Forensic Science Program

College of Pharmacy
masthead

About the M.S. Program

   UIC offers a unique opportunity for accomplished students with strong undergraduate training in chemistry and the basic sciences to earn a Master of Science degree in forensic science. The forensic science program is located in the College of Pharmacy, an environment of well-developed scientific infrastructure, research orientation, and significant expertise in drug chemistry and toxicology. The M.S. forensic science program is fully accredited by FEPAC (the Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation Commission). Within the College, there are four Ph.D. programs besides this stand-alone M.S. in forensic science.

    The Forensic Science Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago has graduated nearly 170 students since 1998. The graduation rate is over 90% of those who began the program. Of those completing the program, 73% have found employment with forensic science laboratories across the country at all levels of government and in private laboratories. Another 7% have gone on to Ph.D. programs. Graduates totaling 7% have reported employment in fields other than forensic science and the remaining 13% are unknown as of this writing.

   We are also positioned to take maximal advantage of the proximity of the other health care related and professional colleges. UIC's program has established and enjoys cooperative relationships with the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Command (especially the Forensic Science Center at Chicago), and the McCrone Research Institute (MRI). The Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center at Chicago (and the Cook County medical examiner's facility) are located within a few blocks of the UIC west campus. The McCrone Research Institute is an internationally recognized educational and training facility devoted to all aspects of microscopy. Along with ISP, MRI, and other agencies such as DEA and IRS who maintain laboratories in Chicago, we work together to make this Chicago consortium a major, national education, research and training center in forensic science. The UIC Forensic Science Group additionally operates an animal forensic toxicology laboratory located close to the UIC west campus. This laboratory conducts post-race drug testing on the winning race horses from all tracks in Illinois according to rules and guidelines established by the Illinois Racing Board.

  Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center.   The Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center at Chicago is the seventh and largest lab in the ISP system. It is also the second largest public forensic lab in the U.S. Through a unique, special cooperative arrangement with the ISP Forensic Science Command, there are various opportunities for students to do projects, internships, and other activities in the ISP Forensic Science Center as part of their M.S. program. Throughout their studies, students have the benefit of instruction from personnel actively working in the field at the laboratory. Historically, the ISP has offered forensic science lab positions to many of our qualified students, and many still work for the command. ISP has an international reputation for excellence in its training programs, and students benefit enormously from this association.

    The University of Illinois at Chicago is a comprehensive public university, and is one of the three campuses of the University of Illinois (the others are at Urbana-Champagne and Springfield). UIC is the largest institution of higher education in the Chicago area, and is dedicated to the land grant university tradition of research, teaching and public service. UIC offers over 90 undergraduate, over 90 masters, and 52 doctoral programs through its 14 academic colleges and professional schools. UIC was formed in 1982 by the merger of the two campuses formerly known as the University of Illinois at the Medical Center and the University of Illinois - Chicago Circle Campus. Today, UIC has an enrollment of around 25,000, including over 8,000 graduate and professional students. The campus has about 80 buildings occupying over 185 acres about a mile from Chicago's Loop. UIC is one of a select group of institutions classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research I University. The College of Pharmacy, which houses the Forensic Science Program, was founded in 1859, and became part of the University of Illinois in 1897. The M.S. program in forensic science was called "criminalistics" for much of its history, and it was originally located in the Department of Criminal Justice. Since 1994, the program has been in the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences of the College of Pharmacy.

  Our American system of law and justice is based upon the faith and confidence of citizens that justice is the end result of the operations of the civil and criminal justice systems. If this confidence is ever lost, it would be difficult for our free, democratic form of government to survive. It is essential, therefore, that scientific and technical knowledge be employed wherever possible in the search for truth in criminal, civil, regulatory and social-behavioral situations which involve the rule of law. One of the most important contributions of the forensic sciences is in helping to insure that justice is done, and thereby helping to maintain confidence of the citizenry in the justice system. It can also sometimes help to restore that confidence in situations where there have been real or apparent miscarriages of justice.

  Forensic science is a broad field in which physical, biological, medical and even behavioral sciences are utilized to analyze and evaluate physical evidence, and sometimes people, in relation to matters of the law. In the broadest sense, the forensic sciences encompass forensic medicine, psychiatry, psychology, dentistry, anthropology, entomology, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, toxicology, along with fingerprint technologies, questioned documents, firearms and toolmark examination, and other pattern analyses. Criminalistics is a branch of forensic science, generally seen as encompassing those analyses typically carried out in forensic science laboratories. The forensic science program at UIC is designed to provide graduate education and advanced training for men and women who plan to seek careers in criminalistics.

Most criminalists are employed in federal, state, county or local forensic science laboratories. The program provides solid preparation for employment in the nation's forensic science laboratories, or in a public or private laboratory doing forensic toxicology work. The program can also provide suitable preparation for doctoral-level study in one of the basic or applied science fields. This program is neither appropriate nor recommended for students interested in forensic medicine, odontology, or anthropology, nor in psychological profiling, law enforcement, or in crime scene investigation work.