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Syracuse University launches new master’s program in forensic science
Syracuse University launches new master’s program in forensic scienceAugust 18, 2008SU News ServicesSUnews@syr.edu
Contrary to how it is portrayed on fictional TV series, the field of forensic science incorporates a wide range of disciplines from medicine and the sciences to the social sciences, humanities and law. That broad-based approach to the field underpins Syracuse University’s new master’s degree program in forensic science in The College of Arts and Sciences, the only program of its kind in Upstate New York and among a small number of forensic science master’s programs nationwide.
The new program is one of the largest graduate-level collaborative efforts at the University, involving four schools and colleges (The College of Arts and Sciences, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the College of Law and the College of Human Ecology) joining with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Upstate Medical University and the Wallie Howard Jr. Center for Forensic Sciences in Syracuse, which will provide fieldwork opportunities for students.
“Our new master’s program in forensic science exemplifies a culture of collaboration that is so essential for providing our students the best that Syracuse University has to offer,” says George Langford, dean of SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “The program builds on the inherent strengths within our University and on our growing relationships with major institutions within the Syracuse community. These synergies provide us a unique opportunity to develop a forensic science program of national stature and recognition.”
The 34-credit master’s program of study is designed to offer students both a global perspective and an opportunity for in-depth forensics study at the graduate level. In addition to the required forensics courses, the program offers students opportunities to enroll in advanced courses in chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, math and linguistics in The College of Arts and Sciences; advanced anthropology courses in Maxwell; forensic evidence and related courses in the College of Law; and courses that focus on social behavior in the College of Human Ecology.
Among the unique aspects of the program is the requirement that all students take a semester-long seminar called Practicum in Forensic Science, to be taught by Onondaga County Chief Medical Examiner Mary Jumbelic and SU faculty. The seminar combines forensics theory and practice and requires students to spend part of their time in the crime lab at the Wallie Howard Jr. Center for Forensic Sciences, visiting actual crime scenes and the morgue.
“This new partnership between SU and our office will help advance the important goal of professionalizing death investigation, as well as provide well-trained forensic scientists for a high-demand job market,” Jumbelic says.
Recruitment efforts for the new master’s program will begin in fall 2008; the first class will be enrolled in fall 2009. In addition to attracting full-time graduate students who are interested in a career in forensic science, the master’s program is expected to attract mid-career professionals in such allied fields as criminal justice and law enforcement, law, medicine, journalism and education, among others. To ensure that the program is accessible to part-time students, some courses will be offered in the evening.
The College of Arts and Sciences also offers a forensic science minor for undergraduate students. Additionally, SU Project Advance offers an undergraduate introductory forensic science course for high school students. Project Advance is a partnership between SU and high schools that provides qualified high school seniors the opportunity to enroll in SU courses for credit. The introductory forensic science course currently has one of the largest enrollments of any SU course offered through Project Advance, with 125 high school teachers working with the program.
“It has been exciting to watch the collaborative development of the forensic science program at SU, which has involved various departments and colleges and also included meaningful connections to a rich community of experts in the region,” says Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric Spina. “It has been especially gratifying to see SU be among the leaders in defining a highly rigorous curriculum for the burgeoning field of forensics, an area that is very attractive to young people.”
Further information about the forensic science master’s program is available by contacting the Department of Chemistry at 315-443-2925.