Forensic Genetic GenealogyOnline Graduate Certificate

Your next competitive advantage: Knowing how genealogy impacts forensic investigations.

The online Graduate Certificate in Forensic Genetic Genealogy is the first program of its kind. It provides individuals in the public and private sectors with in-depth training in genetic and traditional genealogy, and the skills and tools required to apply those concepts to criminal, civil, and family forensic investigations.

Your learning begins with the most up-to-date primer on the fundamentals of forensic biology and forensic DNA analysis. You will put the principles of interpretation of biological evidence to use, as you gain skills in applying it to forensic investigations. You will work through interesting and complex cases where genetic genealogy will come to life, as you gain a real-world understanding of the various genetic testing methods available for use in genetic genealogy investigations, and you will learn to use some key tools to decipher this information. You will also be able to use the key, traditional genealogical methods to work with documentary evidence, and will get a strong foundation in the Genealogy Standards used in genealogical research to obtain valid and accurate results.

Throughout the Graduate Certificate, you will apply the rigorous investigation techniques and core ethical concepts you learn from our highly experienced faculty.

All of this culminates in an independent forensic genetic genealogy practicum on a genetic genealogy investigation or research project. This will allow you to develop and demonstrate your learning so that when you finish your Certificate, you will be able to provide a valuable contribution to genetic genealogy investigations in the real world.

All courses are delivered online and offered in 4 sequential accelerated term formats (i.e. mini-terms, 7.5-12 weeks each). Each course is 3 credits, totaling 12 credits.

A new cohort of the program begins in January each year. The first two courses are delivered in the Spring I and Spring II mini-terms, and the last two courses are delivered in the Summer and Fall I mini-terms. Therefore, the entire program runs from January to October each year.

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Learn from professors who are dedicated to your success.

Our faculty are leaders and innovators in their fields, bringing both deep professional experience and academic rigor to the classroom.

Required Courses
  • Fundamentals of Forensic Biological Evidence (3 Credits)

    Spring I mini-term: January – March (7.5 weeks)

    This course presents an overview of forensic biological evidence and how it relates to forensic investigations from the crime scene to the crime lab. The recognition, preservation, identification, individualization, evaluation, and reconstruction of biological evidence will be covered. Students will be introduced to the forensically relevant biological evidence types typically encountered in forensic investigations, such as hair, skin cells, teeth, bone, blood, semen, saliva, etc. The biological origins, processing, identification, and interpretation of these evidence types will be examined. The fundamentals of traditional Forensic DNA profiling (STR profiling) and an overview of criminal DNA databases will also be covered.

    *For sufficiently experienced practitioners e.g. forensic scientists/DNA analysts, this course may be substituted with another course pending discussion and approval with the program director.

  • Forensic Genetic Genealogy (3 Credits)

    Spring II mini-term: March – May (7.5 weeks)

    This course provides a thorough introduction to the field of genetic research within a forensic and ancestral context. Students will learn what Y chromosome, mitochondrial DNA, X chromosome, and autosomal DNA are and how they work to identify, verify, connect, and extend information pertaining to identifying people through family history, both at the individual, familial and population level. Students will become familiar with the main testing services provided by commercial companies and the available genetic genealogy databases. Additionally, several third-party genetic genealogy tools that have been relevant to both the genealogical and forensic community will be explored. The strengths and limitations of each type of test and ethical issues pertaining to the use of personal genetic data for genealogical and forensic purposes will be covered.

  • Genealogy Principles and Methods (3 Credits)

    Summer Term: May – August (12 weeks)

    This course introduces the student to genealogical research and analysis techniques using documentary evidence. The Genealogy Standards of the Board for Certification of Genealogists will be included. Methods for planning research, collecting, organizing and documenting data, reasoning from evidence, and writing genealogical proof will be applied. The student will learn effective search and analysis techniques for common genealogical sources, e.g. censuses, vital records, immigration and naturalization records, land records, probate records, newspapers, etc.. The Genealogical Proof Standard will be applied to measure the credibility of conclusions from genealogical investigations.

  • Forensic Genetic Genealogy Practicum (3 Credits)

    Fall I mini-term: August – October (7.5 weeks)

    This practicum course provides students with the opportunity to apply their forensic genetic genealogy knowledge to real-world problems. The student must complete a minimum of 160 hours working on a genetic genealogy investigation/research project. Petition to register must be approved by the program advisor. Periodic meetings and discussion of the individual student’s progress is required. The student must discuss and prepare a written proposal with the instructor/advisor.

Admissions Requirements

As this is a Graduate level certificate, applicants must hold a minimum of a Bachelors degree to apply. While it is encouraged that applicants have a Bachelors degree in a scientific discipline, all disciplines will be considered.

For application – a resume, transcripts of former degree(s), and a brief statement of purpose are required. The GRE and letters of recommendation are not required.

For applicants such as forensic scientists/DNA analysts, who are sufficiently experienced in the curriculum covered in the first course (FORS 6600 Fundamentals of Forensic Biological Evidence), it is possible for this course to be substituted with another online course offered at the University of New Haven, pending discussion and approval with the program director.

Tuition and Fees

Click here to view our most-updated graduate tuition and fees for each academic year.

For current members of the law enforcement community and operational casework laboratory personnel (private/state/federal), there is a 30% tuition discount available pending confirmation of current employment. Click here to learn more about our discount programs.

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