George Mason University

Forensic Science and Criminology

Crime and justice in the United States is a multi-faceted subject. Mason's departments of Criminology and Forensic Science each contribute to the study of these complex issues through different pathways. 

 Criminology helps us be more thoughtful about justice, law enforcement and the role of government in monitoring behavior. The multidisciplinary field is focused on understanding the causes and consequences of crime and  injustice, institutional response, and solutions to social problems. The  United States incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any  other country; Mason's students seek ways to reduce those numbers by  understanding how to prevent crime, to respond more effectively through better policing, and to facilitate rehabilitation for the roughly 650,000  people released from incarceration each year.  Students gain perspective  and knowledge in such areas as law, sociology, psychology, economics,  political science, and public policy.

Forensic Science is the application of scientific principles and techniques to the legal process. It is a blanket term for many fields and disciplines, including computers and accounting, all related to the application of science to the law. These programs will prepare students for rewarding careers in law enforcement, homeland security, government, and laboratories, or to obtain advanced education for professionals currently in the field.

Mason Professor Wins Nation’s Top Criminology Award

David Weisburd

Professor David Weisburd has joined an elite group of only five criminologists in history who have won the field’s top two awards.

Weisburd, executive director of George Mason’s Center for Evidence‐Based Crime Policy, won the 2014 Edwin Sutherland Award, presented by the American Society of Criminology. It is the highest achievement in criminology in the United States.

The honor follows Weisburd’s 2010 distinction as the winner of the Stockholm Prize in Criminology, considered the highest achievement in the field, and presented by the queen of Sweden.

The two awards, as well as many others, recognize Weisburd’s development of “place‐based policing,” in which an emphasis in crime deterrence is placed on location, often in areas as small as a city block. His program has been used by police forces across the country to combat rising crime rates.

  • Anthropology BA, Accelerated MA

    The Master’s degree program in Anthropology prepares students for a PhD as well as for careers in the government, private sector, development, museums, and many other fields. Students may focus on cultural anthropology and bioarchaeology. Students learn how to use fieldwork methods appropriate for their plans and goals and gain a better understanding of the ethics of conducting research.

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  • Anthropology, BA, Minor

    If you’re interested in human behavior—how it changes over time, what makes one culture different from another, the relationship between biology and culture—pursuing a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at Mason will give you the analytical and observational skills, and the hands-on experience, that will prepare you for a fulfilling career or graduate study. And Mason offers undergraduates the option of applying to an accelerated master’s degree program.

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  • Applied Computer Science, BS

    Applied Computer Science is a degree program for those students who want and need the knowledge and expertise of computer science to work in one of the many disciplines that require advanced computing techniques. The program offers four areas of focus:  bioinformatics, computer game design, geography, and software engineering. Some career paths are: Software consulting, Bio-informatics and data management, Graphics and game development, Defense software analysis.

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  • Applied Developmental Psychology, Concentration in the Psychology MA

    The concentration in applied developmental psychology focuses on child development. It provides basic knowledge about normal development, skills for assessing developmental level, and techniques for planning and evaluating programs that foster optimal development. Graduates are prepared for employment at agencies concerned with educational and health programs for children, enrichment programs for infants and preschoolers, and education programs for parents.

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  • Applied Information Technology, MS

    The MS in Applied Information Technology is the very best graduate education in IT for high-potential leaders, especially those working on IT solutions that affect the federal government. Its objective is to graduate men and women of competence and character who can lead multidisciplinary teams in the design, justification, development, management, and sustainment of mega-systems from data to decision in the private and federal sectors. Faculty include professors from the Volgenau School, the School of Business, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, plus industry leaders with unique reputations in the subject area as adjunct professors and guest lecturers. The faculty expose students to the pragmatic issues of IT, not just the theory.

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  • Bioengineering, BS

    Bioengineering, also referred to as biomedical engineering, is the application of engineering tools and approaches to solve problems in biology and medicine. It is a broad and growing field that draws upon rapid advances in technology and computation, as well as on unprecedented growth in basic biological understanding.

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  • Bioengineering, PhD

    The doctoral program in bioengineering is designed to prepare future leaders in bioengineering. The terms bioengineering and biomedical engineering often have been used synonymously, referring to the application of engineering techniques to solve problems in biology and medicine. Rapid advances in understanding the molecular bases of disease have opened up new opportunities to advance human health through research that integrates knowledge in modern biology, engineering, physics, and computer science. The doctoral program will prepare leaders in bioengineering in this broader, integrative sense of the discipline. A major distinguishing feature of the curriculum is that it is designed to educate leaders who understand and appreciate how biomedical technology is translated from the bench to the bedside. Regardless whether they will eventually serve at universities, industry or government, they will understand that new types of devices and processes resulting from advanced research not only need to be “better”, but that they must be “cost-effective” to reach the public. As demanded by their leadership positions, they will recognize that entrepreneurial considerations are essential for determining whether a planned diagnostic or therapeutic approach is likely to be practical and useful for society.

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  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Graduate Certificate

    This graduate certificate program addresses the growing national and regional demand for trained computational biologists by combining a solid foundation in biotechnology with computational skills relevant to bioinformatics. With online and in-classroom courses, the flexibility of this certificate’s structure permits students to custom design their curriculum under an advisor’s guidance, making the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Graduate Certificate especially relevant for students employed in today’s diverse Northern Virginia high-technology workplace. Ideal candidates for this certificate are those who have a background in biological and computer sciences, and are currently working in or planning to enter the fields of biotechnology or bioinformatics. The certificate is also highly relevant for students who are interested in advancing their career goals but may not have adequate time available to undertake a graduate degree program.

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  • Clinical Psychology, Psychology PhD Concentration

    The program approaches clinical psychology from social psychological and contextual perspectives. A social psychological approach uses theory and research from social psychology to understand emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal functioning. A contextual perspective stresses the impact of social and cultural factors on the individual and vice versa. Most of the faculty members employ cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal approaches to research and clinical practice, but students also receive exposure to humanistic, existential, and psychodynamic perspectives.

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  • Criminal Justice, MS, Accelerated MS

    This program advances the knowledge, skills, and career prospects of early-to-mid-career criminal justice professionals and those seeking their first jobs in the criminal justice field. Courses taught by cutting-edge criminal justice practitioners and faculty who are leading researchers in evidence-based policy and practice provide the scientific knowledge and real-world insights necessary to evaluate, select, and implement criminal justice policies and practices that are effective, efficient, and fair.  Students also learn data analysis skills that equip them with the practical knowledge required for many policy-oriented and front-line operational positions. 

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  • Criminology, Law and Society, BA, BS, Concentration in Law and Society

    This program focusing on the justice system prepares students for careers in law enforcement, corrections, homeland security, and a range of justice, social service, and human services fields. It also provides a strong background for law school or graduate study in criminal justice or criminology. The Concentration in Law and Society focuses on such areas as human rights and justice, hate crimes, and family and constitutional law.

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  • Criminology, Law and Society, BA, Concentration in Criminal Justice

    This program focusing on the justice system prepares students for careers in law enforcement, corrections, homeland security, and a range of justice, social service, and human services fields. It also provides a strong background for law school or graduate study in criminal justice or criminology. The Concentration in Criminal Justice focuses on such areas as computer crime, community policing, criminal courts, and innovations in policing.

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  • Criminology, Law and Society, MA

    The MA in criminology, law and society brings cutting-edge social science methods to the disciplines of criminology and law and society. Designed for students who seek to make a difference in the development and evaluation of policy in these fields, theprogram provides students with enhanced skills in analysis and policy evaluation for their further career development or to help them prepare for competitive, sought-after positions.

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  • Criminology, Law and Society, Minor

    Develop knowledge of the principles, institutions, and practices of the systems for administering justice. The minor provides a solid foundation for students seeking to supplement their major area of study, to develop knowledge and skills needed for justice-related occupations, or to lay the foundation for law school or graduate study in the justice field. Students obtain an overview of the justice system and develop advanced knowledge of selected features of the justice system.

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  • Criminology, Law and Society, PhD

    The PhD program in criminology, law and society is designed to produce top academic scholars and leaders in policy and applied settings. It brings cutting-edge social science methods to the disciplines of criminology and law and society. The program provides a rigorous course of study that will prepare students to do research, teach, develop and test policies, and administer agencies and programs designed to administer law, deliver justice, reduce crime, and enhance domestic security.

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  • Deviance, Crime, and Social Control, Concentration in the Sociology BA

    Sociology is the study of social structures, cultural patterns, and human relationships. Our concentration in Deviance, Crime and Social Control looks at the social, legal, and political systems that underpin social control in Western societies and beyond. The program focuses on how social norms and common sense regulate human action, along with the social forces that produce deviant behavior and societal response. If you're curious about what makes people tick and how society responds to control negative behavior you may want to explore this area of study. This concentration prepares you for careers in the criminal justice system, law, community activism, or pubilc policy and government.

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  • Digital Forensics, MS

    Digital forensics is a discipline addressing the collection, processing, and analysis of digital information so that this information can be admitted as evidence in a court of law. It is interdisciplinary in its nature with the inclusion of computer engineering, computer science, information technology, law, and ethics. Digital forensics is a key component in criminal, civil, intelligence, and counter-terrorism matters. The MS in Digital Forensics will prepare graduates for careers in law enforcement, various other branches of government, and in the corporate sector such as banking and finance by combining academic education with real-world practical techniques and by offering advanced training in analyzing digital evidence, in intrusion forensics, and in legal and ethical issues.

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  • Forensic Accounting, Graduate Certificate

    Investigate and defend against fraud with Mason’s graduate certificate in forensic accounting. This program allows students to combine accounting knowledge with investigative skills to successfully analyze, interpret, summarize, and present complex financial and business issues as they relate to fraudulent activity. Forensic accountants are employed by public accounting firms, consulting firms, lawyers, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, government organizations, and financial institutions.

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  • Forensic Science, BS, Minor

    Mason’s Forensic Science Program provides an exciting curriculum as well as hands-on training in crime scene investigation techniques and crime lab methodologies. Course work exposes students to forensic laboratory tests, criminal procedures and expert testimony, trace analysis, and physical evidence analysis. Graduates will be able to use their knowledge to help lawyers, juries, and judges understand the results of scientific tests. The minor in forensic sciences provides an attractive option for students with majors in the natural sciences, engineering, or computer science, and the curriculum structure makes it particularly suitable for students with majors in biology and chemistry.

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  • Forensic Science, Graduate Certificate

    This interdisciplinary graduate certificate program is designed for students seeking training in forensic science, as well as for current professionals employed by the federal government, local law enforcement, and private security corporations. Forensics refers to the application of scientific methodologies to the analysis of crime scenes, the collection of evidence, and the laboratory analysis of that evidence in support of criminal investigations. Related legal aspects are also considered as part of a comprehensive approach to forensics.

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  • Forensic Science, MS

    The Forensic Science Master’s Program is designed to give students a broad theoretical and practical background in the scientific, legal, and investigative principles of the field. Students will get the advanced training needed for a forensics career in state and local government, private industry and academia. Graduates will be qualified to conduct laboratory analysis of forensic data in a secure environment while maintaining the integrity of evidence to ensure applicability in court. Courses offer a broad exposure to forensic laboratory tests, as well as to criminal procedures and expert testimony, forensic biology, forensic chemistry, trace analysis, physical evidence, professional ethics, quality assurance, and current topics in research and development within the forensic sciences.

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  • Information Security and Assurance, MS

    The Department of Computer Science’s MS degree in Information Security and Assurance prepares graduates to fill the current and future need for information security and assurance professionals. Graduates work in a wide variety of capacities, protecting the information systems of different types of organizations and supporting the nation’s information infrastructure. Students are provided with the general and technical knowledge and skills to understand the relationship between information security and advancing information systems technology. The program also provides a theoretical understanding of the science and methodologies for ensuring the secrecy and integrity of data, as well as the availability and legitimate use of data and information systems.

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  • Information Technology, BS, Minor

    Students learn to apply IT to support business processes. The degree produces graduates with strong problem-solving, writing, and communication skills. There is virtually no business or organization that doesn't rely on IT, whether it's analysis, programming, software testing or consultancy, to name just a few of the options open to you.

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  • Information Technology, Undergraduate Certificate

    This certificate is designed primarily for those students who have earned a nontechnical bachelor’s degree or current undergraduate students who desire deeper knowledge than that which can be accomplished through the IT minor.  It allows students to supplement the knowledge gained through their major-related courses with a foundation of information technology (IT).

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  • Telecommunications Forensics and Security, Certificate

    To further the skills of recent graduates and experienced technical professionals in the field of telecommunications, Mason offers a certificate in telecommunications forensics and security. This certificate provides an in-depth understanding of security and forensics as they apply to networks and digital storage media.

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