Chaminade University is Ceasing the Forensic Master’s Program


Melanie Schumilas

Professor Sullivan in one of the Forensic Sciences facilities.

By Kris Adams, Staff Writer

As one of the most respected programs in the region, Chaminade University’s master’s program in forensic sciences is shutting down, even though the bachelor’s program is flourishing more than ever.

“It was the reason why I came here,” said Rebecca Canaday, freshman and forensic science undergraduate student. “I was planning for my first four years to get a Bachelor in Forensic Sciences and then go through the master’s program.”

With students like Canaday hoping to do their master’s at Chaminade, they for now have to look for other options as the school is no longer accepting applications for the graduate program. Current students in the graduate program will be allowed to finish out their master’s, but no new students will be accepted.

“The job demand in this field is high, because of the lack of interest for people [have in this work of field],” Canaday said. “It does not make sense to [close] the program.”

In an e-mail that David Carter, the director of the program sent out in September, he explained his disappointment and that the decision was financially motivated and that the quality of the program was not questioned.

“In the last four years we have seen increased conference participation and publications by our MSFS students. Also, our MSFS graduates have been consistently successful in their postgraduate endeavor,” Carter wrote in the e-mail to students in the undergraduate program. 

Despite the program having success with its students, the numbers of enrollment and growth that administration wanted to see were not reached, and therefore the decision to phase it out was made, Canaday further explained. Last year, 22 students enrolled for an intended Forensic Science undergraduate major, while this year it was 29, which is one of the largest growths for the undergraduate program in the past four years.

Our master’s program in its current form will be phased out over the next year, and we will accommodate all current students, but not admit new ones,” wrote Dr. Helen Whippy, provost at Chaminade University, in an e-mail. “The Director, Dr. David Carter, is currently working with Prof. Ron Becker of the Criminal Justice program to integrate the two areas, so that we will have (hopefully) a new program in place by the end of this year.”

With a new potential master’s program that combined Criminal Justice and Forensic Science, students currently enrolled in the bachelor’s program of Forensic Science who were hoping to go further on with their education at Chaminade might have a chance after all.

“I do not have details on the new curriculum, but I think Forensic Science and Criminal Justice working together should produce a program that will be very useful to our community, and very attractive to our students.” Dr. Whippy wrote.

The graduate students currently enrolled in the program will be able to finish their degree at Chaminade. However, the university is no longer accepting new applications, meaning that current students will not be affected, but for those who wish to do the program have to wait and see what comes up.

Although the decision to cease the program was made earlier this year, the university is looking into how it can replace the graduate program. Chaminade is well known for its Forensic Sciences and Behavioral Science programs.