on the number of thesis, project, or internship hours a student may enroll in; however, no more than 6 of these hours may be applied toward the 40-hour program requirement.

This program is an interdisciplinary degree offered through the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Physical Sciences.

Admissions Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in a natural science — such as chemistry, biology, or physics — or in forensic science is recommended; however, degrees in other majors are acceptable as long as the prerequisite coursework has been completed. We do not require the GRE for admission.

Coursework should include:

To apply, you must submit each of the following:

All international applicants should apply through the Office of International Education.

Applications will be considered based upon your undergraduate grade point average (minimum 3.0 on a 4.0 scale) and the content and quality of your application materials.

Students are admitted for fall semesters only; applications are due by April 15 to be considered for the following fall semester.

Testing Samples

Program of Study

Fall Semester – 1st Year
FO 702 Biological & Physical Evidence 3 hours
FO 850 Molecular Techniques for Forensic Scientists 3 hours
Elective course 3 hours
FO 771 Forensic Science Seminar 1 hour
Spring Semester – 1st Year
FO 710/711 Criminalistics (and Laboratory) 5 hours
Elective course 3 hours
FO 770 Graduate Research Seminar 1 hour
Fall Semester – 2nd Year
CH 777 Instrumental Methods of Analysis 5 hours
FO 803 or 809 or 886 or 890 (Research or Internship) 3 hours
FO 770 Graduate Research Seminar 1 hour
Spring Semester – 2nd Year
CH 778 Advanced Instrumental Methods of Analysis 5 hours
FO 720 Toxicology 3 hours
FO 886 or 890 Research, Internship, or elective course 3 hours
FO 771 Forensic Science Seminar 1 hour
Total 40 hours

Elective courses currently offered by the Department of Biological Sciences or Department of Physical Sciences include:

Students wishing to enter the field of forensic biology are strongly encouraged to include the following courses (or their equivalent) in their curriculum if they were not taken as part of their undergraduate degree program:

Internship Opportunities

An internship with a cooperating agency such as Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center, Johnson County Sheriff's Office Criminalistics Laboratory, Kansas City Police Department, or Kansas Bureau of Investigation could be arranged depending on availability. You would have the opportunity to conduct research during the internship. Internships may be on-site in a cooperating lab or may be at Emporia State University, co-directed by a forensic practitioner and an Emporia State faculty member, with visits to the coordinating agency as needed. Forming a relationship with a forensic agency, whether on-site or remotely, will be encouraged, as field experience is viewed as an extremely valuable asset by potential employers in the forensic sciences.

Graduate Assistantships

Limited, competitive graduate assistantships are available. Assistantships are usually awarded in the spring for the following academic year and can last up to six semesters. You must enroll in no fewer than 6 graduate credit hours (500 and above) per semester, and no fewer than 12 graduate credit hours per academic year.

International students must pass the SPEAK test to be eligible for a teaching assistantship.

Criminal HistoryInvestigating blood splatter on a wall

Students considering a Master of Science in Forensic Science must be mindful of the fact that internship or employment in a crime laboratory requires extensive background checks. Potential employers may not hire applicants who have been arrested for or convicted of felony and serious misdemeanor violations such as:

  •  Alcohol and drug violations
  •  Property crimes (i.e. theft or burglary)
  •  Violent crimes (murder, sexual assault, domestic violence, etc)
  •  Firearms-related crimes
  •  Moral turpitude (indecent exposure, solicitation of a prostitute)
  •  Serious traffic violations
  •  Serious credit problems.

Other crimes not listed above may also be grounds for an applicant to be eliminated as a potential intern or employee. Untruthfulness during any part of the application process is normally grounds for disqualification as well. Prospective students are strongly urged to consider this when applying to the program and to contact the Interim Program Director with any concerns or questions prior to application to the MSFS program

Questions about the program or the application process should be directed to:

Dr. Melissa M. Bailey

Interim Director, MSFS Program

Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Campus Box 4050

1 Kellogg Circle

Emporia, KS 66801-5415


Phone: 620-341-5619

Graduate Tuition & Campus Activity Fees

Session Resident Non-Resident
Fall/Spring Semester $325.25* $845.75*
Summer Session $325.25* $845.75*
Distance Education $325.25* $449.00*
School of Library & Information Management (SLIM) $325.25* $845.75*

Costs are per credit hour
* Does not include tech fee of $8.30 per credit hour
‡ Does not include additional fee for Distance Education of $42 per course