Ph.D. in Forensic Science

Program Description | Admission | Degree Requirements | Degree Plans | Courses

Program Description

The Doctor of Philosophy in Forensic Science is an interdisciplinary science degree that is designed to provide students with the critical thinking ability, problem-solving skills, and advanced, discipline-specific knowledge to allow them to advance into leadership positions. This is accomplished by demonstrating the ability to perform independent, original research, the successful completion of multidisciplinary academic coursework, hands-on experience in the laboratory, and collaboration with accredited forensic laboratories, institutes and partners.

The PhD in Forensic Science requires the completion of 86 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree. Students complete a total of 45 credit hours of core coursework, a minimum of 15 credit hours of dissertation research and an additional 26 credit hours of electives. The curriculum is designed to deliver an essential core curriculum in forensic science, together with specialized electives and intensive research in the area of interest. Students are expected to fulfill the requirements during four to five years of full-time study.

Program Breakdown
Degree Type Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Length 86 Credit Hours
Enrollment Fall
Tuition/Costs Rates Per Semester

Admission Requirements

  1. Graduate Admissions Application
  2. Application Fee
  3. Bachelor's degree in chemistry or biology; or a bachelor’s degree in forensic or natural science with the equivalent of a minor in either chemistry or biology
  4. Official transcript(s) from degree granting institution(s)
  5. Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  6. Graduate GPA of 3.5 or higher
  7. Program Application
  8. Personal statement, not to exceed 1000 words
  9. Three letters of recommendation in addition to the Admission Recommendation Checklist. A minimum of two letters must be from faculty who are sufficiently acquainted with the student to comment on potential for success in the doctoral program
  10. Current resume or vita
  11. Official GRE scores
  12. In some instances, a personal interview may be requested.

Degree Requirements

The program requires the completion of a minimum of eighty-six hours of graduate credit, as prescribed in the plan below.

Students must register full-time and maintain a 3.0 grade point average in all courses. In order to advance to candidacy students must successfully complete forty-four graduate credit hours of coursework and research, submit a portfolio for review, write a formal research proposal and orally defend the proposal by the close of the second spring semester. Once the doctoral program committee determines that the portfolio, proposal and defense are satisfactory, the student may enroll in dissertation credits.

A minimum of fifteen hours of dissertation credits are required and students must maintain continuous enrollment until they graduate. Students must complete and defend a doctoral dissertation, which is the product of original scholarly research and is of sufficient publishable quality to represent a meaningful contribution to knowledge in the field of forensic science.

Degree Plan

* FORS 6014 Forensic Science Research must be taken twice for a total of six credit hours.
** FORS 6371 Forensic Science Internship must be taken twice for a total of six credit hours.
*** Once enrolled in FORS 8099 Dissertation, students must enroll in this course every semester until graduation.
Doctor of Philosophy in Forensic Science
Course Name Hours
Required Courses (45 credit hours)
FORS 5116 Seminar in Forensic Science 1
FORS 5117 Controlled Substance Analysis 1
FORS 5226 Law and Forensic Sciences 2
FORS 5335 Trace Evidence and Microscopic Analysis 3
FORS 5360 Pattern and Physical Evidence Concepts 3
FORS 5440 Forensic Biology 4
FORS 5445 Forensic Instrumental Analysis 4
FORS 5446 Forensic Toxicology 4
FORS 6014 Forensic Science Research* 3
FORS 6224 Quality Assurance in Forensic Science 2
FORS 6371 Forensic Science Internship** 3
FORS 7331 Research Methods 3
FORS 7332 Scientific Communications 3
FORS 7390 Forensic Laboratory Management 3
Electives (26 credit hours) Choose twenty-six credit hours from:
Graduate courses in FORS, CRIJ, BIOL, or CHEM 26
Dissertation (15 credit hours)
FORS 8099 Dissertation*** 15
Total Credit Hours 86


Forensic Science (FORS)
Criminal Justice (CRIJ)
Biology (BIOL)
Chemistry (CHEM)
Psychology (PSYC)

Return to top

Sam Houston State Logo

Sam Houston State University | Huntsville, Texas 77341 | (936) 294-1111 | (866)BEARKAT Member TSUS
© Copyright Sam Houston State University | All rights reserved. | Contact Web Editor