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Michigan State University has long been recognized as a premier institution for research and education in forensic science, and is home to a number of excellent resources for the study of forensic science. The School of Criminal Justice maintains modern laboratory facilities containing equipment and instrumentation for the analysis of virtually any type of physical evidence, from chromatography equipment for drugs, explosives, and arson evidence, to microscopy techniques for trace evidence analysis, to genetic analyzers for the analysis of DNA. The Forensic Science Masters program at Michigan State University is designed to give students a broad theoretical and practical background in the scientific, legal, and investigative aspects of forensic science while providing the opportunity to study one of the major disciplines in depth.



Forensic science students and faculty regularly present at national and regional conferences. This include the annual meetings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) in February, Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) in March, Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists (MAFS) in September, and SciX in October.


Dr. Ruth Smith recently received a three-year grant from the National Institute of Justice. The grant, “Investigating Kinetic and Thermodynamic Approaches to Predict Evaporation of Gasoline at Elevated Temperatures for Fire Debris Applications” is in collaboration with Prof. Victoria McGuffin at MSU and Prof. Glen Jackson at West Virginia University.


American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting

Several Forensic Science Masters students and alumni presented papers and posters at the 70th Annual American Academy of Forensic Science in Seattle, Washington. Congratulations on a successful conference!

The Classification of Synthetic Phenethylamines According to Structural Subclass Using Multivariate Statistical Procedures
Amanda L. Setser, BS*; Ruth Waddell Smith, PhD

The Influence of Depth and Mixtures on the Bacterial Profiling of Soil Using Next Generation Sequencing
Emily R. Heinz, BS; David R. Foran, PhD*

The Development of Polymorphic Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) Short Tandem Repeat (STR) Primers for Unbalanced DNA Mixture Analyses
Katie Kranz, BS*; David R. Foran, PhD

Initiation and Propagation of Fractures in Blunt Impacts to Unconstrained Human Cadaver Heads
Mariyam I. Isa, MA*; Todd W. Fenton, PhD; Alexis C. Goots, MA; Elena O. Watson, BA; Patrick E. Vaughan, BS; Feng Wei, PhD; Roger C. Haut, PhD

The Influence of Implement Shape on Fracture Pattern and Defect Size in Experimental Blunt Cranial Impacts
Elena O. Watson, BA*; Todd W. Fenton, PhD; Mariyam I. Isa, MA; Alexis C. Goots, MA; Patrick E. Vaughan, BS; Feng Wei, PhD; Roger C. Haut, PhD

Estimating Points of Impact in Multiple Blunt Force Cranial Trauma: Lessons From Experimental Impacts
Alexis C. Goots, MA*; Mariyam I. Isa, MA; Todd W. Fenton, PhD; Elena O. Watson, BA; Patrick E. Vaughan, BS; Feng Wei, PhD; Roger C. Haut, PhD

Exogenous Factors Affecting Bacterial Profiling of Soil on Clothing Via Next Generation Sequencing
Emily R. Heinz, BS; David R. Foran, PhD*

Changes in DNA Quantity and Quality in the Human Tibia After Short-Term Surface or Subsurface Burial
Zachariah A. Landhuis, BA*; McKenzie R. Siewert, BS; David R. Foran, PhD

The Refinement of a Mathematical Model to Predict Evaporation of Gasoline
Natasha K. Eklund, BA*; Victoria L. McGuffin, PhD; Ruth Waddell Smith, PhD

Chemical Characterization of Tattoo Inks to Aid in the Identification of Highly Decomposed Remains
Trevor E. Curtis, MS*; Ruth Waddell Smith, PhD

*Presenting author



Current Events

Fall 2019 Commencement

Friday, December 13 at 3:30 p.m.
Jack Breslin Student Events Center
534 Birch Road
East Lansing, MI 48824

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AAFS 72nd Annual Meeting

February 17-22, 2020
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California

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