Forensic Nursing Program

Michigan’s only forensic nursing program equips you for a dynamic career in advanced nursing.

Oakland University is educating the future leaders of the forensic nursing profession. As Michigan’s only forensic nursing program and one of the few nationwide, we prepare you to work with patients who are victims, suspects, or perpetrators of trauma, violence, and maltreatment. Our forensic nursing program stands out for its rigorous curriculum, extensive clinical training and convenient high-tech, high-touch format that integrates online and in-person instruction. You can work full-time while you complete the forensic nursing program, which holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The forensic nursing program was developed in collaboration with forensic nursing’s founder, Virginia Lynch, who calls Oakland University “the forensic nursing pace-setter.” Get ready to take your place at the forefront of this fast-growing nursing specialty.

Oakland University is educating the future leaders of the forensic nursing profession. As Michigan’s only forensic nursing program and one of the few nationwide, we prepare you to work with patients who are victims, suspects, or perpetrators of trauma, violence, and maltreatment. Our forensic nursing program stands out for its rigorous curriculum, extensive clinical training and convenient high-tech, high-touch format that integrates online and in-person instruction. You can work full-time while you complete the forensic nursing program, which holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The forensic nursing program was developed in collaboration with forensic nursing’s founder, Virginia Lynch, who calls Oakland University “the forensic nursing pace-setter.” Get ready to take your place at the forefront of this fast-growing nursing specialty.

Forensic Nursing: The Oakland University Advantage

Open to nurses who hold at least a BSN, our forensic nursing program offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for career advancement. You’ll receive elite education from pioneers in the emerging field of forensic nursing, while interacting with multidisciplinary team members in victim advocacy, the legal system,, public health and law enforcement.

Our forensic nursing program is a leader in forensic nursing education for its:

  • Comprehensive education . Unlike other programs in this specialty, Oakland’s forensic nursing program covers all subspecialities  within the profession. You’ll be equipped to handle cases involving sexual violence, human trafficking, intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, elder maltreatment, death investigation, disaster response and more. 
  • Exceptional clinical experience. Our forensic nursing program includes a minimum of 420 hours of clinical training, compared to the 150 to 300 hours in most other programs. You’ll work with high-quality clinical partners hand-picked by the School of Nursing, eliminating the need to arrange your own clinical experiences in forensic nursing.
  • Superior faculty. You’ll work with active forensic nursing practitioners who teach from firsthand experience. Many of our faculty are engaged in research, and all are attentive, accessible mentors who offer personalized guidance along with classroom instruction.
  • Tight-knit community. Although you’ll complete most coursework online, Oakland’s interactive digital platform ensures that you build strong relationships with faculty and peers. Our forensic nursing students support one another academically and professionally, a crucial benefit in this mentally and emotionally challenging discipline. 
  • Hands-on technical training. Forensic nurses often use specialized equipment when conducting the medical-forensic examinations. You’ll become proficient in advanced assessment and the use of colposcopes, digital cameras, alternative light sources, evidence collection kits, laboratory technology and other tools of the trade.

What Can You Do With a Forensic Nursing Degree?

Forensic nurses work as independent practitioners and members of a multidisciplinary team that seeks to optimize health and legal outcomes of  victims of trauma, violence and maltreatment. 

This unique interdisciplinary role gives forensic nurses a variety of career pathways. You may be employed by, and/or collaborate with, many different types of organizations. Examples include:

  • Hospitals
  • Community health care clinics
  • Psychiatric institutions
  • Correctional facilities
  • Victims’ advocate organizations
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Coroner and medical examiner offices
  • Emergency preparedness and first-response units
  • Judicial agencies
  • Public health departments
  • Law firms

The master’s degree program provides you with the preparation to continue your studies in a doctoral nursing program, if you so choose.

Forensic Nursing: What You’ll Learn

Oakland University offers two credentials in forensic nursing: a graduate certificate and master of science in nursing. Both forensic nursing programs combine online coursework with in-person clinical instruction, giving you the flexibility to work full-time while in the program. You’ll complete 420 hours of clinical training, regardless of which forensic nursing program you enter.

The Graduate Certificate in Forensic Nursing totals 18 credits, with a 16-month plan of study. It includes a foundational course in forensic nursing and specialized courses (with associated clinical experiences) in

  • Death investigation
  • Emergency preparedness and disaster management
  • Interpersonal violence and maltreatment
  • Advanced forensic nursing

The Master of Science in Nursing: Forensic Nursing requires 39 credits and can be completed in 28 months. It includes the same coursework listed above for the forensic nursing graduate certificate, plus additional courses in:

  • Nursing scholarship
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Health Policy
  • Advanced Health assessment
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced Pathophysiology

Both forensic nursing programs equip you with the academic and clinical expertise required to fulfill the diverse roles and responsibilities of forensic nurses.

Forensic Nursing Program Resources

Programs Related to Forensic Nursing

Not sure if forensic nursing is right for you? Check out these other graduate degree programs at Oakland, and contact our admissions team to discuss your options.

  • Master of Science in Nursing: Acute Care Adult Gerontologic Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Primary Care Adult Gerontologic Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner

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