Forensic Toxicology

College

  • Center City Campus
  • College of Life Sciences

Degree Earned

  • Master of Science

Program Length
2.5 years

Program Type

  • On Campus

Jefferson - Center City Campus

Prerequisites
BS | See more

Contact Information

Program

Name: Barry K. Logan, PhD, F-ABFT
Positions:
  • Program Director, Forensic Toxicology Program

Program

Name: Alex Krotulski, PhD
Position: Assistant Program Director, Forensic Toxicology Program

Program Coordinator

Name: Alexandra Whitman
Position: Program Coordinator

Contact Admissions

Contact Number(s):

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Curriculum

Year One (20 Credits)

Fall Semester

Course Title Credits
FT605 Analytical Forensic Toxicology
3
FT606 Analytical Forensic Toxicology Lab 1
Management or General Elective
2
FT610 Legal Procedure and Ethics 1

Spring Semester

Course Title Credits
FT705 Advanced Analytical Forensic Toxicology  3
FT706 Advanced Analytical Forensic Toxicology Lab  1
FT610 Legal Procedure and Ethics 1
PR522 General Pharmacology 3

Summer Semester

Course Title Credits
FT880 Master’s Thesis Research  2
GC660 Statistical Methods of Data Analysis  3

Year Two (20 Credits)

Fall Semester

Course Title Credits
FT715 Interpretative Forensic Toxicology 3
FT716 Interpretative Forensic Toxicology Lab 1
FT880  Master’s Thesis Research 1
Management or General Elective 2 or 3

Spring Semester

Course Title Credits
FT880 Master’s Thesis Research 2
FT620 Forensic Science Forum 1
Management or General Elective 2 or 3
Manaegment or General Elective 2 or 3

Summer Semester

Course Title Credits
FT810 Laboratory Clerkship 3
FT815 Regulatory Issues in Forensic Toxicology 1
FT890 Master's Thesis Research  1

FT605 Analytical Forensic Toxicology

This course will provide students with an introduction into the analytical instrumentation most commonly used in performing certain forensic analyses. Forensic science depends upon the strength of the data generated by the various analytical techniques and conclusions based upon the data. The course also includes a review of basic functional group chemistry, principles of sample extraction, and derivatization chemistry. Students will study instrumentation at three levels: theory of operation, practical understanding of the component functions and design, and finally, application of instrumental techniques to forensic toxicology and chemistry processes. Each technique will be studied with respect to the function of carious components, the strengths and weaknesses of each technique, discussion of the implementation of each technique will also be covered. Attention will be given to column selection and properties, sample introduction and preparation techniques, detection systems, and data analysis. Mass spectrometry will be covered, including theory of operation, hands-on operation, instrument maintenance, data interpretation and review.

FT606 Analytical Forensic Toxicology Lab

This course will supplement the theory and principles covered in FT605 Analytical Forensic Toxicology. Students will gain experience using various chromatographic techniques including gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, and thin-layer chromatography. Additional topics will include spectroscopic analysis; including atomic absorption, UV-VIS, and FTIR. Data obtained using the various techniques will be discussed in terms of what significance this data possesses in a forensic framework. An overview of quantitative and qualitative analysis performed analytically will be presented.

FT610 Legal Procedure & Ethics

The primary objective of this course is to provide students with a solid understanding of the American criminal justice system, as well as its inherent ethical issues. This will be accomplished through review and discussion of Constitutional law, rules of procedure and evidence, and case law.   A secondary benefit of this course will be the improvement of the students’ ability to critically evaluate facts, reach conclusions, and effectively communicate and defend their positions. 

FT705 Advanced Analytical Forensic Toxicology

This course will provide students with an in depth understanding of the analytical instrumentation most commonly used in performing certain forensic analyses. Students will be able to understand above and beyond the theory of operation, practical understanding of the component function and design, and application of the various instrumental techniques to applicable forensic toxicology and criminalistics chemistry and will be able to perform system suitabilities, database searching, troubleshooting and method optimization. Separation techniques covered in FT605 Analytical Forensic Toxicology will be covered in greater depth and additional separation techniques will be introduced. 

FT706 Advanced Analytical Forensic Toxicology Lab

This course will supplement the theory and principles covered in FT705 Advanced Analytical Forensic Toxicology. Students will operate instrumentation, troubleshoot, perform basic maintenance tasks and review generated data from the instruments. In addition, students will learn and perform method development and validation procedures for common drugs of abuse.

FT620 Forensic Science Forum

The goal of this course is to expose students to a wide range of topics in forensic toxicology. Recorded lectures and webinars supplemented with topic discussion will cover the various career paths within forensic toxicology. Furthermore, students will have the ability to interact with leading professionals and practitioners to gain a better insight into the qualities and capabilities necessary for success within the community.

FT715 Interpretive Forensic Toxicology

This course deals with the detection, identification and quantitation of foreign chemicals (toxins) in the body. In order to accurately interpret toxicological findings, it is essential that the toxicologist has an understanding of the pharmacology of that substance and the pathological effects it has on the body. In this context, Forensic Toxicology can be divided into two categories, post-mortem toxicology and human performance toxicology. This course will provide the student with the skills for development of a detailed knowledge of the types of toxic substances and matrices encountered in Forensic Toxicology and the procedures by which these are tested in the laboratory. Students will also utilize their theoretical knowledge of pharmacology in the application to Forensic Toxicology casework.

FT815 Regulatory Issues in Forensic Toxicology

Scrutiny of forensic science has never been greater, and the expectations of the public, the courts, Congress and others have never been higher.  How are the forensic sciences responding, and what are our successes, limitations and proposed solutions going forward?  This course considers quality management, ethics, professional practice, quality control and quality assurance components that help answer these questions.  

The course will emphasize the obligations of the laboratory, its management and scientists, and accreditation, certification and professional practice resources that have been put in place to promote quality and forensic reliability.  The course will take a critical look at criticisms from Congress, the defense community and from the 2009 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on Strengthening the Forensic Sciences in the United States, which identified deficiencies in laboratory management and support structures, and questioned the underlying basis of some of the science being practiced. Specific components of quality management systems, including education, quality control, quality assurance, and method validation will be examined.  The overall structure of a forensic laboratory’s operations will be discussed with practical considerations about implementing a thorough overall quality management approach.

FT810 Laboratory Clerkship

A supervised full-time practicum. Principles and procedures used in the forensic analysis of drugs and toxins, including their detection, extraction and purification from biological matrices, and quantification will be used to process casework samples, conduct analyses, interpret results, write reports, and participate in moot court experiences. Students have multiple hands-on casework samples and experiences with screening procedures and analytical methodologies with the assistance of forensic practitioners in the preparation and execution of appropriate reports and court testimonies. 

A total of 40 credits are required for degree completion. The required breakdown of courses and electives is as follows.

12 Foundation Courses (30 credits)

Course Title Credits
PR525 Clinical Pharmacology  3
FT605 Analytical Forensic Toxicology  3
FT606 Analytical Forensic Toxicology Lab  1
FT705 Advanced Analytical Forensic Toxicology  3
FT706 Advanced Analytical Forensic Toxicology Lab  1
FT715 Interpretative Forensic Toxicology 3
FT716 Interpretative Forensic Toxicology Lab  1
FT610 Legal Procedure and Ethics  1
FT620 Forensic Science Forum 1
GC660 Statistical Methods of Data Analysis 3
FT815 Regulatory Issues in Forensic Toxicology  1
FT880 Master’s Thesis Research 6
FT810 Toxicology Laboratory Clerkship  3

Management Courses 

Select two course, total 4-6 credits

Course Title Credits
GC 510 Database Design & Management 2
GC 525 Information Systems Mangement 3
GC 600 Managerial and Teamwork Skills 3
GC 605 Performance Improvement 2
GC 610 Strategic Mgmt: Increasing R&D Productivity 2
GC 615 Grants and Contract Management 2
GC 617 Mgmt of Pharma Drug Development Projects 2
GC 620 Fundamentals of Financial Management 3
GC 621 Biotechnology Venture Management 2
GC 635 Fundamentals of Clinical Trials Management 2
GC 636 Principles of Career Management - Diverse Biomed Careers 2

Suggested Elective Courses 

Select two course, total 4-6 credits

Course Title Credits
CB570 Pathologic Aspects of Disease 3
GC625 Drug Development Issues  2
GC640 Ethical Conduct of Research  1
MI580 Principles of Epidemiology 3
PR505 Environmental and Occupational Toxicology  3
PR522 General Pharmacology  3
PR526 Pharmacogenomics  2
PR630 General Toxicology  3

*Additional elective courses may be selected after consultation with the Program Director