M.S. in Forensic Biology

Overview

The University at Albany, in partnership with the New York State Police, offers a Master’s Degree in Forensic Biology. With the rapid development and advances in modern molecular biology as well as the precision and accuracy required for the field, forensic science agencies are using state-of-the-art technology for DNA identification and kinship analysis, as well as missing persons and mass disaster casework.

Since 2003, we have graduated over 100 students from our M.S. in Forensic Biology program with the overwhelming majority of graduates employed as full-time forensic scientists in public or private accredited laboratories. We expect this hiring trend to continue since the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected employment of forensic scientists to grow 27 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Recent Additions

We currently educate and train our students using the Applied Biosystems (ABI) 7500 Real-Time PCR System, a 3130XL Genetic Analyzer and GeneMapper® ID Software.

Recently, the Department of Biological Sciences hired two full-time faculty to instruct the required and elective forensic science coursework. We have also received funds to expand our hands-on training in forensic chemistry and toxicology, trace and pattern evidence, and instrumental and biochemical analysis. You will complete your experiments with the same methodology and instrumentation commonly used in today’s accredited forensic science laboratories.

For example, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, headspace chromatography, immunoassay, and liquid and solid phase extraction will be used to forensically analyze and interpret drug chemistry and toxicological substances; whereas you will perform DNA profiling with the recently released Applied Biosystems SeqStudio Genetic Analyzer and mixture analysis through GeneMapper® ID-X Software.

Careers

The program's strong emphasis on the theories and current techniques in forensic biology is designed to prepare you for a scientific career in various forensic science and conventional analytical laboratories. The overwhelming majority of our graduates have been successfully hired as forensic scientists by agencies throughout the world. Some of our graduates were promoted recently as laboratory supervisors or directors; others have gone on to complete a doctoral or law degree.

As a newly hired forensic scientist in an accredited forensic science laboratory, you will normally have to undergo a background check. Depending on the agency or laboratory, the background check may include a polygraph exam, fingerprinting and drug screening.

Applications are submitted through the Office of Graduate Education and are reviewed when completed. Since a limited number of slots are available, the later the application the less likely it is to receive full consideration. No applications for the Fall semester are considered after August 1.

More information about the program can be found in the University at Albany Graduate Bulletin.