Madonna University’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in Forensic Science degree provides students with a strong experiential foundation across the sciences and a refined knowledge of its application within the criminal justice system. Students within this program also obtain a minor in chemistry, biology, or both, further cementing their expertise in the field.
One of only 35 institutions in the world to achieve accreditation through the prestigious Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), Madonna has a longstanding record for excellence in the Forensic Science major, preparing students for careers serving justice and their community through the application of science in law enforcement.
As the only FEPAC accredited undergraduate program in Michigan, the program meets the standards that are being demanded by employers under the Department of Justice’s newly introduced endeavor to improve forensic science nationwide through a partnership between the National Commission on Forensic Science and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Because the field of forensic science contains a myriad of different sub-disciplines and specialties, coursework is focused on exploring techniques at the experiential level so that students can decide which avenue they wish to pursue when making the next step in their journey to success. Accordingly, the curriculum for the Forensic Science major covers a wide range of engaging topics, including biology, chemistry, genetics, criminal law, ethics and expert testimony, physics, evidence analysis, forensic anthropology, and toxicology.
Forensic science coursework is led by expert faculty who are scholars and practitioners in the field. They are dedicated to assisting students in mastering techniques and building confidence so that they are prepared not just theoretically but also with “good lab hands” that are essential for the performance of standard operating protocols within a highly regulated environment.
Explore the full BS in Forensic Science curriculum.
The Bachelor’s in Forensic Science degree fosters professional relationships that provide opportunities for faculty and students to present and publish the research data generated within the Madonna University Forensic Science Research Facility.
Students have also been able to participate with faculty members on long term research funded through the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Funding is available for students to help cover the costs of publication and travel to professional functions to present research.
By engaging in independent projects for research and development within the Madonna University Forensic Science Research Facility, students at the undergraduate level gain a level of skill development that is most often reserved for those in graduate level programs.
Learn more about Student Research Opportunities.
The BS in Forensic Science has a strong emphasis on applied learning, providing preparation for immediate employment or entrance into graduate and professional schools upon graduation. Students also gain invaluable communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills that position them for future success.
The Forensic Science bachelor’s degree program has earned a reputation for excellence and our graduates are in high demand. Explore the roles, future employers, and graduate schools attended by Madonna’s BS in Forensic Science students.
The Forensic Science major has a two-stage admissions process. Students must first be accepted into the Pre-Forensic Program and should first review all stage one admission requirements.
Once students are accepted as a pre-forensics student, they must meet Madonna’s stage two forensics admission requirements.
Whether transferring to Madonna or coming directly from high school, the Madonna Undergraduate Admissions team is happy to walk applicants through the necessary steps to becoming a Madonna University student.
Any questions or requests for assistance can be directed to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 734-432-5339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Madonna University’s Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science degree emphasizes the applied integration of science and criminal justice, shaping highly skilled professionals who are ready to make a difference for the safety and justice of their communities.
Jessica graduated with her B.S. in Forensic Science from Madonna University in 2019. While attending Madonna, she dedicated time conducting and presenting forensic science DNA research projects; including the analysis of ancient canid remains from New Mexico. Jessica was recognized for her research contributions receiving the Research Excellence Award at the 2019 Madonna Research Symposium. Additionally, Jessica was selected for the Madonna University Research Team. Outside of research, she was a member of the student organization Blossom, Sigma Zeta National Science and Mathematics Honor Society, and volunteered for the annual Missing Persons Day hosted by Missing in Michigan. After graduation, she began work as a Specimen Accessioner at a diagnostic laboratory, then promoted to a Covid-19 Technician. You can now find her back in the world of forensic science! In August 2021, Jessica accepted a position as a Forensic Technician in the Biology unit with Michigan State Police .
Valerie Mayra graduated with a FEPAC accredited B.S. in Forensic Science from Madonna University in 2017. During her degree, Valerie was selected to be part of the Madonna University Cold Case Investigation Research Team, was a member of the Sigma Zeta National Science and Mathematics Honor Society, and was the recipient of the 2016 Madonna University Science and Mathematics Academic Award. Valerie has been employed by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office as a forensic laboratory investigator since September 2017. She is an analyst in the latent print unit as well as an investigator on the crime scene team. She graduated from the Ron Smith and Associates National Latent Print Examiner Training Academy in March 2018 where she received 20 weeks of intense and comprehensive training, covering everything from the history of fingerprints to friction ridge expert witness testimony techniques. Valerie has been a member of the International Association for Identification since 2017.
Alexander has been with Condat Corp. for 6 years and manages product life cycle, flow of information between group laboratories and performs quality control, tech service, and developmental activities. Al admittedly never expect to work in lubricants; however, he finds it fascinating to know just how large of a role it plays in the world around us. He is also involved in supporting manufacturing with process control, scale up and improvements. Some tasks that have been assigned to him specifically revolve around the removal of some hazardous raw materials from some of the products and maintaining equipment calibration for the lab.
Brandon began his career with the Michigan State Police as a Forensic Technician, but was soon promoted to a position as Forensic Scientist in the Biology Unit and has since been qualified in numerous courts as an expert in Body Fluid Identification, DNA Analysis, and Bloodstain Pattern Interpretation. In April of 2013, he was promoted to the position of Lab Manager in the Biology Unit of the Michigan State Police Northville Crime Laboratory.
Forensic Science Program facilities are housed in the beautiful Gold Certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Franciscan Center for Science and Media at Madonna University. This new, 60,000 square foot facility opened in fall 2009 and provides state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories where students and faculty design and carry out innovative research projects.
Laboratory internships allow students to acquire new skills, as well as network with and assess potential employers in an interactive professional setting. While many forensic laboratories offer internships, the number of placements is often limited and highly competitive. Students interested in internship opportunities are strongly encouraged to contact their faculty advisor and initiate the application process at the beginning of their third year.
Students at Madonna have numerous opportunities to give back to their community. However, students in the Forensic Science program get the opportunity to put their forensics skills and their Felician Values into action through Forensic Science Community Outreach. Our outreach programs focus on initiatives which help to restore justice to the less fortunate and often forgotten members of society.
The purpose of the Madonna University Forensic Science Society is to encourage interaction and networking between Madonna University students, alumni, and forensic science organizations within the local area. The MUFSS also hosts fun get-together meetings, learning activities and opportunities for members to put their skills and Felician Values into service for the community. Students are eligible (and encouraged) to join once they are accepted and enrolled at Madonna.
The Forensic Science Program fosters professional relationships that provide opportunities for faculty and students to present and publish the research data generated within the Madonna University Forensic Science Research Facility. Students have also been able to participate with faculty members on long term research funded through the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Funding is available for students to help cover the costs of publication and travel to professional functions to present research.
The FSAT is a general knowledge exam given to college students which has been found to perform like similar exams such as the GRE, MCAT and ACS.
Madonna University FSAT Ranking - Spring Sitting*
|Test Year||# of UG Programs||Total # of Students||Students from MU||Ranking|
*there are two separate sittings, spring and fall; with 25 accredited undergrad programs
Forensic Science majors returning from one fall semester to the next as compared to students as a whole at Madonna University (2016 - 2021)
|F2016 to F2017||Forensic Science||100.00%|
|F2017 to F2018||Forensic Science||94.59%|
|F2018 to F2019||Forensic Science||100.00%|
|F2019 to F2020||Forensic Science||100.00%|
|F2020 to F2021||Forensic Science||100.00%|
Following the 2004 release of the National Institute of Justice’s report on the state of forensic science educational institutions in the United States, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) sponsored the development of the Forensic Science Education Programs Education Commission (FEPAC), to implement the recommendations of the NIJ’s Technical Working Group on Forensic Science Education (TWG-ED). Madonna University is one of only 35 institutions in the world to achieve accreditation through the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) and has the only FEPAC Accredited undergraduate program in Michigan.
If you would like to donate to the Forensic Science Department for research, please contact Dr. Jodi Lynn Barta, Director of the Forensic Science Program at 734-432-5514 or email@example.com.
Department of Forensic Science
Dr. Jodi Lynn Barta, Chairperson
Dean of Students
Dr. Christine Benson, Dean
College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Ian Bell, Dean
Susan Toma, Associate Dean
Learn to recover DNA profiles from evidence items used in the biology division of crime laboratories.
Gain additional knowledge in crime scene practice through Madonna’s Criminal Justice program.
Ph.D. McMaster University
B.Sc. University of Western Ontario
Franciscan Center S217-T
Dr. Jodi Lynn Barta, PhD, is professor and chair of Forensic Science at Madonna University, and director of the FEPAC accredited undergraduate program in Forensic Science. She is a forensic anthropologist with a degree in molecular genetics that specializes in the extraction of DNA from ancient and forensic biological materials.
She has over 19 years of experience in extracting and amplifying DNA from low copy number and degraded human and animal remains. As an experienced forensic consultant she has worked in conjunction with police agencies and the coroner’s office on the analysis of forensic cases including; aging, sexing, and personal biology to assist in the identification of recovered human remains.
She is an NIJ funded researcher involved in research to understand the behavior of DNA molecules during extraction and to optimize protocols for obtaining DNA from biofluids lifted using Zar-Pro™ Fluorescent Blood Lifters (US Patent 8,025,852 B2). Her published research topics include methodological improvements for the extraction of ancient and forensic DNA, recovering bloody impressions from difficult substrates, including from human skin, defining methods to create consistent and reproducible fingerprint impressions deposited in biological fluids on a variety of substrates, ancient DNA analysis of Roman cemetery populations, and ancient DNA analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from paleopathological skeletal remains.
M.S. National University
B.S. Madonna University
B.H.S. Ferris State University
Ms. Jessica Zarate, MS is currently an assistant professor in the FEPAC accredited undergraduate Forensic Science Program at Madonna University teaching forensic science coursework including impression and pattern evidence. She was a Michigan certified police officer for eight years and is the inventor of the Zar-Pro™ Fluorescent Blood Lifters (US Patent 8,025,852 B2).
She has worked in impression analysis, for over 9 years, including during her time as a Police Officer with the Northville City Police Department when she collaborated with Michigan State Police Northville Forensic Science Laboratory, Latent Print Unit with research and development in the area of impression enhancement.
Her research work is focused within the impression evidence discipline, publishing on a fluorogenic method for lifting, enhancing, and preserving bloody impression evidence, recovering bloody impressions from difficult substrates, including from human skin, and defining methods to create consistent and reproducible fingerprint impressions deposited in biological fluids on a variety of substrates.
Ph.D. Wayne State University
M.S. Syracuse University
B.S. Madonna University
Franciscan Center S217-Q
Dr. Stephanie Gladyck is an alumna of the Forensic Science Program at Madonna University (Class of 2013), has a MS in Forensic Science with a concentration in Forensic Biology from Syracuse University (2015), and received her PhD in Molecular Genetics and Genomics from Wayne State University’s School of Medicine (2021). Dr. Gladyck is a mitochondrial biochemist, with experience in ancient DNA analysis, forensic anthropology, molecular biology, and genetics. You can find her teaching biochemistry, genetics lab, molecular biology, and assisting Dr. Barta with the forensic anthropology course. She is very excited to be back at Madonna University as a faculty member!
Ph.D. McMaster University
M.S. Laurentian University
B.S. Jiangxi University
Franciscan Center S217-J
B.S. Madonna University
Damon Baker began working with the Detroit Police Department as a crime scene investigator in 2016, and spent three years processing crime scenes in the city of Detroit. In August of 2017, he also took on the role of being a test-shot officer, testing firearms for submission into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).
In February of 2019, he transferred to the Criminal Intelligence Unit as a crime analyst working in the Real Time Crime Center (RTCC), providing intelligence to officers on scene through Detroit’s Project Green Light, as well as performing intelligence research on suspects and incidents at the request of investigators. In September of 2020, he was transferred to back to the Detroit Police NIBIN Unit, this time as a crime analyst specializing in intelligence with firearms. During his time as a NIBIN analyst, he worked closely with the ATF and other local partners to track and help build cases against offenders both in and out of Detroit. In June of 2021, he took over as the Project Manager for the Detroit Police NIBIN Unit, and now runs the crime analyst team stationed there.
He brings his crime scene and firearm experience to teach Firearms and Tool Marks during the winter semester.
JD Wayne State University Law School
B.A. The Military College of South Carolina
Mr. William Maze, JD, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Forensic Science. He has appeared as a defense attorney in over 100 jury trials and has been qualified by numerous Michigan courts as an expert witness in the standardized field sobriety test battery (SFSTs) and Michigan Datamaster breath testing procedures. Mr. Maze has performed the SFSTs on hundreds of individuals and is thoroughly versed in the NHTSA SFST battery and literature. He has participated in teaching the NHTSA/IACP Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Practitioner Certification Course on several occasions and has frequently lectured on the subject of field sobriety tests. He is also knowledgeable in the peer reviewed literature regarding alcohol and highway safety as well as the effects of alcohol on the human body. Mr. Maze teaches FOR 4650 – Ethics and Expert Testimony.