Loyola University Maryland

Department of Forensic Science

Master of Science in Biological Forensics

Master of Science in Biological Forensics 

The Master of Science degree in Biological Forensics is distinctive in name and in the training offered, yet complementary to forensic pattern analysis. The degree can be completed in two years or students may pursue the program as part time students. The curricular path provides training in forensic entomology, forensic microbiology, forensic anthropology, biological forensics, veterinary and wildlife forensics, death investigation, DNA analysis, and fingerprints. In addition to developing a range of technical and specific skills to advance students' career options, this degree program will also enhance the broader development of students' skills in a manner consistent with Loyola's mission.

The attributes of a forensic science professional are consistent with those of a Loyola graduate: excellent oral and written communication skills; intellectual curiosity; use of interdisciplinary approaches; critical thinking skills; commitment to life-long learning; and strong moral and ethical character. No matter what task assigned, a forensic investigator seeks only for truth. These attributes are the hallmarks of a Jesuit education, and all students pursuing a degree in biological forensics would be required to develop and use these learning skills.

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Learning Aims

The MS program in Biological Forensics provides a framework for graduate students to explore ideas, concepts, technology, and professional practice in collection, processing, and analyzing biological and ecological evidence associated with a range of legal matters, especially in death and criminal investigations. Concomitantly it provides a solid foundation in forensic science and forensic studies complemented by rigorous focus on biological, chemical, and physical concepts and analytical thinking through coursework in biology, forensic science, and statistics. Students will also experience and receive training in professional and ethical approaches to forensic science, including critical and professional writing, presentation of results and expert testimony in court, and ethical and moral components of professional conduct as stewards of forensic science and criminal justice.

  1. Students will master current factual content, concepts, theoretical perspectives, and historical trends of different subfields of biological forensics and death investigation.
  2. Students will demonstrate proficiency in communicating effectively in a variety of formats, including verbal, written, and symbolic channels, relevant to forensic investigation and presentations in the judicial system.
  3. Students will develop an understanding of the moral and ethical issues surrounding crime and forensic investigation.
  4. Students will demonstrate a clear understanding of major concepts and techniques used in subfields of biological forensics and death investigation based on their ability to read, interpret, and critically evaluate primary literature; design experiments or conduct independent investigation to test ideas and hypotheses; and interpret data through statistical and graphical packages.
  5. Students will have received preparation in the professional, practical, and academic aspects of biological forensics to ensure that they would be highly desirable candidates for positions in the field.


Requirements for a major and an example of a typical program of courses are as follows:
The degree consists of 42-46 graduate credit hours, as follows:

Biological Forensic Foundation

  • FO 656/657 Biological Forensics and lab
  • FO 530 Criminalistics
  • FO 600 Crime Scene Investigation
  • FO 677 Death Investigation
  • FO 700 Statistics in Forensic Science

Ecological Evidence (select two courses)

  • FO 651 Forensic Entomology
  • FO 645 Veterinary and Wildlife Forensics
  • FO 680 Forensic Microbiology

Person’s Identification (select one course)

  • FO 610 Fingerprints
  • FO 715 Forensic Anthropology
  • FO 725 Forensic DNA Analysis

Technical Writing (select one course)

  • WR 625 Professional Writing
  • WR 626 Technical Writing

Electives (select three course) 9-11 credits

  • BL 628 Bioterrorism
  • FO 630 Biological and Forensic Science Laboratory Quality Assurance
  • FO 650 Forensic Pattern Evidence
  • FO 675 Mock trial in Forensic Pattern Evidence
  • FO 690 Topics in Forensic Science
  • FO 695 Crime Scene and Evidence Photography
  • FO 710 Advance Topics and Techniques in Fingerprints
  • FO 730 Intro to Forensic Business Management
  • FO 750 Forensic Cognitive Psychology
  • FO 752 Errors in Forensic Science and Wrongful Convictions
  • FO 781 Cold Case Investigations
  • FO 790 Biological Forensics Internship
  • FO 791 Biological Forensic Research
  • GB 705 Leading and Managing People
  • PL 611 Bioethics
  • ST 681 Probability and Statistics

Key:  Use for any additional information necessary regarding courses listed above. For examples, please visit the current Graduate or Undergraduate Catalogue.

Proposed Course Sequence

First Year

Fall Term

  • FO 530 Criminalistics or Person’s Identification elective
  • FO 656/657 Biological Forensics and lab
  • Professional Writing elective or Elective

Spring Term

  • FO 600 Crime Scene Investigation
  • Technical Writing elective or Ecological Evidence elective
  • Ecological Evidence elective or Person’s Identification elective or Elective

Second Year

Fall Term

  • FO 677 Death Investigation
  • Ecological Evidence elective or Person’s Identification or Elective
  • Elective (3/4) or Professional Writing elective

Spring Term

  • FO 700 Statistics in Forensic Science
  • Person’s Identification elective or Ecological Evidence elective
  • Technical Writing elective or Elective

Notes: Foundation courses will be offered every year, as well the technical writing courses. Ecological Evidence and Person’s Identification courses will be offered at least once every other year; more frequently depending on student enrollments. Most elective courses will be offered every year.

Contact Us

We hope that you will explore our program. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at:

Graduate Admissions

Theresa Allen
Director of Program Operations
Forensic Science Graduate Programs

Alan Thoms-Chesley, Ph.D.
M.S. Biological Forensics



Theresa Nguyen

Theresa Nguyen, Ph.D.

Dr. Nguyen attributes her success as a scientist and as a professor to her Jesuit education

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