Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program ranks number one in the nation on national assessment test scores

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Contact: Mary M. Thomasson, Public Information Officer, Marshall University Forensic Science Center, 304-691-8961 or cell 304-638-1210

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program has once again been ranked number one in the country compared to other graduate programs participating in the Forensic Science Assessment Test administered earlier this year.

Marshall University was one of eight graduate programs that participated this year in the spring testing cycle. The exam is a national assessment test offered semi-annually by the American Board of Criminalistics.

Marshall’s Forensic Science Graduate Program ranked first in 15 of 18 subject-matter areas that included drugs, crime scene, evidence handling, fire debris, forensic biology, general science, latent prints, legal, pattern evidence, questioned documents, lab operations, firearms/toolmark, quality assurance/quality control, safety and trace evidence.

It is the seventh time in 10 years that Marshall’s nationally recognized program ranked number one in the country on this national examination.

According to the American Board of Criminalistics, graduate and undergraduate programs were ranked separately.

Dr. Terry W. Fenger, director of the program, said the test is useful for assessing the program’s strengths and demonstrating to prospective students and the general public its ability to meet national standards.

“The fact that our students continue to excel on this exam each year demonstrates not only the quality of the program and its students, but the dedication of its full-time faculty and the many adjunct faculty members,” he said. “The program greatly benefits from the input of law enforcement and criminal justice system professionals here locally and across the state.”

Dr. Pamela Staton, program coordinator, said the test scores are evidence of the high quality of students the program recruits and the education the program provides.

“The quality of an academic program can be measured by a program’s achievement of national accreditation as well as how well its students perform on national board examinations,” she said. “The Forensic Science Program at Marshall University has achieved both of these honorable distinctions. This translates into high quality forensic science services for law enforcement, the legal profession, and the public as graduates of this program become certified forensic scientists in the field.”

Staton also said the FSAT provides students with a pre-certification exposure while preparing graduates for the national certification process.

“This may be quite important as other fields of science and technology require professionals to become certified before they can practice,” she said. “This may be true for forensic scientists sometime in the future. ”

Marshall’s Forensic Science Graduate Program is nationally accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission through the American Academy of Forensic Science. The program is one of 17 FEPAC-accredited forensic science graduate programs in the U.S. and the only digital forensics graduate program accredited by FEPAC.

Marshall’s forensic science graduate students who participated in the examination that was administered in spring 2016 are now graduates of the program.

The test is offered to students in their last semester of an academic forensic science program. While seeking their first job, recent college graduates may use their test results to demonstrate their knowledge across a broad range of forensic science disciplines.

For more information about Marshall’s nationally recognized Forensic Science Graduate Program, offering areas of emphasis in DNA analysis, forensic chemistry, digital forensics and crime scene investigation, please visit or call Staton at 304-691-8931. In addition to being the program coordinator, she is a professor of forensic science in the graduate program.