Student preparation, perceptions, and persistence in a newly accredited undergraduate forensic science program


  • Cole Buffalini Middle Tennessee State University
  • Frank Bailey Middle Tennessee State University
  • Karen Reed Middle Tennessee State University


student perceptions, student preparation, undergraduate forensic science program


Attainment of FEPAC accreditation represents a major achievement for American university forensic science programs. This designation is a recognition of a program’s rigor and can help prospective students in selecting quality training. In 2021, the authors examined one undergraduate forensic science program located in the southeastern United States as it neared completion of the FEPAC accreditation process. Current program students were surveyed for their incoming academic preparations, as well as their perceptions of the program on a range of variables including comfort level in interactions with professors, perceptions of the program’s effectiveness in preparing them for employment post-graduation, and factors contributing to student success in the program. The results indicated that the program met many but not all of the students’ expectations, and demonstrated that many students conflated the goals of their program with a separate but complementary Forensic Anthropology program. Overall, the majority of surveyed students felt the program adequately prepared them for their post-graduation careers. These results can inform other FEPAC-accredited undergraduate programs or those seeking accreditation as to student preferences and expectations of their forensic science preparation.