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Students at microscopes

About

The Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program mission is to develop professional, ethical graduates with the highest quality education in the natural, physical, and forensic sciences, law and criminal justice to successfully prepare students for advanced degrees, employment, and research in forensic science and related fields.

See forensics annual report that covers lab updates, advisor profiles, forensics by the numbers, the department community involvement, internships and graduation stats for the department.

Our vision

To become a leading forensic science educational program that has regional, national, and international recognition for excellence. We're a community of learners and students thrive here. Students support each other through peer-lead mentoring, providing a unique environment where students become leaders by teaching others. Student clubs, volunteer programs and intramural sports are just a few of the opportunities for students to get involved outside of the classroom.

Our values

The Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program at IUPUI is committed to the highest standards for our students, faculty, and staff.  We value the highest ethical and professional behavior with high standards of excellence and objectivity in academic work and lifelong commitment to education.  For our faculty and staff we value striving for the highest standards of excellence in teaching and learning and a commitment to providing the best education to every student.  We value commitments to continuing professional development and for continuous improvement of our programs and services.  For all the members of the FIS program (students, faculty, and staff), we value a commitment to excellence in developing collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships with our criminal justice constituents and the community as a whole.

On ethics

Ethical values and behaviors are emphasized in all facets of the criminal justice system.  Crime lab employers often require prospective employees to take a polygraph test about drug use and other personal behaviors. Students wishing to pursue a career in forensic science learn that there are public consequences to all personal and professional actions.  Once employed, forensic scientists are required to testify truthfully and accurately in court.

Message from the Director

Welcome to the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program at IUPUI! We are located in downtown Indianapolis and are the home of campus components of both Indiana University and Purdue University. This is an exciting time for forensic science in the United States and worldwide. Its popularity among the public and criminal justice agencies is at an all-time high and there are critical needs for more, well-qualified forensic scientists.  We offer bachelor's (B.S.) and Master's (M.S.) degrees in forensic science. The master's degree (M.S) in Forensic and Investigative Sciences is available as a thesis-based degree or it can be completed in as little as 12 months as a non-thesis degree.  All of our graduates earn degrees from the Purdue School of Science. 

Our B.S. degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences is a broad-based natural and physical sciences program that gives our students a strong foundation in chemistry, biology, physics, math and statistics. We currently have concentrations in forensic chemistry and biology. These include classes in the law, ethics and a variety of forensic sciences. We have undergraduate research opportunities and internships available nationwide and even overseas. Indianapolis is home to at least five public and private forensic science laboratories, and we have working relationships with all of them.

Our thesis-based M.S. degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences is an opportunity to conduct original research in forensic science and expand the knowledge and capabilities of our field.  You will work closely with one of our faculty during this program and gain experience in presenting your work at research conferences and publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Alternatively, our non-thesis program targets students who have completed a Bachelor's degree in a forensic or physical science and who seek an additional credential in order to be competitive applicants for positions within forensic science laboratories or Ph.D. programs.  Many of our graduate classes include a laboratory component so that the students gain hands-on experience with forensic techniques.

To support our program, we have outstanding faculty and staff. You can find out specific information about them elsewhere on this site. We also boast state of the art research and teaching instrumentation within our own laboratories and we also have access to other equipment throughout the university. We can promise you a cutting-edge education and research experience at IUPUI.

To learn more about the success of our students, take a look at our assessment data. I also encourage you to take a look at where our graduates have been hired.   You will soon see why we feel so proud of our students and our program!

I hope that you will take the time to explore our website and consider applying to one of our programs.

John V. Goodpaster, PhD 
Associate Professor and Director

History

A Brief History of the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Forensic and Investigative Sciences (FIS) at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

The FIS Program was established in 2004 as a multidisciplinary bachelor of science program originally conceived by the faculty and administration of the IU School of Law, School of Liberal Arts, School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and School of Science.  The Program is administratively housed within the School of Science.  It was the first forensic science degree program in Indiana, consisting of a core of courses in the natural and physical sciences, law, criminal justice and forensic science.  The FIS Program was deliberately made to be as inclusive and flexible as possible; each student could select a concentration in chemistry, biology, computer forensics, psychology, criminal justice, environmental and health science investigations, anthropology or geology.  A Board of Visitors was also established, consisting of local forensic science laboratory directors, attorneys, judges, the CEOs of local private sector forensic science laboratories and law enforcement.

Between 2004 and 2007, the number of faculty in the FIS Program increased from one (Jay Siegel) to four (Jay Siegel, Gina Londino, Richard Li and John Goodpaster).  The FIS Program has also had a program coordinator/advisor since its inception.  FIS now has five faculty (John Goodpaster, Nick Manicke, Christine Picard, Susan Walsh and Gina Londino), an academic specialist (Donna Roskowski), and a program coordinator (Amy Maidi).  Currently, the administrative homes of FIS faculty and staff are distributed between the Department of Biology and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

In 2009, the FIS Program sought and gained accreditation for the B.S. degree from the Forensic Education Programs Accrediting Commission (FEPAC).  We remain the only FEPAC accredited program in the State of Indiana.  Accreditation necessitated some significant changes in the FIS curriculum as FEPAC curricular standards were specific to courses in the chemical, biological and forensic sciences.  Hence, the FIS students in the program at that time would not be able to get the required number of basic science credit hours if they pursued any of the concentrations except for chemistry and biology.  Therefore, only biology and chemistry concentrations were retained.

Also in 2009, the FIS Program received approval to offer an M.S. degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences (thesis or non-thesis).  Concentrations in forensic chemistry, forensic biology and forensic toxicology were established.  The toxicology concentration has yet to be activated due to changes in the faculty at the IU School of Medicine.

The admission process for M.S. thesis applicants is highly selective, with only two applicants admitted per year.  The non-thesis M.S. program has been configured so that it can be completed within twelve months with as many as fourteen students admitted per year.  The FIS Program has applied for FEPAC accreditation of the M.S. degree with thesis in 2017.  FEPAC has accepted that application and our inspection visit is scheduled for Fall 2017.

Important Metrics and Milestones:

  • Since 2006, the total number of FIS credit hours taught in the School of Science has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every three years.
  • Since its inception in 2004, the FIS B.S. Program has graduated 138 students.
  • Since its inception in 2009, the FIS M.S. Program has graduated twenty-two students.
  • As of 2017, FIS M.S. students have co-authored 14 peer-reviewed publications, which have appeared in journals such as the Journal of Forensic Sciences, Forensic Science International, Forensic Science International: Genetics, Forensic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, and Applied Spectroscopy. 
  • Between 2009 and 2016, research expenditures by FIS faculty exceeded $2.3 million.  
See our forensics programs

Assessments

The Forensic and Investigative Sciences students are challenged academically and professionally to become excellent, ethical forensic scientists. There are many ways to assess their success. Below are two lenses with which to view how our students are doing.

FIS GPAs

Forensics lecturer enjoys camaraderie of program she helped launch

Gina Londino Lecturer