FAQs for MS in Forensic Toxicology
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 toxicology, 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 toxicology, 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.
What is a Professional Science Master’s degree?
A Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree is a graduate professional degree grounded in advanced scientific coursework with the addition of professional skill-development coursework. This combination of analytical and interpretative skill sets coupled with leadership experience creates ideal candidates for management opportunities within the field.
Why is a Master’s degree necessary for the field of Forensic Toxicology?
Most undergraduate degrees, even those in forensic science, do not have the time or resources to provide candidates with the depth of theoretical and practical knowledge to truly prepare them for a running start in a forensic toxicology career. In this Master’s degree program, students spend time with practicing forensic toxicologists, share insights to casework experience, gain an appreciation for the regulatory and quality environment essential to the practice of forensic toxicology and gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of theory and practice of today’s state-of-the-art instrumentation and techniques These advantages benefits our graduates throughout their careers, accelerating their qualifications and eligibility for promotion advancement and opportunities in research and development, laboratory supervision and management.
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 Toxicology program?
Yes, the Forensic Toxicology program’s 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 do so 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 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 the research project curricular component thesis-based?
Yes, students will be paired with a senior staff member and conduct a thesis-based project. At the completion of the research, students may have the opportunity to present their findings at a scientific conference or publish in scientific literature.
Is the clerkship guaranteed?
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 with courtroom testimony.