Frequently Asked Questions

CURRICULUM

What degree is awarded upon completion of the BMFS program?

The degree awarded is a M.S. degree in Biomedical Forensic Sciences from the Boston University School of Medicine.

How much is tuition?

For the current academic year (2013-2014), tuition at the Graduate School is $1374 per credit. A total of 38 credit hours are required for the M.S. Therefore the total cost of tuition for the BMFS program is approximatley $52,000.

Can I focus my studies in a particular area of forensic science?

If desired, students may tailor their choice of elective courses toward one of three specialty tracks: Forensic Biology-DNA Analysis or Forensic Chemistry-Trace Evidence Analysis. Students who successfully complete one of the specialized tracks will receive an official letter stating such, however, the degree awarded will be the same as those students who do not choose to specialize.

What does the program curriculum consist of?

38 credits consisting of 8 core courses, 2 lab courses, 2 to 4 elective courses and a thesis project. Please see  course curriculum for more details. In addition, each student will be required to pass a competency examination near the end of the program.

How long does it take to complete the program? Can students attend part-time?

Most of our students complete the program in 21 to 33 months. This is largely dependent on whether or not the student takes courses during the summer semester, is a part-time or full-time student and the scope of the student’s thesis project.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

What employment opportunities are available for recent graduates in forensic sciences? What is the average income for new graduates in this field?

For information about potential salaries and employment opportunities for new graduates in forensic sciences please visit the websites for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (www.aafs.org), the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (www.ascld.org) or the International Association of Identification (www.theiai.org) and go to their employment opportunities section.

Does the BMFS program provide any employment opportunities for students?

Opportunities to work part-time as laboratory assistants in the fields of forensic chemistry, DNA, biology, crime scene investigation and bloodstain pattern analysis are available throughout the academic year.

ADMISSIONS

What are the requirements for admission?

All applicants are required to complete the Graduate Record Examination and possess a baccalaureate degree in a biological, natural or engineering science from an accredited university. If an applicant’s baccalaureate degree is in another discipline, he/she will be considered for admission if all of the following courses have been successfully completed:

1 semester of General Biology

1 semester Cell/Molecular Biology or Biochemistry or Genetics

2 semesters of General Chemistry

2 semesters of Organic Chemistry

1 Biology laboratory course

1 Chemistry laboratory course

Which GRE test is required as part of the application?

The general GRE test is required. We do not require students to take a GRE subject test. The institution code for Boston University School of Medicine is 3251.

What are the GRE scores and GPA of a typical applicant who is accepted into the program?

Strong applicants will at least have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and GRE scores above the 50th percentile. The Admissions Committee also takes work experience, internships, and other academic and career achievements into consideration.

What should I include in my personal statement essay?

Include information about your background, the reasons why you want to pursue a career in forensic science, research experience, scientific knowledge and relevant work experience. It is highly recommended that you also include a CV highlighting your education, publications and scientific research projects.

How many letters of recommendation do I need?

A minimum of two letters of recommendation is required, however, three letters from professionals who can speak to the applicant’s scientific capabilities are suggested. At least one recommendation letter should be from university scientific faculty who know the student well. Letters from research/laboratory supervisors are also acceptable.

What is the application deadline?

Priority for admission and potential scholarship awards will be given to applicants whose completed applications are received by March 1st. Completed applications received on March 2nd through July 31st will be considered as they are received.

Is financial assistance available to incoming students?

Work-study, Federal Direct Stafford/Ford loans and other financial aid opportunities are available through the financial aid office in the Graduate Medical Sciences office. Additionally, Provost Scholarships may be available to incoming students who have demonstrated outstanding academic conduct in their previous course of study. No application is required for this award.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS

Can I visit the campus or meet with the faculty before I apply?

Open Houses are held monthly for interested students. Please see the calendar of events on the BMFS website for dates and email bmfs@bu.edu to RSVP.

Can I take a class in the BMFS program as a non-degree student?

Students may request approval to take courses as a non-degree student during any semester. Students who apply and are accepted into the BMFS Program for the following fall may transfer up to 8 credits earned during non-degree status.

Who can I contact for more information?