Sequencing machine in the UAlbany Forensic Chemistry lab

Master of Science 

Forensic Biology

Program of Study

Through coursework and labs in areas like toxicology, forensic chemistry and interpretation of DNA evidence, you will learn how to assist law enforcement with DNA identification and kinship analysis, as well as missing persons and mass-disaster casework.

You will receive instruction from a team of interdisciplinary and experienced faculty and researchers as well as other experts in the forensic science and criminal justice community.

Required Courses in Biology

  • Biotechnology Laboratory
  • Responsible Conduct and Skills in Research
  • Responsible Conduct and Skills in Scientific Communication
  • Current Literature in Forensic Biology I
  • Human Population Genetics
  • Advanced Molecular Biology
  • Forensic Biology Laboratory
  • Forensic Science
  • Courtroom Testimony for Forensic Scientists
  • Graduate Research Seminar (two semesters)
  • Students who have not had an undergraduate course in Genetics, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Immunology will be required to take the appropriate undergraduate or graduate courses

Internship: (6 credits): Satisfactory completion of an internship in forensic biology laboratory and written report.

Electives (6 credits). Choose two:

  • Cell Biology I and II
  • Biochemistry and Biomolecular Structure
  • Principles of Bioinformatics
  • Molecular Neurobiology
  • Instrumental and Biochemical Analysis
  • Forensic Biology II
  • Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology
  • Interpretation of DNA Evidence


Supporting Courses (8-12 credits)

  • Principles of Statistical Inference or Applied Statistics
  • Law and Science in Criminal Justice
  • Other courses in mathematics or statistics, business, biology, chemistry, psychology, and criminal justice as advised

Satisfactory completion of core and final examinations in biology. The written internship report will serve as the final examination.


See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Arati Iyengar at


Applied Learning

UAlbany has a unique and collaborative relationship with the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center that gives you direct access to forensic science expertise.  Through this connection and our program faculty you will have the opportunity to secure competitive internships, giving you even more practical experience in research and training. 

Students have recently completed their internships at the following forensic science laboratories, research laboratories, or academic institutions: Albany Medical College; Bode Technology Group; Consolidated Forensic Laboratory in Washington, D.C.; Erie County Department of Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory; General Electric; Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department; Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C.; Monroe County Crime Laboratory; New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner; New York State Department of Health; New York State Police; New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center; ReliaGene Technologies; Suffolk County Crime Laboratory; University at Albany Department of Biological Sciences; University at Albany School of Public Health; Westchester County Forensic Laboratory.



Researchers working in the UAlbany Forensic Chemistry lab


Career Outcomes

The majority of our graduates are currently employed as full-time forensic scientists in accredited laboratories throughout the world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment opportunities in the field of forensic science will grow 27 percent from 2014 to 2024.

A master's in forensic biology can help you launch a career in either public or private sectors as a: Forensic biologist, Detective, Toxicologist, Analytical chemist, Laboratory director, Police consultant.

The degree can also be used as a step in continuing education, as you can go on to pursue a doctorate in law or another related field.


Students working in the UAlbany Forensic Chemistry lab

"I have known that I wanted to work in the field of forensic science since I was in high school, but never quite knew the steps needed to accomplish this goal. University at Albany gave me the opportunity to meet this goal in many ways. The program provides each student one-on-one instruction with full-time forensic scientists, implementing DNA and methodical theory, and hands-on training. Students are encouraged to expand their understanding of the criminal justice system, and participate in courtroom testimony. I would not be in the position I am today without the guidance and foundation this program has provided me."

- Samantha Loucks, Former graduate student and Forensic Scientist with the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center

International Students

This degree is designated as a STEM program. Upon graduation, international students with an F-1 visa are allowed to apply for a 2-year extension to the automatic 1-year post-graduate Occupational Practical Training (OPT) period.

Admissions Requirements

Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: January 15
  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: Not Available

 No Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: Rolling
  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: Not Available
Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Goals

The statement is generally one to two pages discussing what you have to offer the program and what you wish to get out of the program.  It should include a brief description of the applicant's field of interest, related background, desired area of study and research emphasis or career goals. 

Special Notes

This program requires an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience requirement. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions.  If applicants have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of the intended academic program.

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Master of Science
  • Demonstrate breadth of knowledge in other forensic science disciplines.
  • Assess effective oral and written communication skills.
  • Develop a proficiency in both Excel software and database management programs.
  • Demonstrate both a theoretical and practical knowledge of Forensic Biology.
  • Show a general understanding of molecular biology, genetics, quality assurance, ethics, law and bio-techniques.