Attention Forensics: UCO offers first ever doctoral degree


Hannah Wagar

Contributing Writer

The University of Central Oklahoma marked a new milestone on Oct. 16 as it announced the approval of its first doctoral degree after years of development.

The Higher Learning Commission told the University last week that the proposed Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in forensic science was officially approved.

“This is a landmark moment for the University of Central Oklahoma,” UCO President Todd Lamb said in the school’s official press release. 

“UCO is now unquestionably the destination for forensic science education at every level, leading the way in developing the workforce in this important area.”

According to Mark McCoy, the Forensic Science Institute interim director, this approval arrived after years of planning and program design, along with an extensive review including an HLC visit in July to evaluate the department’s facilities and the program. 

“This new doctoral program marks a significant milestone for UCO and the W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute solidifying our position as one of the nation’s leading institutions for forensic science education. At UCO, we are committed to workforce development, and the Doctor of Science in forensic science stands as a testament to that dedication,” said McCoy in the press release.

McCoy shared that the will offer 60 additional hours of graduate courses that include training, seminars, and internships that will expand beyond the master’s program. It will focus on training individuals wanting leadership roles in forensic science, primarily training lab managers and technical leads. Students will have to get a broad and deep overview of all the disciplines in forensic science in this program so that they can manage a crime lab. 

“Our biggest audience may be those already in the field, though some students will enroll directly after obtaining their master’s,” McCoy says, “so, most of the courses will occur in the evening, to aid those already working with private, state, and federal labs.”

The forensic science doctorate program will be offered starting in Fall 2024, and priority applications are due April 15.

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