About our Program
The FIU Chemistry & Biochemistry Department offers a Masters of Science in Chemistry, a Master of Science in Forensic Science, a Ph.D. in Chemistry, and a new Ph.D. option in chemistry/biochemistry with forensic science emphasis. These programs are summarized below.
The Masters of Science program emphasizes research in the Environmental and Biomedical Aspects of Chemistry. Recent Environmental investigations have focused on various projects in the Everglades, Biscayne Bay, and in the Florida Bay areas of South Florida. Additionally, students can select research projects in biomedical topics, photocatalytic studies of organic molecules, and in organic synthesis of important molecules.
The Master of Science in Forensic Science is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for careers in forensic science laboratories. The program may also be suitable preparation for doctoral instruction in several disciplines. This is primarily a research degree, emphasizing critical thinking through research, presentation, and publication on each student's original problem. Students must first be admitted to the university and to the program.
The Ph.D. program emphasizes the Environmental and Biomedical Aspects of Chemistry. Recent investigations have focused on various projects in these two areas. Environmental projects include examining biogeochemistry of environmentally and biomedically important trace elements, such as mercury and arsenic; hydrocarbon speciation in ancient sediments studied by SFC extraction; studies of molecules and airborne particulates of importance to the atmosphere; photocatalytic decomposition of organophosphates; and utilizing spin trapping agents to probe for the presence of free radicals in specimens subjected to adverse conditions. Biomedical research includes synthesis of biologically important molecules in order to probe enzyme mechanism, theoretical studies of active site of protease enzymes, and dietary influence on the makeup of the macular pigment.
A Ph.D. in chemistry/biochemistry with forensic science emphasis has recently been implemented at FIU. While this is a new initiative on our part, it is important to understand that forensic scientists at FIU have been graduating students with PhDs for several years. This new program formalizes the degree and is an outgrowth of our current AAFS accredited MS program in forensic science. We presently have students obtaining advanced degrees in all areas of forensic science. Associated with this program is a limited number of teaching and research assistantships for support of incoming students.
The focus of the graduate program at FIU is unique in that it involves advanced research in the forensic sciences, and research performed here involves collaborations with a wide variety of local, state, national and international forensic science agencies. Projects range from ultratrace detection of materials found at crime scenes, to DNA typing in mass disasters, to canine screening for explosives. Advanced instrumentation including electrospray and atomic mass spectrometry, capillary and microfluidic electrophoresis, laser induced fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy is available. Another advantage of coming to FIU is the wide variety of cultural, ecological, and athletic opportunities here in Miami , from South Beach to the Florida Keys and the Everglades . We have a large and very active group of faculty here at FIU. Please feel free to check the web pages of individual faculty members for more information.