Dr. Gardner explaining currency security measures to teens at the Avondale library. Dr. Gardner explaining currency security measures to teens at the Avondale library. Read about the event on CAS News.A complete program description and course descriptions are available in the UAB Graduate Catalog.

Requirements

Students in the MSFS program must complete 33 hours of coursework and 6 hours of research.

Students may substitute internships for 3-6 hours of coursework in their second year.

In addition to completing a series of forensic science courses, students in the MSFS program are required to take courses in chemical instrumental analysis, biochemistry, quantitative analysis, and recombinant DNA technology offered by the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biology. Students are encouraged to design a course of study (in consultation with their faculty advisor) with a specific concentration to meet their professional goals.

Levelling Courses

The following courses are required, but students who have taken the equivalent course as an undergraduate may opt out of one or more. Since we primarily accept students with biology and chemistry backgrounds, it is expected that applicants will have taken at least two of these courses as at the sophomore or above level:
Typical course description of a biochemistry course: Overview of biochemical principles; chemistry of aqueous solutions, biochemical building blocks including amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleotides; examination of metabolic pathways and enzymes that mediate catabolic and anabolic metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and nucleic acids. Application of clinical correlations of metabolism to human nutrition and disease.
Typical course description of a cellular and molecular cell biology course: Molecular and Cellular Biology I and II introduce the fundamental molecular processes that occur in living organisms. The seminars emphasize the structure and organization of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, DNA replication, gene expression and regulation, protein biochemistry, signal transduction and the extracellular matrix. Experimental techniques used to study the topics under discussion are emphasized with particular reference to the development of pharmaceuticals. Case studies illustrate the important concepts and show how breakdown in the proper functioning of these systems may lead to human disease.
  • Typical course description of an instrumental chemistry course: Focus on modern analytical chemistry instrumentation including chemical separations, spectroscopies (atomic absorption, infrared, UV-visible, fluorescence), mass spectroscopy, and thermal analysis.
  • The typical lab includes: Focus on modern analytical chemistry instrumentation including chemical separations, spectroscopies (atomic absorption, infrared, UV-visible, fluorescence), mass spectroscopy, and thermal analysis.
Typical course description of an quantitative chemistry course: Principles of analytical measurements, statistical and volumetric techniques, spectrophotometric analysis, and chromatography, with emphasis on equilibrium and applications. Lecture and laboratory.

Required Coursework

Discussion of drugs and poisons occurring in biological evidence, including the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of drugs and poisons, evidence collection and handling, selection of the most appropriate evidence, and analytical methods of detection. 3 hours.
Introduction to philosophical considerations and historic landmarks in the discipline; overview of major sub-disciplines in forensic science; examination of the role of expert witnesses and their importance. 3 hours.
Exploration of basic methodologies and approaches for identifying, collecting, and analyzing trace and pattern evidence, including an overview of microscopy. 3 hours.
Discussion of the isolation, identification, and quantification of commonly abused drugs and common poisons; interpretation of findings and correlation with legal applications. 3 hours.
Examination of biological evidence in crime laboratory, including identification of bloodstains and semen stains, and DNA typing of blood, bloodstains, and other body fluids. 3 hours.
Overview and examination of the legal aspects of physical evidence, including rules of evidence, procedural rules, and the role of expert witnesses. 3 hours.
Review, discussion, and presentation of forensic science research and literature; forensic science in the media and public opinion. 6 hours.
Independent study in a student's substantive area of interest under the direction of a faculty member. 6 hours.

Electives

Some of the electives you may take are:
Examination of advanced methods for the analysis of trace and pattern evidence. 3 hours
Discussion of current issues and trends in forensic DNA analysis, including advanced analysis of biological evidence samples. 3 hours
Discussion of relevant analyses conducted for drugs and poisons occurring in biological evidence; examination of the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of detected substances.
Students will gain a thorough understanding of basic analysis methods, elementary concepts, statistical models and applications of probability, commonly used sampling distributions, parametric and non-parametric one and two sample tests, confidence intervals, applications of analysis of two-way contingency table data, simple linear regression, and simple analysis of variance. Students are taught to conduct the relevant analysis using current software such as the Statistical Analysis System (SAS). 3 hours.
Logic and language of scientific methods in life science research; use of basic statistics in testing hypotheses and setting confidence limits. Simple and multiple regression and elementary experimental designs. No prerequisites but a familiarity with basic algebra is important. 4 hours.