Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

Graduate Program in Forensic Sciences:  Approved Courses

Registration and Upcoming Courses: Fall 2017 Courses

Course Information

A schedule of regular offerings is charted below. The semester list of course offerings may include additional classes.

Course # Course Title Term Offered

FRNS 5000^

Research and Thesis

Each semester

FRNS 5013*

Survey of Forensic Sciences


FRNS 5023*

Forensic Examination of Questioned Documents

Every other fall

FRNS 5033*

Forensic Handwriting Examination

As needed

FRNS 5043*

Technical Aspects of Forensic Document Examination

As needed

FRNS 5053*

Historical Aspects of Forensic Document Examination

As needed

FRNS 5063*

Ethical Research and Scientific Writing


FRNS 5073*

Quality Assurance in Forensic Sciences


FRNS 5083*

Ethics in Forensic Leadership

Every other spring

FRNS 5090

Internship in Forensic Sciences

Each semester

FRNS 5213*

Molecular Biology for the Forensic Scientist


FRNS 5242

Population Genetics


FRNS 5282

Methods in Forensic Sciences


FRNS 5323*

Forensic Microbiology

As needed

FRNS 5413*

Forensic Pathology and Medicine


FRNS 5422

Forensic Osteology and Anthropology


FRNS 5513*

Forensic Bioscience


FRNS 5523*

Forensic Toxicology


FRNS 5533*

Drug Toxicity

As needed

FRNS 5543*

Advanced Forensic Toxicology


FRNS 5613*

Criminalistics and Evidence Analysis


FRNS 5622

Advanced Criminalistics


FRNS 5653*

The Law and Expert Evidence


FRNS 5713*

Forensic Psychology


FRNS 5723

Advanced Forensic Psychology

As Needed

FRNS 5733

Forensic Victimology


FRNS 5743

Seminar in Forensic Psychology

As needed

FRNS 5943*

Forensic Management and Organizational Development

Every other spring

FRNS 5960

Forensic Problem Solving through Applied Research


FRNS 5980

Non-Thesis Creative Component in Forensic Sciences

Each semester

FRNS 5990

Special Topics in Forensic Sciences

As needed

# The last digit of the course number indicates the number of credit hours.  
* The asterisk indicates an online course; no campus attendance required.
^ Courses ending in zero vary in credit hours.  The FRNS 5000 Research course may be taken in 1- to 3-hour increments.

Course Descriptions

[Note: Arson and Explosives Investigation (AEI) courses are available at the AEI/CENFEX link]

FRNS 5000 Supervised Forensic Research Project and Thesis.  Prerequisite(s):  Consent of major advisor, 5063 Ethical Research and Scientific Writing (or equivalent course), and statistics course approved by advisor.  Research in forensic sciences for M.S. degree.  [Independent study, laboratory course] 

FRNS 5013 Survey of Forensic Sciences.  Provides an overview of various forensic sciences and their relation to presentation of evidence and problems of law.  Covers major areas and reviews current guidelines for quality assurance/control, and certification/accreditation.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5023 Forensic Examination of Questioned Documents.   Instructs students in functions of questioned document examiners, beyond document analysis to related services and issues.  Covers history of field, process for obtaining exemplars, types of document examination, collection/preservation of evidence, and courtroom procedures.  (This course does not train the student as a document examiner and does not certify or qualify the student to conduct questioned document analysis at the conclusion of the course.)  [Internet course]

FRNS 5033 Forensic Handwriting Examination:  Theory and Practice.  Prerequisite(s): FRNS 5023 Forensic Examination of Questioned Documents and approval of lead instructor in forensic document examination.  Theoretical and practical aspects of handwriting as forensic evidence.  Covers production of normal and false handwriting, variables in handwriting production, standards of comparison, identification theories, examination methodologies, expression of conclusions, characterization and validation of examiner skills, legal admissibility of handwriting expertise, and challenges to professional practice.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5043 Technical Aspects of Forensic Document Examination.   Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5023 Forensic Examination of Questioned Documents and approval of lead instructor in forensic document examination.   Basic theory in visual examination of questioned documents.  Includes visual and color theory, measuring tools, instruments, simple microscopy, and photographic techniques.  Also provides technical description, theory, operation, and practical use of various instrumentation used in the field such as the Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA) and Video Spectral Comparator (VSC).  [Internet course]

FRNS 5053 Historical Aspects of Forensic Document Examination. Course presents historical aspects of forensic document examination. It covers the development of handwriting, the acceptance of document examination expertise in Britain and North America, the early luminaries, and famous cases.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5063 Ethical Research and Scientific Writing.   Prerequisite(s):  Permission from research advisor.  Develops knowledge and skills for ethical scientific research, writing, and presentation.  Covers responsible conduct, organization and design of research around a scientific question, and writing problems specific to science and the individual.  Advisor guidance on some assignments required.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5073 Quality Assurance in Forensic Science.   Prerequisite(s):  Admission to the program.  Preparation for the forensic scientist to develop and implement quality assurance and quality control procedures to ensure the excellence of a laboratory.  Covers preparation of laboratory procedures and policies, use of appropriate standards and controls, and validation methods for establishing an effective quality assurance program in the laboratory. [Internet course]

FRNS 5083 Ethics in Forensic Leadership.  Focuses on leadership development for managers of forensic organizations, including examination of leadership and ethics theories, application of theories to problems in forensic settings, and tasks and relational skills for developing effective teams and groups within an ethical framework. [Internet course] 

FRNS 5090 Internship in Forensic Sciences. Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5073 Quality Assurance, initial course in chosen specialty, permission of Advisor and Program Director, and letter of agreement or contract with designated facility or laboratory.  Provides practical training and experience within a work or laboratory setting under the guidance of a designated supervisor.  This experience should complement graduate studies in the forensic sciences and support related career goals.  

FRNS 5213 Molecular Biology for the Forensic Scientist.  Prerequisite(s):  College-level biology.  Develops a solid foundation of knowledge in molecular biology for understanding the concepts of genetic marker analysis, especially DNA typing.  [Internet course] 

FRNS 5242 Population Genetics. Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5513 Forensic Bioscience.  Population genetics relevant to DNA analysis technologies to identify perpetrators of crime.  Includes foundation of statistical knowledge in forensic DNA analysis and family relatedness testing, history, and application of statistical and population genetic theory to assigning weight to matches in DNA profiles for the court.  Students will perform appropriate calculations in sample cases and interpret in layman’s terms.  [Meets on-campus]

FRNS 5282 Methods in Forensic Sciences.  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of the instructor.  Advanced-level laboratory course in which students apply knowledge from earlier coursework in a hands-on setting and employ fundamental techniques and methods related to forensic biology, forensic microbiology, forensic pathology, and forensic toxicology.  [Laboratory course]

FRNS 5323 Forensic Microbiology.  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of instructor; basic microbiology recommended.  Basic microbiologic techniques applied to actual forensic situations.  Includes rules of evidence applied to investigations with suspected use of microorganisms as bioterrorism agents.  Stresses recognition of biological agents, site sampling, and laboratory identification.  [Internet course]  

FRNS 5413 Forensic Pathology and Medicine. Prerequisite(s):  Consent of instructor.  Deals with medico-legal investigation of death and injury due to natural causes, accidents, and violence.  Covers analysis/investigation of transportation injuries, homicides/suicides due to various causes, rape, or injury; methods for identification; and guidelines for quality control/quality assurance. [Internet course]

FRNS 5422 Forensic Osteology and Anthropology. Prerequisite(s): Graduate student in Death Scene Investigator with completion of FRNS 5013, FRNS 5653 and FRNS 5431; or permission of the instructor. Osteology portion introduces anatomical features of bones that comprise the axial and appendicular components of the human skeleton and also considers histological structure and types of bone formation. Anthropology portion offers overview of methods for skeletal identification and trauma analysis. Laboratory session includes work with skeletal material and participation in an excavation.  [Meets on-campus]

FRNS 5513 Forensic Bioscience.  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5213 Molecular Biology or consent of instructor, college-level biology and chemistry.  Teaches concepts of identity testing, relating history, theory, application, and quality assurance concepts to the material presented.  Covers effects of identity testing in the laboratory.  Presents basic concepts in genetics and use in tracing origin of biological samples. [Internet course]

FRNS 5523 Forensic Toxicology.  Introduces fundamental aspects of forensic toxicology and emphasizes major subfields of postmortem forensic toxicology, human performance toxicology, and forensic drug testing.  Also examines methodologies and analytes associated with these three major subfields. [Internet course]

FRNS 5533 Drug Toxicity.  Introduces fundamental aspects of abused drugs from a toxicological perspective and examines major disciplines of toxicology.  Also covers basic principles of toxicology applied to different classes of commonly abused drugs. [Internet course]

FRNS 5543 Advanced Forensic Toxicology.  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5523 Forensic Toxicology.  Familiarizes the student with advanced aspects of forensic toxicology in view of current forensic toxicological trends.   Covers risk assessment principles, factors in pharmacokinetics, weapons of mass destruction, and integrating concepts with current applications. [Internet course] 

FRNS 5613 Criminalistics and Evidence Analysis.  Introduces crime investigation techniques and tools; analysis, operation, and function of laboratory; application of scientific concepts; instrumentation and microscopy; use of physical evidence; and guidelines for quality control/assurance and accreditation in the gathering of evidence.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5622 Advanced Criminalistics.  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5073 Quality Assurance in Forensic Sciences, FRNS 5616 Criminalistics and Evidence Analysis, FRNS 5653 Scientific Evidence, FRNS 5000 Research and Thesis, and basic coursework in the specialty area.  Examines practical aspects of criminalistics, duties of crime scene investigator, and techniques/procedures of crime scene processing.  Also covers law-enforcement/crime-lab relationships, evidence recovery, and investigation types.  One meeting is moot court session. [Laboratory course with collaboration, assigned times]

FRNS 5653 The Law and Expert Evidence.  Reviews of ways in which the law, particularly the law of evidence, affects the work of the forensic scientist.  Starts with the beginning of the case, most often the crime scene, and works through the legal process up through trial and including appeals and motions for a new trial.  Covers, at each stage, legal doctrines of interest to the forensic scientist, such as chain of custody, work product privileges, laying the proper foundation, exhibits, and the standards necessary to obtain a new trial.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5713 Forensic Psychology. Prerequisite(s):  Consent of instructor.  Introduction to the relationship between the disciplines of law and psychology by examining and contrasting the issues at the interface of both disciplines.  Covers legal terminology; criminal behavior; ethical, competency, defense, and testimony issues; insanity defense; polygraph testing; and the role and functioning of legal and mental health systems.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5723 Advanced Forensic Psychology.  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5713 Forensic Psychology.  Expands on topics covered in FRNS 5713 Forensic Psychology; also covers function of the mental health professional in criminal cases, nature and impact of mental illness on individual life and freedom, reasons behind crimes, gender differences in the criminal justice system, laws pertinent for mental health professionals.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5733 Forensic Victimology.  Prerequisite:  Permission from the instructor.   Introduction to victimology, emphasizing victims’ issues within the justice system and in medico-legal investigations.  Explores impact of crime on victim; correlations between types of victims; crime and offender categories, risk factors; victim-offender and victim-society relationships; the role of victimologist as a researcher and consultant; influences of media, law enforcement, advocacy groups, businesses, and social movements.  

FRNS 5743 Seminar in Forensic Psychology.  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of instructor.  Capstone seminar course for all subspecialty tracks in forensic psychology.  Builds upon prior coursework to prepare student for comprehensive final examination in area of specialization and provide a theoretical background suitable for research leading to publication, presentation, or a thesis or dissertation.  

FRNS 5943 Forensic Management and Organizational Development.  Prerequisite(s):  FRNS 5073 Quality Assurance in Forensic Science.  Application of managerial and organizational leadership skills to the demands of forensic sciences, including attention to the human resource/relations and development issues.  Attention also given to interagency cooperation, quality control/assurance, certification/accreditation issues, and internal security.  [Internet Course] 

FRNS 5960 Forensic Problem Solving through Applied Research. Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Examines mixed research methodologies and designs applicable to the forensic sciences. The course launches work toward a thesis or creative component, including development of a purpose statement, research question and/or hypothesis as well as construction of an introduction and literature review. 

FRNS 5963 Forensic Statistics. Survey of statistical methodology relevant to forensic scientists. Basic understanding of statistics presented in recent forensic literature. Hypothesis testing, ANOVA techniques, regression, categorical techniques. [Internet Course] [Other OSU statistics courses may be substituted with the approval of the track lead.]

FRNS 5970 Directed Readings in Forensic Sciences.  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of instructor and faculty advisor.  Provides guided reading under direction and supervision of the instructor; in-depth, independent study on an identified topic relative to the forensic sciences.  [Internet course]

FRNS 5980 Non-Thesis Creative Component in Forensic Sciences.  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of instructor and faculty advisor; FRNS 5063 Ethical Research and Scientific Writing (concurrent enrollment allowed)  Provides final-semester capstone experience for the non-thesis graduate student through independent research or project management. Culminates with presentation of results in writing and in a public forum, which may be via electronic delivery or in person.  

FRNS 5990 Special Topics in Forensic Sciences.  Prerequisite(s):  Permission of instructor and faculty advisor.  Provides for exploration on special topics in the forensic sciences.  Students gain an understanding at an advanced level of the particular topic presented. 

FRNS 5990 Special Topics in Forensic Sciences. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Provides for exploration on special topics in the forensic sciences. Students gain an understanding at an advanced level of the particular topic presented. 

Required Courses from Other Programs 

HCA 5023 Human Resources in Health Care and Public Administration.  Review, discuss, and analyze current issues, rules, practices, and governance of human resources in health care and public administration.  [Internet course available through OSU-Tulsa] [Required for Forensic Administration track only]

Coursework from other programs may substitute with approval of track lead and advisor.

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