Students who successfully complete the pre-requisites may qualify for assured admission into Arcadia's master's degree program in Forensic Science. The Arcadia University program is one of only 11 graduate forensic science programs in the nation accredited by the Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).
The M.S.F.S. degree is offered by Arcadia University in partnership with the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education and in collaboration with NMS Labs, one of the nation’s premier ASCLD-LAB and ISO 17025 accredited forensic science laboratories. This alliance provides a source of adjunct instructors, a forensic library, invaluable links to the forensic science community and guaranteed internships with some of the nation’s premier forensic scientists. State-of-the-art laboratory equipment and facilities are provided in nearby Willow Grove, Pa.
4+2 Program Course Requirements
All students are required to complete a bachelor's degree in either Biology or Chemistry along with the following prerequisites. Transfer students must meet additional guidelines.
For students who begin their undergraduate education at Arcadia University as well as those who transfer.
Biological Sciences: four lab/lecture courses, which include General Biology I and II, General Genetics, and Molecular Biology. Anatomy and Physiology are highly recommended.
Chemistry: five lab/lecture courses, which include General, Organic Chemistry, and at least one semester of Analytical/Instrumental Chemistry. Quantitative Chemical Analysis is highly recommended.
Mathematics: one course in Statistics.
Related coursework: A course in Ethics is highly recommended. A Criminal Justice course is also recommended.
Additional Requirements for Transfer Students
Students who transfer to Arcadia University must meet the above criteria as well as the following:
Complete a minimum of 15 earned credits per semester—and no fewer than 60 credits over the last four semesters of work at Arcadia University, excluding summers.
Successfully complete four of the prerequisite science courses at Arcadia University.
Assured Admission Requirements for the M.S. in Forensic Science
Earn a bachelor’s degree in Biology or Chemistry from Arcadia University.
Achieve a minimum 3.2 GPA overall and a 3.2 average in prerequisite courses taken at Arcadia University and elsewhere.
Earn a grade of “C” or better in each prerequisite course. (A grade of C- is unacceptable for prerequisite credit.) All courses in the various designated areas are included when calculating the prerequisite GPA.
Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and achieve a minimum total score of 300 on the combined verbal and quantitative portions with a minimum of 145 on the verbal portion and a minimum of 150 on the quantitative portion, and score a 3.5 or higher on the analytic portion. The test may be taken in the junior year (preferably) and/or in the fall of senior year.
Work or volunteer related experience: Knowledge of the profession through internships or research experience is preferred but not required.
A recommendation from the undergraduate Biology or Chemistry adviser and one other recommendation.
The third recommendation is not required from Arcadia students
Students desiring assured admission must submit their completed application electronically by November 1 of the academic year of graduation from Arcadia University.
NOTE: The number of allotted assured admissions from the supplying Department will be determined by the Admissions Committee of the Arcadia University Forensic Science program on an annual basis. If the supplying Department exceeds the allotted number of assured admissions, the supplying Department will prioritize the list of applicants.
Selected students must undergo an interview with the faculty of the Forensic Science program at Arcadia University for final approval.
About the 3+2 Accelerated Forensic Science Program
Highly selective program for academically talented students
Bachelor’s degree in Biology or Chemistry and master's degree in Forensic Science in five years
Rigorous scientific foundation for a career in forensic science
One of the first FEPAC-accredited programs in Forensic Science
Guaranteed internship with nation’s premier forensic scientists
Arcadia University-sponsored student participation in professional meetings
State-of-the-art laboratory facilities
Personal attention from faculty advisers
Active research programs in various forensic science disciplines
Opportunity to attend autopsies and visit Forensic Science laboratories
Curriculum aligned with guidelines from the DNA Advisory Board (DAB), Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG) and the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT)
This program provides an accelerated pathway through the Undergraduate Curriculum into Arcadia’s master’s degree program in Forensic Science.
During the first three years of study, a student takes prerequisite coursework and Undergraduate Curriculum requirements. In the fourth year of study, the student completes the Senior Seminar and Capstone requirements for the undergraduate degree and begins graduate coursework, which is completed in the fifth year.
In addition to courses in chemistry and biology, graduate courses concern both general and specific topics in forensic science. The fifth year of the accelerated program includes certain common courses as well as specialization in chemical, biological, and toxicological coursework. Students also complete an internship and independent research project. The University sponsors student participation in professional meetings in the final year of the program.
This pathway allows a student to fulfill all of the Undergraduate Curriculum and major requirements (including completing 128 undergraduate credits) and the requirements of the Master of Science in Forensic Science (38 to 70 credits) in five years. The 3+2 program provides a pathway to ensure that the undergraduate coursework taken by the student meets the expected prerequisites and required background knowledge for the master’s program in Forensic Science at Arcadia University.
Structure of the B.A. in Biology and the M.S.in Forensic Science
Students completing the 3+2 B.A. in Biology and the M.S. in Forensic Science will complete all degree requirements in five years. In years one to four, students complete all Undergraduate Curriculum requirements and major requirements, including senior thesis/capstone project. In year four, students also commence graduate study and after successful completion of this year, will receive a bachelor’s degree. In year five, students will complete the remaining Forensic Science coursework. Students must work closely with an academic advisor to ensure all of the undergraduate requirements are met by the end of year four.
Structure of the B.A./B.S. in Chemistry and the M.S.in Forensic Science
Students completing the 3+2 B.A./B.S. in Chemistry and the M.S. in Forensic Science will complete all degree requirements in five years. In years one to four, students complete all Undergraduate Curriculum requirements and major requirements, including senior thesis/capstone project. In year four, students also commence graduate study and after successful completion of this year, will receive a bachelor’s degree. In year five, students will complete the remaining Forensic Science coursework. Students must work closely with an academic advisor to ensure all undergraduate requirements are met by the end of year four.
Each student admitted into the program is assigned a faculty adviser in either the Biology or Chemistry department. The adviser in involved in helping the student to take the prescribed coursework for admission into the master’s program while completing the Undergraduate Curriculum and major requirements necessary for completion of the bachelor’s degree. The Director of the Forensic Science program also assists each student with questions and advises him or her.
Expert Graduate Seminars
The fourth year features 1-credit seminars in which forensic experts address key issues in their fields.
Summer Project of Internship
After the fourth year, students engage in a summer research project mentored by a faculty member affiliated with the University or its partners. At this time, students may also participate in a summer internship experience with one of the University’s affiliated laboratories. This is in addition to the guaranteed internship offered in the Spring semester of the fifth year.
Admission to the 3+2 Accelerated Program
Students are reviewed for admission to the 3+2 program directly from high school. Students should indicate an interest in Forensic Science on the admissions application. Students that meet the minimum criteria for 3+2 admission will be contacted by Enrollment Management and asked to submit the 3+2 FS admission essay. Highly selective admissions criteria are used to select academically talented students capable of handling the accelerated schedule.
If you are currently enrolled or matriculating in a degree program, you will not be accepted into the 3 + 2 program; you may follow the 4+2 Forensic Science program leading to assured admission in Arcadia’s master’s program for qualified students.
Applicants must submit an essay of approximately 500 words that answers the following two questions:
What interests you in the field of forensic science?
The profile of a successful candidate for admission into the 3+2 Program
High school laboratory science courses in biology, chemistry and physics
Completion of Advanced Placement courses, if available
A college-prep math course in each year of high school
Combined SAT scores of at least 1290 (New SAT-Evidence-based Reading and Writing/Math) with a math score of at least 650, or 1800 (Old SAT-Critical Reading/Math/Writing) with a math score of at least 600, with no individual score below 600.
Students need a 3.0 cumulative GPA or better to be considered
At the completion of each semester of undergraduate study, students will be evaluated to ensure that they meet the qualifications to continue on in the accelerated degree program. These criteria include:
Maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better and a GPA of 3.0 in the major.
Have received no less than a “B-” in any of the science or math courses in the prerequisite major. If a C or C+ is earned in a required course, it may be repeated one time only with the Forensic Science Director’s permission. No additional Cs will be permitted in required coursework.
Third year at Arcadia
At the completion of the third year of undergraduate study, students will be evaluated to ensure that they meet the qualifications to begin graduate coursework. At this point the students must have met the following additional criteria:
Completed all major and Undergraduate Curriculum requirements with the exception of the following courses:
Earned at least 112 semester hours by the end of the third year.
Met with the Director of Forensic Science to discuss their intention to start the M.S.F.S program in Fall of the 4th year.
Students who meet these requirements are permitted to begin graduate coursework in their fourth year of study and enter into the Master of Science in Forensic Science program without having to take the GRE exam.
Students who do not meet these requirements can continue on with their undergraduate education in their fourth year and then apply to the M.S.F.S. program upon completion of their undergraduate degree following standard application requirements.
Transferring into the 4+2 Program
Since the 3+2 program is highly accelerated, students who choose to participate at the traditional pace may transfer to the 4+2 program, completing the undergraduate degree in four years while completing requirements for admission in the master’s program. Assured admission into the master’s program is available for select qualified 4+2 students.