News Release| Criminalistics Accreditation; Cal State L.A.

March 8, 2011

Meeting national standards, Cal State L.A.’s criminalistics graduate program receives full accreditation

First such program in Southern California to achieve FEPAC professional accreditation

Los Angeles, CA – Joining a select group of forensic programs, the Master of Science in Criminalistics program at California State University, Los Angeles is the first in Southern California to receive full accreditation for a five-year term under the national standards of the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

“Our accreditation attests to the quality of our graduate program in educating our students for successful careers in forensic science,” says CSULA Director Joseph Peterson of the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics. “The School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics at CSULA has been the most widely known and highly regarded in Southern California.”                    

According to Kathy Roberts, professor of criminal justice and criminalistics at Cal State L.A., “This accreditation is a means of assuring prospective/current graduate students and prospective employers that the graduate degree, faculty, curriculum requirements, and policies and procedures offered by the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics at CSULA have been evaluated under the FEPAC criteria and that it has met or exceeded all of their standards.”

The University’s School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics, located on the first floor of the state-of-the-art Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, offers programs that prepare students for successful positions in law enforcement, corrections, criminal justice planning and/or law. The curriculum provides intensive study in criminal justice theory, research methodology and data analysis, criminal law, organizational functioning, program planning and criminalistics.

Criminalistics students, specifically, learn about forensic science perspectives within the justice system; for example, on DNA testing, controlled substances, and trace-evidence analysis. The laboratory-based Criminalistics curriculum applies scientific concepts uniquely to the special requirements of the forensic sciences—such as crime-scene reconstruction, legal integrity of scientific evidence, courtroom testimony, and individualization of physical evidence.

Peterson notes, “CSULA criminalistics students take classes and engage in research under the direction of faculty in the program, and serve in internships in the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department crime laboratories. They also assist in research studies to investigate the sexual assault kit backlog and to determine priorities for laboratory analysis of forensic evidence in the future.”

The FEPAC, launched by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), aims to maintain and enhance the quality of forensic science education through a formal evaluation and recognition of college-level academic programs. The primary function of the Commission is to develop and maintain standards, and to administer an accreditation program that recognizes and distinguishes high quality undergraduate and graduate forensic science programs.       

The AAFS was established in 1948 to promote education for and research in the forensic sciences; to encourage the study, improve the practice, elevate the standards, and advance the cause of the forensic sciences; to promote interdisciplinary communications; and to plan, organize, and administer meetings, reports, and other projects for the stimulation and advancement of these and related purposes.                

For more about the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics at Cal State L.A.: /academic/hhs/crim_jus/. For more about the accreditating organization:

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 215,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.