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  • Accelerated
  • Master of Science in Criminalistics
  • Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Online
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  • Learn from lead FBI and ATF special agents on the infamous Pizza Bomber Heist, featured throughout the four-part docuseries, Evil Genius.  

  • Program Overview

    The Master of Science degree in Criminalistics (MSC) is a broad master’s program that will provide students with the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to apply analytical and scientific methods to criminal investigation.  The curriculum offers exposure to crime scene investigation and evidence techniques, as well as legal issues, expert testimony, trace evidence, physical evidence, crime mapping and current topics within the field of crime scene investigation.  It is our goal to take students from the crime scene, to the forensic laboratory and finally to providing expert testimony in a court of law.

    The program provides advanced, discipline-specific knowledge for those wishing to enter or advance in the field of Criminal Justice, with emphasis placed on the analytical and scientific methods associated with criminal investigations.   Given the flexibility of the program, the graduate degree is easily obtainable for working as well as traditional students who have recently graduated from a 4-year university.  

    Graduate students will typically take two courses per semester, each of which is 7 weeks, allowing students to focus on a single course at a time.  This immersion into a topic, in addition to the dispersion of courses, allows you not only to fully grasp the information, but also to continue to actively participate in the workforce.  

    Leading the Way

    The primary goal of the MSC program is to provide students with a theoretical foundation, emphasizing criminal investigative techniques and practical application. With a focus on hands-on experience, students will be able to apply terms, skills and techniques utilized in the field of Criminal Justice.  

    There are currently 1.5 million full-time law enforcement officers in the United States. With the increased professionalization of the Criminal Justice field, many state and local police departments are beginning to require bachelor degrees, with graduate degrees being crucial to promotion.  Furthermore, to be competitive, federal agents are increasingly in need of a graduate degree.   Popular career paths include local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.  

    Given the extensive background of our full-time faculty, students will be learning from leading experts in the field who have worked on numerous high-profile cases.  Primary faculty includes: 

    • Jerry Clark, PhD. | Retired FBI Special Agent | 27 years with FBI, DEA, NCIS & Parole
    •  Jason Wick, MS. | Retired ATF Special Agent | 25 years with ATF
    •  Ted Yeshion, PhD | 40 years–Forensic Biologist/Crime Lab Director|Special Agent (Ret.)|Consultant

    In addition to the expert full-time faculty members, the program also consists of outstanding adjunct faculty who teach specialized courses in their fields of expertise.

    What Makes Us Different

    • Expert faculty who are nationally respected FBI, DEA, ATF, NCIS, FDLE, and NCSBI agents, with over 90 years of law enforcement experience
    •  A 36-credit, primarily on-line program that can be completed in two years
    •  A one week summer residency capstone experience is completed on the GU campus at our state-of-the-art Forensic Investigation Center (FIC).
    •  The FIC is a unique training facility that utilizes hands-on practical experience to teach and test students’ knowledge of CSI techniques
    •  Learn state-of-the-art investigative techniques from 1 of only 7 graduate criminalistics programs in the nation
    •  Rolling admission allows for multiple program start dates

  • State Authorization

    View Gannon's State Authorization for more information on SARA and state authorization. Have a complaint about a distance education program or courses? Read the state contact information document to learn more about filing a complaint.

    Student Success

    Gannon's Online Engagement Coordinator facilitates our online new student orientations, implements strategies to ensure that online students are active in their online courses, and provides general online student support through a variety of high-touch methods to engage students and support student retention efforts. Gannon online students can reach out with general questions about online learning or how to remotely access Gannon's comprehensive student services.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop an understanding of the scientific principles of crime scene investigation and reconstruction, including evidence collection and preservation.
  2. Demonstrate the capabilities, use, potential and limitations of forensic laboratory theory and techniques in respect to the analysis of evidence.
  3. Utilize ethical principles and an understanding of legal precedents to make decisions related to investigative techniques, analysis of evidence, and courtroom testimony.
  4. Demonstrate problem-solving skills and synthesize forensic, evidential, and investigatory information from multiple sources to generate theories about a crime.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to conduct interviews and interrogations, develop and execute investigative plans, follow up investigative leads, document their findings, and testify to the interpretation of evidentiary findings in a courtroom setting.
  • Apply Online
  • Graduate Admissions

    Phone: 814-871-7407
    Toll Free: 1-800-426-6668

    Office Location:
    Gitnik Manse
    162 W. Sixth St.


  • Online Demonstration Course

    Try the demonstration online course to preview how online learning works at Gannon University. Log in as "crimdemo" for the username and "crimdemo" in lowercase letters for the password.

  • Online Learning Readiness Assessment

    Online instruction can be different from instruction in the classroom.   Before enrolling in an online program at Gannon, you should first assess your readiness for stepping into the online learning environment. Your results from the online questionnaire will help you identify the requirements necessary to succeed at online learning and areas you may need to explore before starting your online program.