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Criminal Justice & Criminology

College of Arts & Sciences

Graduate Certificate in Forensic Document Examination

The Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology offers a graduate certificate in Forensic Document Examination. The program consists of four courses (12 semester hours). All courses are 100% online allowing students from all over the world to complete the program. The courses are normally offered during the Fall and Spring semesters allowing students to complete the certificate in two semesters.


CJCR 5110 

Forensic Document Examination (Fall Semester) – an introductory course consisting of the legal system, scientific methodology of document examination, equipment and techniques, detection of altered and forged documents, ethics, report writing, and current and on-going research in forensic document examination.

CJCR 5120

Forensic Handwriting Identification (Fall Semester) – identifying handwritten entries, forged signatures, collection of exemplar materials, extrinsic and intrinsic factors affecting handwriting, handwriting physiology, and levels of opinion.

CJCR 5130 

Forensic Document Analysis (Spring Semester) – use of specialized equipment and techniques such as video spectral comparators, infrared and ultraviolet, photographic techniques, computer altered documents, paper and ink analysis, and identifying print processes.

CJCR 5140 

Forensic Document Examination Practicum (Spring Semester) – selected cases for study, prepared exercises for student analysis and reporting.


The Forensic Document Examination certificate is open to anyone who may have an interest in or need academic credentials in forensic document examination. The certificate program may be of interest not only to those in training to become document examiners but also those involved in art authentication, criminal investigators, private investigators, fraud and insurance investigators, and forensic scientists in other related fields. The certificate program should not be confused with certification in forensic document examination. To become a certified forensic document examiner requires additional training and apprenticeship which ETSU can arrange for those students wishing to become certified document examiners.


Currently, two instructors teach the courses. Ms. Heidi Harralson, M.A., CDE, D-BFDE is a forensic document examiner with Spectrum Forensic International, LLC in Tucson, Arizona. Larry S. Miller, Ph.D., CDE, D-BFDE is a professor with the Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology at East Tennessee State University. Both instructors are board certified forensic document examiners with over 25 years of experience. Their board certification is with the Board of Forensic Document Examiners whose certification procedures are accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB).

Admission Requirements

Students applying for admission into the Forensic Document Examination (FDEX) certificate must possess a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university and have an undergraduate grade point average of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale. The GRE is not required for admission. The baccalaureate degree may be in any field or discipline.

Tuition and Fees

The certificate program is subject to the regular tuition and fees associated with graduate coursework at ETSU.


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