Mission / Vision


Our mission is to continuously improve and enhance the practice of forensic science through innovative teaching, research and service.


The Department of Forensic Science at SHSU envisions a future where institutes of higher education and forensic science service providers work in partnership to improve and strengthen forensic science and the criminal justice system as a whole.

  • MS Program Mission

    Our mission is to provide Master of Science in Forensic Science students the knowledge, skills and abilities to prepare them for successful careers in forensic science. This mission is accomplished through academic coursework, hands-on experience in the laboratory, research and the completion of an internship in a forensic science laboratory.

    Our overall program goals are:

    • To provide full support combined with continual improvement in the quality of education, scholarship and service in compliance with the mission of the university
    • To develop an understanding of the areas of knowledge that are essential to forensic science
    • To provide students with the practical skills, knowledge and problem solving abilities that will promote their advancement within the field of forensic science

    We try to meet these goals by having specific, well defined and measurable objectives wherever possible:

    • Students will command detailed competence of core course material in forensic science
    • Students will acquire practical skills in forensic science and apply this knowledge
    • Students will be oriented in professional values, concepts, ethics and problem solving
    • Students will demonstrate integration of knowledge and skills necessary for future success in the field of forensic science.
  • PhD Program Mission

    The educational objectives and mission of the PhD in Forensic Science are to provide students with the critical thinking ability, problem-solving skills, and advanced, discipline-specific knowledge to allow them to advance into leadership positions.

    This will be accomplished by demonstrating the ability to perform independent, original research, the successful completion of multidisciplinary academic coursework, hands-on experience in the laboratory, and collaboration with accredited forensic laboratories, institutes and partners

    Educational objectives

    1. Provide students the knowledge, skills and abilities to prepare them for successful careers in forensic science.
    2. Develop students' critical thinking ability, problem-solving skills and advanced discipline-specific knowledge.
    3. Produce high quality graduates capable of advancement into leadership positions.
    4. Engage in collaborative research that demonstrates industrial relevance and wider scientific awareness.


The Master of Science in Forensic Science degree program is a unique and interdisciplinary program, which was the first of its kind in Texas, founded in 2001. In 2009, the MSFS program received full accreditation from the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

The MSFS is a two-year, full-time, non-thesis, graduate program. Students must complete 44 graduate semester hours of coursework covering a range of forensic science topics.

The PhD is a four to five-year, full-time, dissertation required, graduate program. Students complete 43 credit hours of core coursework, a minimum of 15 hours of dissertation and an additional 28 credit hours of electives for a total of 86 credit hours.

Students in the MSFS program at Sam Houston State University are eligible to apply to transfer their credits into the PhD program upon completion of their 2nd year of coursework.

Topics include core courses, complemented by advanced electives, research and internship, and intensive laboratory instruction:

  • Controlled Substance Analysis
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Firearms and Toolmarks
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Biology
  • Forensic Instrumental Analysis
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Law in Forensic Science
  • Pattern and Physical Evidence
  • Quality Assurance and Ethics
  • Questioned Documents
  • Trace Evidence and Microscopic Analysis