The WVU Department of Forensic and Investigative Science has taken the lead in forensic science education once again by developing a new Ph.D. program which was approved last week by the West Virginia University Board of Governors.
The WVU Forensic and Investigative Science program stands out as one of seven programs in the nation to offer both accredited bachelor of science and master of science degrees, and is set to become more a more prominent leader as one of two institutions nationally to award a Ph.D. in Forensic Science. WVU is the only university in the country offering a bachelor of science, master of science, and Ph.D. in Forensic Science.
“I think the approval for adding the Ph.D. reflects WVU’s recognition of the past successes of the forensic program. The program has brought national attention to the institution through its bachelors and masters program, so the extension by the university to allow us to add the Ph.D. is in recognition of what we have achieved to date,” said Gerald Lang, Forensic and Investigative Science Department Chair.
The proposed Ph.D. program has a much wider scope than that of the master of science program. The major emphasis of the Ph.D. program is the development and completion of a research problem that involves many advanced techniques and concepts at the frontiers of the discipline, culminating in an oral defense of the Ph.D. dissertation. Ph.D. students will take a common core of advanced forensic science courses and additional courses as deemed necessary by their dissertation committees.
“Students choose to come to WVU to study forensic science and I think it’s a recognition of the quality of the program,” said Lang. “I think having students that come from more than 30 states to study and earn their B.S. degree in forensic science reflects our reputation.”
Because there are so few forensic science doctoral programs nationally, the new Ph.D. program helps establish the department’s position as a leader in this critically important area of study. The program is expected to increase the department’s ability to recruit research-oriented faculty and further contribute to the growth of the university’s research mission.
“We are in a very select group of institutions,” said Lang. “We define the frontier.”
The program will welcome its first student in the 2016 fall semester and expects to keep enrollment numbers low for the first two to three years in order to ensure the students are receiving the quality of education that is intended by the department.