FAQs for MS in Forensic Biology
What makes Thomas Jefferson University (TJU)’s program unique?
We believe specialization is paramount to modern forensic practice. TJU has worked closely with industry experts and partners at The Center for Forensic Science Research & Education to develop a specialized curriculum in forensic biology, equipping graduates with an advanced skillset that exceeds the qualifications for employment within the field.
The focus of the program is hands-on, experiential learning that enables students to gain valuable experience through core courses, clerkship and research while working with state-of-the-art instrumentation. Additionally, students acquire professional development skills in leadership, business and management through elective courses that create attractive candidates for job placement. Through its partnership with The Center for Forensic Science Research & Education, a non-profit organization housed within the same building as NMS Labs, students have the opportunity to complete coursework in an accredited laboratory environment, gaining first-hand insight into operations of a private case-working forensic laboratory system.
Is this program accredited?
Accreditation ensures curricular content meets the minimum requirements for employment in the field. As there are no organizations that currently accredit specialized programs in forensic biology, TJU’s program relies on input from an engaged Advisory Board comprised of senior scientific staff and laboratory directors from forensic laboratory systems across the country to provide insight into what they are looking for in new hires. This ensures that TJU graduates not only meet the minimum requires for employment but far exceed them, helping them stand out in application pools.
Why is a Master’s degree necessary for the field of Forensic Biology?
According to the FBI Quality Assurance Standards, a Master’s degree is a necessary qualification for advancement to a Technical Leader position in Forensic Biology. Furthermore, the specialized education received during graduate study will introduce and refine advanced forensic biology laboratory techniques not obtained during undergraduate study.
How many students are in each class?
Due to the hands-on nature of the program and the complexity of the laboratory coursework, classes are kept small with a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1 allowing for a more personalized learning experience.
Can I work while completing the Forensic Biology program?
Yes, the Forensic Biology program curriculum is designed for the working professional. The majority of coursework is offered in the evenings. If a student elects to work while in the program, they will need to work around research and clerkship schedules.
Will I need access to a car while I am a student?
No, courses are taught at The Center for Forensic Science Research & Education, an off-campus forensic laboratory in Willow Grove, PA, as well as at TJU’s Center City campus location. Both locations are conveniently accessible via the SEPTA Regional Rail Train Line.
Are there opportunities for inter-professional education?
Yes – through collaborative efforts with The Center for Forensic Science Research & Education, students are able to attend continuing education courses offered by The Center that supplement their required coursework. In addition, alumni will receive discounted registration for attendance at future professional development courses, helping them prepare for and maintain certification in the field.
Is there a guaranteed internship?
Yes, the clerkship (internship) course is guaranteed and is conducted at The Center for Forensic Science Research & Education. Students will undergo training used for new hires in operational forensic laboratories, including competency testing, mock casework analysis, interpretation and report writing as well as practice in courtroom testimony.