Curriculum: Thesis & Non-Thesis

Veterinary Forensic Sciences MS Program

The University of Florida’s Maples Center for Forensic Medicine online MS in Veterinary Forensic Sciences is comprised of five 3-credit core requirements and a thesis and non-thesis option. Additionally, students will need to take 15 elective credits. The program is provided by the UF College of Veterinary Medicine in partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

The program is aimed at professionals working in the forensic medicine and veterinary science fields. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Practicing veterinarians and veterinary technicians
  • Criminal justice professionals
  • Individuals involved in shelter medicine operations
  • Animal control officers
  • Law enforcement officials
  • Forensic investigators

Thesis/Non-Thesis Options

What is the difference between the thesis and the non-thesis option?
The thesis option requires:

  • Establishment of a graduate committee for research project approval
  • A thesis proposal (research project)
  • A minimum of 6 research hours
  • Submission of research project to graduate committee
  • Thesis defense (presence in Gainesville is required for this)
  • Submission of publishable manuscript from research
  • Proof of submission to a peer reviewed journal

The non-thesis option requires:

  • Completion of coursework (5 core courses and 15 elective credits) to complete the minimum number of degree hours for the MS degree.

Why choose the thesis option?
The thesis option provides opportunity for the following:

  • Continuing on to a PhD program
  • Conducting research in a specific area of interest
  • Publication

Students who choose the non-thesis option are required to take five core classes and at minimum 15-credits of electives. However, students who pick the thesis option are required to take a minimum of 6-credits of thesis research.

Grade Requirements

The only passing grades for Graduate Students are A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, and C. Please note C+ and C grades count toward degree only if an equal number of courses numbered 5000 or higher have been earned with B+, A-, or A, respectively. If a grade of C- or below is earned, the student will need to re-take the course when it is offered again to have it count toward a MS degree.

Please also note, as stated below, courses taken before being in the MS status must be earned as a B grade or higher to transfer toward the MS degree. Grades earned with a B- or less will not transfer.

Transfer of Credits Toward MS

A maximum of 15 transfer credits are allowed to count toward a MS degree. These can include no more than 9 credits from institution/s approved by UF, with the balance obtained from nondegree and/or certificate courses at the University of Florida. These courses must be graduate level (5000-7999) and earned with a grade of B or better and the course(s) cannot have been taken longer than seven years from the term you begin as a MS student. Grades earned with a B- or less will not transfer. To have credits reviewed for transfer from another university, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the following:

  • a copy of your transcript (including a transcript key usually found on the back of the transcript)
  • a course syllabus for review of what was covered in the course, and
  • which course(s) you would like to be considered for transfer and which course(s) you think the course(s) will replace in the Forensic Science Program.

We will forward the request to the Supervisory Committee for your major who will then make a decision. Also, if your official transcript is not already on file with Office of Admissions, please sent it to:

University of Florida
Office of Admissions
201 Criser Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611-4000

Special Topics Course

The 1-credit special topics course is required for the thesis option and will consist of three days of reviews, an oral examination, and a comprehensive final examination in Gainesville, Florida. Refer to Key Dates for specific dates the course will be held each term.


In addition to tests, examinations and other assessments incorporated in the individual courses, master’s degree students will be required to take a comprehensive final examination on the courses covered in this program.

View more about the program here