MS in Biomedical Forensic Sciences
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The Biomedical Forensic Sciences (BMFS) program trains aspiring and midcareer professionals in a variety of forensic disciplines applied to crime scene investigation and evidence analysis. Professionals trained in these disciplines are crucial to today’s comprehensive forensic investigations. Completing this degree will qualify graduates to work as forensic scientists, DNA analysts, chemists, death investigators, and crime scene responders at the local, state, and federal levels. The MS in Biomedical Forensic Sciences is a FEPAC-accredited graduate program. FEPAC (Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Committee) maintains and enhances the quality of forensic science education through a formal evaluation of college-level academic programs. The primary function of the committee is to develop and maintain standards and to administer an accreditation program that recognizes and distinguishes high-quality undergraduate and graduate forensic science programs.
Forensic Science Education at the Boston University School of Medicine
All of our faculty remain actively involved in casework and commonly utilize their own experience to teach students about science and the application of science to the law.
The forensic curriculum and courses at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) are specially developed for forensic science education. A significant number of courses are designed such that there is a laboratory or practical component included. This ensures that our students obtain a significant amount of hands-on experience not available through lecture classes alone. The master’s degree program is a 38-credit program that can be completed in two years.
The BMFS program is housed in the Boston University School of Medicine, and the master’s degree awarded is an MS in Biomedical Forensic Sciences from the Boston University School of Medicine. Therefore, our students primarily take courses and perform research in BUSM facilities and laboratories.
Our criminal law classes (Criminal Law I and II) are taught by practicing attorneys. This allows our students to get a real sense of expert testimony while receiving advice and expertise from the attorneys who regularly practice direct and cross examination.
All students actively engage in independent research. Experience gained through this endeavor has allowed our students not only to present at conferences and publish in journals, but also to develop expertise in a field of study not accessible through courses alone.
These requirements, experiences, and in-depth laboratory practice are what allow us to offer high-quality, graduate-level, research-grade, forensic science education to MS students at BUSM.
Students graduating with an MS in Biomedical Forensic Sciences are expected to:
- Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the applications of biology and chemistry to the collection and analysis of forensic evidence.
- Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of specific laboratory processes and procedures, acquired from the program-required laboratory courses in two chosen disciplines of interest, that includes a practical demonstration of competency in the technical procedures, data interpretation, and reporting of results.
- Show an in-depth understanding of the interface between science and law and their ethical obligations related to examination of evidence and role as an expert witness.
- Produce a written thesis that demonstrates the application of the scientific process through use of critical thinking applied to project experimental design and data analysis.
- Participate in a portfolio of professional development activities that include attendance at seminars, participation in regional and/or national forensic science meetings, or internship activities.
- Criminal Law and Ethics (FS 700, 2 cr)
- Crime Scene Investigation (FS 701, 3 cr)
- Forensic Biology (FS 702, 3 cr)
- Forensic Chemistry (FS 703, 3 cr)
- Trace Evidence Analysis (FS 707, 3 cr)
- Molecular Biology of Forensic DNA Analysis (FS 720, 3 cr)
- Criminal Law II-Mock Court (FS 800, 2 cr)
- Forensic Toxicology (FS 830, 3 cr)
- Directed Research and Professionalism in Biomedical Forensic Sciences (FS 870, 2 cr)
- Research in Biomedical Forensic Sciences (FS 970 and/or 971, 2 cr)
Forensic Laboratory Courses
Each student is required to complete 4 credits of laboratory coursework. The BMFS program offers the following laboratory courses throughout the year.
- Forensic Instrumental Analysis Laboratory (FS 708, 2 cr)
- Forensic Biology Laboratory (FS 704, 2 cr)
- Forensic DNA Analysis Laboratory (FS 721, 2 cr)
- Forensic Toxicology Laboratory (FS 831, 2 cr)
- Pattern Evidence Analysis (FS 706, 2 cr)
- Forensic Pathology and Medicolegal Death Investigation (FS 715, 2 cr)
- Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (FS 713, 2 cr)
- Advanced Topics in DNA Analysis (FS 730, 2 cr)
- Analysis of Controlled Substances (FS 740, 2 cr)
- Advanced Topics in Forensic Chemistry (FS 803, 2 cr)
- Case Practicum in Forensic Biology-DNA (FS 840, 2 cr)
- Internship in Biomedical Forensic Sciences (FS 871, 2 cr)
- Publication and Communication of Research in Biomedical Forensic Sciences (FS 971, 2 cr)
- Ignitable Liquids and Explosives (FS 735, 2 cr)
Students may choose to focus their elective courses and thesis research on one general scientific area (e.g., forensic biology/DNA, forensic chemistry/toxicology, or forensic medicine/death investigation). If a student completes a designated Specialty Track curriculum and passes a topic-specific competency exam, the achievement will appear on their transcript.
All BMFS students must pass a general competency exam to graduate. This achievement will appear on student transcripts.