Student Handbook & Thesis Requirements

Student Handbook and Resources

For a copy of our student handbook, click here.

For a copy of our track maps, click here.

Thesis Resources

For a list of our most recent Forensic Science student research theses submissions, click here.

For a copy of our theses handbook, click here.

For any additional questions please contact Marta Concheiro-Guisan via email ( 

Thesis Policy Requirements, Procedures and Submissions Procedures

Completing a thesis is mandatory for all MSFOS students. If you have any questions you may contact your Program Director Marta Concheiro-Guisan (

Thesis Preparation

Please review the thesis guidelines and start working with your faculty advisor in preparing and complying with the stages of writing a thesis.

Note: The thesis guidelines have recently changed; the new guidelines are available here (2023-2024 Thesis Guide).

Prospectus Class

Students must successfully complete the Thesis Prospectus series (FOS795-797) in order to be allowed to submit the thesis. This series of three pass-fail seminar courses is designed to introduce the student to scholarly research, report writing, library research and documentation styles/techniques. Students should register for FOS 795 in their first semester of study. In FOS 795, students will be introduced to science faculty members and ongoing research projects. In FOS797 students are expected present their thesis research, from literature review and experimental design to preliminary data. In order obtain a passing grade for the last prospectus course, FOS 797, students must have submitted a Thesis Advisor Agreement and a thesis proposal/prospectus.

Choosing a Thesis Advisor

A thesis advisor must be a full-time graduate faculty member in the MS-FOS program. Alternate arrangements may be made only if approved by the student’s Program Director and the Graduate Dean.

Thesis Advisory Committee

The composition of the thesis committee will vary according to the thesis sponsor’s research direction. Each committee consists of at least three members. The thesis advisor acts as the chair of the committee. The second member also must be MS-FOS graduate faculty in the Department of Sciences at John Jay but can be either full-time or part time. The mandatory third reader must be external to the MS FOS Program; however he/she must have appropriate academic credentials (as determined by the program director) or appropriate scientific expertise related to the research project. External members of the thesis committee may be drawn from other John Jay College Departments, other CUNY colleges, other New York City research institutions, or from a relevant discipline of the different local crime laboratories. The Program director and the student need to approve this member.

Thesis Timeline and Tracking

A student should start inquiring about MS FOS faculty research and searching for a thesis advisor during the first year of study. Once the student and the faculty member have mutually agreed to thesis advisement, formulated a project title, and the Thesis Advisor Agreement has been filled out and submitted to the Program Director, the faculty member will become the student’s thesis advisor. The program director will inform the prospectus course instructors about the various thesis projects students are working on. Upon completion of the approved thesis, the student will be eligible for a Master’s degree.

The public oral presentation of the thesis work will be planned based on the student’s progress either shortly before or after completion of the thesis manuscript. As long as all thesis committee members are present, the presentation can take place during either one of the FOS795-797 courses or be scheduled separately.

Students who are planning to graduate after their 4th semester in the program should plan on completing most of their thesis work in the first summer after the second semester. John Jay College requires all students to submit their thesis one year after completing all coursework required for graduation. Only in exceptional circumstances may the student request an extension by written petition to the faculty thesis advisor, program director and dean. If the request is approved, the student will be granted a limited time period to complete the thesis.

Submission Deadlines for Thesis

The MS-FOS program director must approve each thesis prior to submission to the library. To allow for sufficient review time the following semester based deadlines apply:

  • Fall Semester November 30th
  • Spring Semester May 1st
  • Summer Semester July 31st

For the final sign-off, submit a hard copy of your thesis, including the two signed original approval pages to the Program Director. Students are encouraged to submit their thesis before the deadline.

For any additional questions please contact Marta Concheiro-Guisan via email (