Jul 23, 2019  
University Catalog 2013-2014 (ARCHIVED CATALOG) 
University Catalog 2013-2014 (ARCHIVED CATALOG) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Criminalistics, M.S.

Criminalistics is an interdisciplinary field, in which the physical and natural sciences are employed to analyze and evaluate physical evidence in a judicial context. The Criminalistics program provides advanced, discipline specific knowledge for those wishing to enter the field of criminalistics. The Master of Science Degree program emphasizes current analytical and scientific methods. A broad understanding of the concepts underlying the forensic sciences is provided through a sequence of required and effective courses.

In addition to University requirements for admission to graduate study, applicants must hold a baccalaureate in one of the natural or physical sciences. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for admission to the master’s program.

Students are advised that background checks similar to those required for law enforcement officers are likely to be a condition of employment (NIJ Report NCJ 203099 – “Qualifications for a Career in Forensic Science.” PP. 7-10)

Applicants may be admitted to the M.S. degree program in Classified or Conditionally Classified Standing. Classified Standing is granted to accepted applicants who have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the last 90 quarter units (or last 60 semester units) and 3.0 in the undergraduate major.

Conditionally Classified Standing is granted to accepted applicants whose grade point average in their last 90 quarter units (or last 60 semester units) is less than 3.0 with a minimum of 2.75.

Conditionally Classified Students must achieve a 3.0 grade point average after completing four qualifying courses that have been approved by the Graduate Advisor by the end of their second quarter of graduate study in order to be granted Classified Standing.


The following courses or their equivalents may be taken concurrently.

  These courses are not included in the 52 units required for the masters degree.

Requirements for the Degree (56 units)

A total of 56 units is required, with at least 28 in 500-level courses.

Thesis (4)

Students are required to take the Forensic Science Assessment Test (FSAT) during the spring quarter of their second year. The FSAT is an on-site examination that is administered by the program director or another faculty member. The test consists of 220 multiple-choice questions of which 200 will be scored. The remaining 20 questions are being piloted for future FSAT examinations. This is not a pass/fail test. A numerical score out of a possible 1200 points will be provided to the student.

The thesis may only be selected after approval from the school graduate committee. The results of the thesis will be presented orally in a public forum for evaluation.