Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Master's Programs
Curriculum


Core Curriculum

Year One (20 Credits)

Fall Semester

Course Title Credits
FB 605 Forensic Serology & Immunology 2
FB 606 Forensic Serology & Immunology Lab
1
Management or General Elective
2

Spring I Semester

Course Title Credits
GE 637 Advanced Human Genetics 3
FB 610 Legal Procedure and Ethics
1
FB 607 Journal Club in Forensic Serology & Immunology  1

Spring II Semester

Course Title CREDITS
FB 705 Forensic Genetics  3
FB 706 Forensic Genetics Lab 1
Management or General Elective
2

Summer Semester

Course Title CREDITS
FB 890 Master’s Thesis Research  2
GC 660 Statistical Methods of Data Analysis  3

Year Two (20 Credits)

Fall Semester

Course Title CREDITS
FB 715 Advanced Forensic Genetics 3
FB 716 Advanced Forensic Genetics Lab 1
FB 620  Forensic Science Forum 1
FB 870 Master's Thesis Research 1

Spring I Semester

COURSE TITLE CREDITS
FB 717 Journal Club in Forensic Genetics 1
Management or General Elective 3
FB 880 Master's Thesis Research 1

Spring II Semester

COURSE TITLE CREDITS
Management or General Elective
3
FB 880 Master's Thesis Research 1

Summer Semester

COURSE TITLE CREDITS
FB 830 Laboratory Clerkship 3
FB 890 Master's Thesis Research 1

Foundation Course Descriptions

FB605 Forensic Serology & Immunology

This lecture course covers the fundamentals of forensic serology. This will include the biochemical basis of biological fluid testing using classical as well as novel serological techniques. Multiple forensically relevant body fluids (e.g., blood, saliva, semen, urine, fecal matter, vaginal/menstrual fluid) will be discussed regarding chemical composition and the corresponding testing strategy associated with each fluid.

FB606 Forensic Serology & Immunology Lab

This laboratory course covers the fundamentals of forensic serology. This will include the biochemical basis of biological fluid testing using classical as well as novel serological techniques. Multiple forensically relevant body fluids (e.g., blood, saliva, semen, urine, fecal matter, vaginal/menstrual fluid) will be applied.  Practical and laboratory exercises demonstrate the techniques and their applications.

FB607 Journal Club in Forensic Serology & Immunology

This journal club-based course aims to introduce students to the collection, analysis, and interpterion of primary literature sources within the field of serology and immunology. In order to encourage a versatile learning environment, students will become familiar will both forensic and non-forensic journals. However, an emphasis will be placed on journal articles relevant to topics covered in FB605/606 Forensic Serology and Immunology. This course relies solely upon participation and presentations.

FB610 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.   

FB705 Forensic Genetics

Classroom discussions will expand on the application of forensic DNA analysis using STR markers, including interpretation of single-source profiles and mixtures, advanced understanding of instrument operation, and presentation of DNA results in the courtroom. Students will gain an advanced understanding of how forensic DNA laboratories operate and are managed; i.e., quality assurance programs, quality control, proficiency testing programs, validation issues, and other areas of interest. Additionally, students will be prepared to work in a forensic DNA crime laboratory, understanding quality assurance, accreditation, and other areas of importance.

FB706 Forensic Genetics Lab

Classroom discussions will expand on the application of forensic DNA analysis using STR markers, including interpretation of single-source profiles and mixtures, advanced understanding of instrument operation, and presentation of DNA results in the courtroom. Students will gain an advanced understanding of how forensic DNA laboratories operate and are managed; i.e., quality assurance programs, quality control, proficiency testing programs, validation issues, and other areas of interest. Additionally, students will be prepared to work in a forensic DNA crime laboratory, understanding quality assurance, accreditation, and other areas of importance. The laboratory exercises will reflect classroom discussions and students will be expected to prepare courtroom ready materials (data, documents, and demonstrations). The students will be responsible for setting up and running the laboratory in a similar manner to how a real crime laboratory is run.

FB715 Advanced Forensic Genetics

An advanced forensic biology course covering newer techniques used in DNA extraction, quantification, PCR, genotyping and sequencing. Techniques such as second generation sequencing and rapid DNA techniques will be covered as well as alternative markers such as SNPs, mitochondrial DNA, microhaplotypes, and Y-STRs. Issues pertaining to forensic biological samples such as degradation, sensitivity/specificity, transfer events and DNA persistence will be discussed.  Techniques for complex mixture interpretation and associated statistical tools will also be included.  An emphasis will be placed on critical thinking skills and troubleshooting of common forensic laboratory issues. 

FB716 Advanced Forensic Genetics Lab

An advanced forensic biology course covering newer techniques used in DNA extraction, quantification, PCR, genotyping and sequencing. Techniques such as second generation sequencing and rapid DNA techniques will be covered as well as alternative markers such as SNPs, mitochondrial DNA, microhaplotypes, and Y-STRs. Issues pertaining to forensic biological samples such as degradation, sensitivity/specificity, transfer events and DNA persistence will be discussed.  Techniques for complex mixture interpretation and associated statistical tools will also be included.  An emphasis will be placed on critical thinking skills and troubleshooting of common forensic laboratory issues.  The laboratory exercises will reflect classroom discussions. The students will be responsible for setting up and running the laboratory in a similar manner to how a real crime laboratory is run.

FB717 Journal Club in Forensic Genetics

This journal club-based course aims to introduce students to the collection, analysis, and interpreting primary literature sources within the field of forensic genetics. In order to encourage a versatile learning environment, students will become familiar will both forensic and non-forensic journals. However, an emphasis will be placed on journal articles relevant to topics covered in FB705/706 Forensic Genetics and FB715/716 Advanced Forensic Genetics. This course relies solely upon participation and presentations.

FB620 Forensic Science Forum

The goal of this course is to expose students to a wide range of topics in forensic biology. Recorded lectures and webinars supplemented with topic discussion will cover the various career paths within forensic biology. 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.

FB830 Laboratory Clerkship

A supervised full-time practicum. Principles and procedures used in the forensic analysis of biological fluids and genetic material, including their detection, extraction, quantification, amplification and analysis will be used to process casework samples, conduct analyses, interpret results, write reports, and participate in moot court experiences. Students are provided multiple hands-on casework samples and experiences 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.

Program Structure

14 Foundation Courses (30 credits)

Course Title Credits
GE 637 Advanced Human Genetics 3
FB 605 Forensic Serology & Immunology 2
FB 606 Forensic Serology & Immunology Lab
1
FB 607 Journal Club in Forensic Serology & Immunology  1
FB 610 Legal Procedure and Ethics  1
FB 620 Forensic Science Forum 1
FB 705 Forensic Genetics 3
FB 706 Forensic Genetics Lab 1
FB 715 Advanced Forensic Genetics  3
FB 716 Advanced Forensic Genetics Lab 1
FB 717 Journal Club in Forensic Genetics 1
GC 660 Statistical Methods of Data Analysis 3
FB 880, 880, 890 Master’s Thesis Research  6
FB 830 Laboratory Clerkship  3

MINIMUM TWO (5 CREDITS) PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSES

Course Title Credits
GC 510 Database Design and Management 2
GC 525 Information Systems 3
GC 600 Management Skills 3
GC 605 Performance Improvement  2
GC 610 Strategic Management  2
GC 620 Fundamentals of Financial Management  3
GC 690 Regulatory Issues in Human Subject Research 2
GC 615 Grants Management 2
GC 720 Scientific Writing 2

MINIMUM TWO (5 CREDITS) OF ELECTIVE COURSES

Course Title Credits
GC 640 Ethical Conduct of Research  1
GC 645 Genomics & Bioinformatics 3
GC 680 Lab Techniques - Molecular Biology 3
GE 652 Molecular Basis of Cancer 2
MI 521 Intro to Immunology 2
MI 682 Advanced Diagnostic Micro 2

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