Graduate Certificate in Environmental Forensics

The Graduate Certificate Program in Environmental Forensics (EF) provides graduate students and working professionals with the analytical, interpretive, and communication skills needed to enter or advance within the EF profession, including the use of scientific techniques to investigate violations of environmental regulations and to apportion responsibility for environmental damages. The program examines the characterization of contaminants and determination of their origins, even if the discharge occurred decades ago. The methods employed include those of analytical (geo) chemistry, field geology and biology, and remote sensing, among other disciplines. Practitioners must also understand the legal framework and have considerable computational and statistical expertise. This program emphasizes both theory and hands-on experience in the geochemical fingerprinting of environmental matrices using polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), petroleum biomarkers, and trace metals, as well as in applying electron and optical microscopy of Earth materials to forensic problems.


Course Requirements

Course CodeCourse TitleCredits
EAES 525 X-ray Microanalysis 3
EAES 527 Organic Geochemistry 3
EAES 528 Environmental Forensics 3
EAES 529 Instrumental Environmental Analysis 3
EAES 561  Environmental Law & Polic 3
Total: 15‌

Admissions Information

Applicants must submit an application online through The Graduate School. The program is open to students with undergraduate science and engineering degrees who meet the Graduate School's general requirements for admission.

Organic Geochemistry is a prerequisite to the Environmental Forensics class. In addition, it is expected that the matriculating student with a Geoscience undergraduate major should have already taken mineralogy, stratigraphy, and geochemistry. Non-Geoscience science majors should have taken at least the equivalent of MSU’s Advanced Quantitative Analysis course. The detailed prerequisite listings are given for each course in the University’s graduate catalog.

Transitioning to the Master’s Program in Environmental Science

Following successful completion of the certificate program, students may choose to apply to one of the Master’s programs in Environmental Studies.