Forensic Science Graduate Program Earns Accreditation


The master’s degree in Forensic Science at Sam Houston State University was recently accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

The Commission gathered in February at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo., to decide which university programs would be granted academic accreditation.

Sam Houston State University was the only program to receive full five-year accreditation this year. The Master of Science in Forensic Science Program now joins seven other forensic science graduate programs nationally that meet the standard of full accreditation.

FEPAC’s mission is to maintain and enhance the quality of forensic science education through a formal evaluation and recognition of college-level academic programs. The primary function of the Commission is to develop, to maintain rigorous standards, and to administer an accreditation program that recognizes and distinguishes high quality undergraduate and graduate forensic science programs.

The College of Criminal Justice and the College of Arts and Sciences at SHSU collaborated to create the program in 2001. In 2006 the program underwent a major overhaul, including the introduction of almost a dozen new courses, hiring new faculty, relocation to a state-of-the art Chemistry and Forensic Sciences Building, and investment in scientific equipment found in crime labs.

Students complete core course work in all the major forensic disciplines including trace evidence, toxicology, drugs, DNA, crime scene investigation, fingerprints, blood spatter and more. They also complete graduate-level courses in quality assurance, ethics, and law; complete a full time internship at a crime laboratory and conduct research.

“Our graduates are well prepared for successful careers in forensic science,” said Sarah Kerrigan, program director and former crime lab director. “Of 13 students that graduated from the program in 2008, 12 of them have found jobs in forensic science.

“The employment rate for graduates in 2007 was 90 percent, and in 2006 was 100 percent,” she said. “To date, 70percent of the program’s graduates are employed in government crime labs (federal, state, county or city), while the remainder find work in private sector forensic labs or research.”

The program at SHSU offers core forensic science faculty with expertise and real-world experience such as forensic biologist David Gangitano, forensic anthropologist Joan Bytheway and forensic chemist Jorn Yu. The Master of Science in Forensic Science Program at Sam Houston State University is the only fully accredited graduate program in Texas, and one of only a handful across the United States.

For more information regarding the Master’s in Forensic Science Program, contact Kerrigan at 936.294.4286 or



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SHSU Media Contacts: Raegan Castillo
June 17, 2009
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