Forensic Nursing Graduate Certificate Programs

Updated: Jun 4, 2024

Compassionate nurses with a master's degree can complete an online post-Graduate Certificate in Forensic Nursing to enter a specialty that crosses over with criminal justice. By gaining knowledge of forensic science as well as the court and legal system, these nurses can become patient advocates and leverage their clinical and scientific expertise to prosecute violent offenders.

These online post-master's certificates in Forensic Nursing can be completed in a year or year and a half, which is much less time than earning a second master's degree. Though many courses can be completed online or via hybrid instruction, most programs require in-person clinical experiences.

What Are the Online Forensic Nursing Post-Master's Certificate Requirements?

A post-master's certificate in forensic nursing typically mandates that applicants meet the following requirements:

  • Completed application with fee.
  • Undergraduate degree, including transcripts.
  • Graduate degree with transcripts and proof of completion.
  • Unexpired, unencumbered nursing license.
  • A required number of completed practice hours as an RN
  • An essay or statement of purpose
  • Proof of required immunizations
  • Resume with letters of reference or professional interview (some programs)

What Type of Classes Are Included in the Online Forensic Nursing Post-Master's Certificate Curriculum?

Forensic Nursing post-grad certificates are available completely online though they require in-person clinical experiences. Most programs are 15-21 credits in length. At Fitchburg State University, for instance, students complete an introductory course on forensic nursing and then two scientific courses that each include a clinical. A final practicum is required for certificate completion. Many other online post-grad certs require the completion of courses related to how the legal and court systems work.

Some post-grad certs, such as the one at Duquesne University, also allow the student to prepare for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) certification.

Courses taken in an online Forensic Nursing post-grad certificate may include:

  • Introduction to Forensic Nursing
  • Scientific Foundations for Forensic Nursing Interventions (with a clinical component)
  • Forensic Nursing: Caring for Victims (with a clinical component)
  • Criminal Law and the Courts or Forensic Science and the Legal System
  • Practicum in Forensic Nursing

Prior to applying online, interested nurses should research the program, including all courses, practicums, and clinical requirements.

What Type of Career Can I Pursue with an Online Forensic Nursing Post-Master's Certificate?

Nurses with a post-graduate certificate in forensic nursing can pursue a wide range of careers that overlap between clinical care and the legal system. That is, they may continue to deliver patient care at hospitals or they may work in a legal or lab setting to support criminal prosecution efforts. Some career options might include:

  • Sexual assault nurse examiner (with the SANE certificate)
  • Nurse coroner
  • Forensic correctional nurse
  • Nurse investigator
  • Legal nurse consultant
  • Patient / Victim Advocate

Forensic nurses may work in hospitals, psychiatric institutions, and medical centers to identify and support victims of sexual and domestic abuse. They may work with coroners or medical examiners to help analyze the bodies of victims in order to develop a case against the perpetrator. Such forensic nurses also function as patient advocates speaking out against violence and abuse.

Forensic Nursing Post-Graduate Certificate Programs List

Interested in a forensic nursing graduate certificate program? Check out our listings below to find a traditional, online, or hybrid program near you.


Fitchburg State UniversityFitchburg, MAOnline - Forensic Nursing


Duquesne UniversityPittsburgh, PAOnline - Forensic Nursing

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