Orange Alert

Advanced Track M.S. in Forensic Science Awarded Full Accreditation

Dean Ruhlandt: "Accreditation is a testament to FNSSI's commitment to excellence"

June 20, 2019, by Robert M Enslin

FNSSI Director James Hewett
FNSSI Director James Hewett

Arts and Sciences Dean Karin Ruhlandt announced today that the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) has awarded full accreditation to the Advanced Track M.S. in Forensic Science.

Offered by the Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute (FNSSI) in A&S, the Advanced Track program prepares graduates for careers in forensic science, national security, teaching and research.

Ruhlandt says the award is a testament to FNSSI's commitment to excellence. "FEPAC's accreditation reinforces the value of an A&S degree, which is rooted in detailed theoretical knowledge and hands-on, practical experience. FNSSI graduates are smart, nimble and adaptable," she adds.  

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences established FEPAC more than 15 years ago, in response to the growing popularity of the field and the ensuing need for standardized training and education.

To earn full FEPAC accreditation, a program must have adequate classrooms and lab facilities; full-time, terminal degreed faculty with strong research portfolios; and positive relationships with external laboratories.

Syracuse joins more than 20 other U.S. institutions with FEPAC-accredited M.S. programs.

"The national recognition afforded by this accreditation enhances the research profile of FNSSI and the University, in general," says FNSSI Director James Hewett. "FEPAC's accreditation increases the chances of inter-institutional collaboration and external research funding, enabling our students to work with professionals in the field."

Student research has been integral to the Advanced Track program since its inception. In fact, research is not just encouraged; it is required. "This makes us compliant with FEPAC, and has fostered a wide range of collaborations," Hewett adds.

In the public sector, FNSSI works with the FBI, the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner, the New York State Police Crime Laboratory System and The Wallie Howard Jr. Center for Forensic Sciences in Onondaga County.

Private-sector collaborators include Menarini Silicon Biosystems, the Promega Corporation and NicheVision Forensics.

Michael Sponsler, FNSSI’s director of curricular programs, says FEPAC’s accreditation helps maintain and enhance the integrity of the Advanced Track program, while giving students the flexibility they need. “Allowing them to tailor the degree program to their career interests is important to us. It makes them more employable,” he says, noting that more than 90 percent of all FNSSI alumni work in their respective fields of study, spanning science, crime investigation and security.

In addition to the Advanced Track program, FNSSI offers master’s degrees in general forensic science, nuclear forensics, biomedical forensic science and medicolegal death investigation.

FNSSI students also may earn an M.S./J.D. in forensic science and law, as well as advanced certificates in medicolegal death investigation and in firearm and tool mark examination.


James Hewett Associate Professor, Executive Director of Neuroscience Studies, and Director of Neuroscience Graduate Concentration

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Robert M Enslin