Joint Degree Opportunities
Michigan State University offers a number of unique programs that allow a student to pursue both a Ph.D. and a Master of Science in Forensic Science at the same time. This plan allows a tremendous amount of flexibility in career options. You can practice forensic science from the bench, the research lab, or the classroom. You can also pursue a career in the Ph.D. field.
We presently have a number of students pursuing their Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, and others from the Departments of Geology, Biochemistry, Zoology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Anthropology.
The joint program works as follows:
The student must apply to both programs. Admission to one program does not guarantee admission to the other. Any financial support will be provided by the Ph.D. granting department. The student will usually have a faculty advisor in each program, who will coordinate with each other and the student to plan the program. At present, the student will have to write and defend both a dissertation and masters thesis, although in practice, the thesis is generally carved out of the dissertation or is an add-on to it.
The student's academic program is generally front-loaded with courses and requirements in the Ph.D. granting department so the student may devote most of his or her time to completing the course requirements, passing qualifying exams, selecting a mentor and dissertation project, etc. The student will work on the forensic science courses during the middle of his or her program.
Experience has shown that students in both programs can finish all of the requirements in about the same amount of time that a Ph.D would normally take to complete.
The joint degree program is also open to students who begin studying in one program and then wish to add the other the following year. Students should keep in mind that they must still apply to the second program at the appropriate time, and that it is unlikely that both degrees will be finished in the minimum amount of time.