Forensic Sciences

This is an archived copy of the 2019-2020 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

View PDF

Forensic Sciences Graduate Certificate

The forensic sciences graduate certificate program complements a program of study at Iowa State University that leads to any graduate degree in an established academic major. The forensic sciences certificate is also recommended for students who wish to strengthen their interdisciplinary skills. Coursework for the certificate is at the graduate level, however qualified undergraduates may also enroll by admission to the Graduate College as a certificate student for a minimum of one semester. Completion of the certificate is noted on the student's transcript and via a certificate provided by the Registrar.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the graduate certificate in forensic sciences, students will be:

  • Educated in a diverse array of topics that contribute to the interdisciplinary field of forensic science.
  • Well informed about the needs for research and development in forensic science.
  • Able to propose a research project related to forensic science.
  • Informed about forensic science as a career choice.
  • Aware of the possibility of offering expertise to law enforcement agencies within the community.
  • Aware that forensic sciences can be used as an educational tool in post-graduate capacity as a professor/teacher, parent, or community volunteer.


  • 12 credits of coursework and seminars at Iowa State University with a total GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Attendance at all events hosted by the NIST Center for Excellence in Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE) at Iowa State.
  • Attendance at a national or regional scientific meeting devoted to forensic science.
  • Completion of the certificate within three contiguous calendar years.


  • 1 graduate credit seminar course in forensic science: ANTHR 541. This seminar will be offered each fall semester. In this seminar, you will report on the off-campus conference you attend, and also on your research.
  • 1 graduate credit of independent study: ANTHR 542. You will choose a topic in forensics, ask the Director of Certificate Studies (DOCS) for approval, research it in the literature and write a paper on it. You will present this research project to the seminar group.
  • At least 10 graduate credits from among the courses listed in the Certificate Electives course list. From this list, you may not choose any courses offered toward your academic major, and you must choose courses from at least two different departments entirely outside of your department or program. No credits may be transferred to ISU from other institutions.

All Certificate candidates are required to take ANTHR 541 (1 credit) and ANTHR 542 (1 credit). In addition, choose 10 credits from the following list of Certificate Electives:

AGRON 502Chemistry, Physics, and Biology of Soils3
AGRON 555Environmental Soil Mineralogy3
AN S 561Population and Quantitative Genetics for Breeding4
AGRON 563Soil Formation and Landscape Relationships3
ANTHR 503Biological Anthropology and Archaeology3
ANTHR 519Skeletal Biology3
ANTHR 524Forensic Anthropology3
B M S 554General Pharmacology3
CHEM 511Advanced Analytical Chemistry3
CHEM 513Analytical Molecular and Atomic Spectroscopy3
CHEM 516Analytical Separations3
CHEM 572Spectrometric Identification of Organic Compounds3
CHEM 577Mass Spectrometry3
CPR E 536Computer and Network Forensics3
ENT 675Insecticide Toxicology3
GEN 409Molecular Genetics3
GEN 462Evolutionary Genetics3
GDCB 511Advanced Molecular Genetics3
MATH 535Steganography and Digital Image Forensics3
M S E 550Nondestructive Evaluation4
M S E 551Characterization Methods in Materials Science3
M S E 552Scanning and Auger Electron Microscopy3
SOC 584Current Issues in Crime and Justice3
STAT 587Statistical Methods for Research Workers4
TOX 546Clinical and Diagnostic Toxicology1-3
V MPM 528Principles of Epidemiology and Population Health3
V MPM 586Medical Bacteriology4
V MPM 542Introduction to Molecular Biology Techniques1