Earn a Degree in Forensic Science

Madonna University is one of the 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.

  • The only undergraduate program in Michigan that is accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).
  • Learning is experience based with a hands-on focus in order to gain confidence with common protocols currently employed across the forensic science disciplines.
  • Access to instructors that are highly experienced in the field and opportunities to engage in independent research suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals, which will provide an advantage when seeking employment or entry into graduate or professional school.

Degrees Offered





DNA Analysis Certificate

Learn to recover DNA profiles from evidence items used in the biology division of crime laboratories.

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Crime Scene Practice Certificate

Gain additional knowledge in crime scene practice through Madonna’s Criminal Justice program.

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Crime Laboratory Technician Certificate

Learn to analyze physical evidence to determine significance to criminal investigations.

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Graduate Certificate in Applied Forensic Science Research

Gain advanced research competencies to conduct complex forensic investigations.

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Faculty Bios

Jodi L. BartaProfessor and Chairperson, Forensic Science Program

Ph.D. McMaster University

B.Sc. University of Western Ontario



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Jodi L. Barta

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 15 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.

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Michael A. KusluskiInstructor, Forensic Science

M.S. George Washington University

B.S. Wayne State University



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Michael A. Kusluski

Mike Kusluski is an Assistant Professor in the Forensic Science Program at Madonna University. He received his B.S. in Applied Physics from Wayne State University and a Master of Forensic Sciences degree from George Washington University. His forensic laboratory career with the Michigan State Police, Detroit Police Department and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation includes experience in Firearms & Tool Marks Examination, Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Controlled Substances Analysis and Crime Scene Investigation. He was also an adjunct faculty member of Wayne State University, teaching forensic science courses for 16 years. He is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts (IABPA) as well as a board-certified Fellow of the American Board of Criminalistics (F-ABC).

His research interests include shooting incident reconstruction, gunshot residue analysis and bloodstain pattern analysis. Before transitioning into Forensic Science, Mr. Kusluski worked as a scientist, engineer and laboratory supervisor in the private sector. He can be contacted at mkusluski@madonna.edu.

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Carly J. NowickiAssistant Professor, Biology

Ph.D. Wayne State University

B.S. University of Michigan



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Carly J. Nowicki

Dr. Nowicki joined the Madonna Biology Department as an Assistant Professor in January 2017. She teaches Human Anatomy & Physiology, General Biology, Cell Biology, Population Genetics, and several special topics courses including Advanced Human Physiology and Evolution. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and her Ph.D. in Biology at Wayne State University.

Before coming to Madonna, she was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Bellarmine University (Louisville, KY) where she taught courses in biology and animal diversity. She then worked as a Field Biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Toledo examining chemical and biological impacts on the Great Lakes food web and the implications for human health. Dr. Nowicki continues to work with colleagues within the academic and government sectors to examine the effects of environmental contaminants on human health, and volunteers with community organizations such as the Friends of the Rouge River and the Detroit River Front Conservancy. She is a strong advocate of student research, experiential learning, and community outreach.

Dr. Nowicki is also the faculty advisor for the Biological and Health Sciences Club which sponsors many events including professional school application workshops, children’s hospital outreach, medical campus visits, and tours of the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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Jessica ZarateAssistant Professor, Forensic Science

M.S. National University

B.S. Madonna University

B.H.S. Ferris State University



Jessica Zarate

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.

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