Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


Graduate School of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Edna Meisel

Second Advisor

L. Eric Lassiter

Third Advisor

Ronald Childress

Fourth Advisor

Pamela Staton


The National Institute of Justice (1999) and the National Academy of Sciences (2009) recommended that forensic science training shift from on-the-job training to formal education. However, the reports cited inconsistencies in the curricula of the forensic science degree programs as an impediment to this. The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) Standards were created to address this issue; however, no studies have been conducted to determine how the accreditation standards have been implemented by the FEPAC accredited graduate programs. This study evaluated the self-study responses (n=11) and website information (n=17) specific to FEPAC’s Graduate Curriculum Standards to determine how the graduate programs fulfilled the FEPAC Graduate Curriculum Standards. This study also determined to what extent inconsistencies or consistencies exist among the accredited graduate programs’ curricula. This study found that although FEPAC Accredited Graduate Forensic Science Programs exhibited differences (unique characteristics) among their curricula, they did not as whole exhibit significant inconsistencies (lack of agreement). All the graduate programs covered the natural sciences particularly as the areas related to forensic science, such as forensic chemistry and forensic biology. However, the programs’ coverage of the comparative sciences, such as firearms and questioned documents was limited. Evaluation of the eleven FEPAC self-study reports revealed that on average these programs exceeded the required ten instructional hours specified by FEPAC as core forensic science topics required of all accredited graduate forensic science programs. All programs in this study required students to complete an independent research project as their capstone experience whether thesis or non-thesis. Additionally, all programs included a requirement for students to attend a graduate seminar where students presented their independent research findings. Admissions requirements were similar for all programs with the exception of the prerequisite courses required for entry into the graduate program. The study found the FEPAC Accredited Graduate Forensic Science Programs’ curricula consistent with unique characteristics among the graduate programs. The curricula were rigorous, scientific-based, and discipline specific.


Universities and colleges -- Accreditation.

Forensic sciences -- Study and teaching (Higher)