Online PMC

Online Forensic Nursing Post-Master’s Certificate

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NLN Center of Excellence in Nursing Education

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and the post-graduate APRN certificate program at Duquesne University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

Become a forensic nurse leader.

Advance your nursing skills and expertise in law and forensic science and earn your Post-Master’s Certificate in Forensic Nursing online. Gain the skills to collaborate with other professionals for the care of victims and prosecution of the perpetrators.

At Duquesne, your certificate connects you to expert forensic nurses and prepares you with formalized training to sit for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) certification exam.

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Complete your certificate online

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Build forensic nursing skills in just 5 courses

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3 start dates per year

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No GRE required

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Tuition discounts available

Why earn a certificate in forensic nursing?

When you earn a forensic nursing certificate, you can develop distinct expertise that prepares you to become a critical, meaningful part of assessing and investigating abuse and providing trauma-informed care to the most vulnerable populations.

In as little as one year, you can learn to apply forensic science to serve patients in many ways, from designing more effective care plans to providing medical analysis that can add to legal defenses. Upon completion, graduates emerge with advanced practice skills to help influence court decisions, shift health care policy and lead patients with complex cases toward recovery.

The smart choice — an online certificate program.

  • Prepare to become a certified SANE nurse. Your certificate provides a prep course that includes the 40-hour SANE-A training necessary to sit for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner certification exam.
  • Complete your courses online. No campus visits are required, plus you have the opportunity to complete your precepted hours at a clinical location that’s close to home.
  • Connect with forensic nurse experts. Our faculty serve as your mentors, available by phone or email throughout your certificate program.
  • Access a flexible learning platform. Set your schedule to be flexible with your career, so you can study when it is convenient for you.
  • Join an esteemed institution. Duquesne ranks #45 in the nation for the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs in 2020 (U.S. News & World Report).

Why choose Duquesne for your forensic nursing certificate?

We partnered with the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science to design our online forensic nursing certificate. That means you’ll understand the relationship between forensic science and law, but more importantly, how this relationship impacts our criminal justice institutions from a health care perspective.

Our faculty of forensic nursing innovators have been leaders in online education for over 20 years and are recognized for creating one of the first forensic nursing programs — launched in 2002. Sharpen your multidisciplinary approach to integrating science with the law and apply your advanced nursing expertise in a variety of industries.

What can I learn from Duquesne’s online forensic nursing certificate curriculum?

Coursework for Duquesne’s online Post-Master’s Certificate in Forensic Nursing is designed to help you build upon the knowledge you gained while earning your MSN degree. You’ll learn how to effectively collaborate with legal and scientific experts in a variety of settings.

Join us, and you can learn to:

Become a policy advocate

Learn to actively participate in policy discussions that affect your patients.

Lead in an emerging field

Apply legal and forensic science principles to your advanced practice nursing skills.

Base your decisions on research

Integrate clinical theory and evidence-based practice into the care you give your patients.

Refine your clinical judgment

Strengthen specialized skills to improve your patient assessment and trauma-informed care.

Care for diverse populations

Deepen your understanding of cultural competence and sensitivity that you offer to individuals and families.

Collaborate with a range of experts

Increase quality of care and plans for patients by combining insights from other disciplines.

Online Forensic Nursing Certificate Curriculum

The Post-Master’s Certificate in Forensic Nursing curriculum is a total of 15 credits — five 3-credit courses. You can earn your forensic nursing certificate in as little as 1 year.

Forensic Nursing Coursework

GNFO 517 Forensic Science and the Legal System 3 Credits
GNFO 518 Criminal Law and the Courts 3 Credits
GNFO 519 Advanced Forensic Nursing I: Theory and Practice 3 Credits
GNFO 520 Advanced Forensic Nursing II: Program Development, Leadership & Policy 3 Credits
GNFO 521 Forensic Clinical and Capstone 3 Credits

Note: Curriculum is subject to change.

What are common career paths for a forensic nurse?

  • Sexual assault nurse examiner
  • Nurse coroner
  • Forensic correctional nurse
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse investigator
  • Forensic psychiatric nurse
  • Legal nurse consultant
  • Forensic gerontology specialist

What’s the career outlook for forensic nurses?

  • More opportunities. As the demand for forensic nurses and sexual assault examiners grows, your certificate in forensic nursing can position you for a wider range of jobs in a growing market.
  • Higher demand. The Department of Justice offers grants in 49 states to stimulate the addition of proper training programs that can help investigators answer growing demand for forensic examiners. (United States Government Accountability Office)
  • Increased earnings. Advanced practice nurses can become eligible for higher earnings, especially when they pursue a specialty. The median salary of a nurse who is specialized in forensics is $81,800. The top 10% of forensic nurses reported earning around $140,000 a year. (

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We support nurses who seek SANE certification.

The online forensic nursing certificate meets the classroom and clinical requirements to sit for SANE certification. Our curriculum takes you from evidence collection and into courtrooms, helping you apply concepts in law and forensic science to advance your nursing practice. It works to help improve how you assess, diagnose and treat patients who have experienced traumatic events. This includes SANE-A training and hands-on experience gained during a clinical capstone in your desired setting.

Online Forensic Nursing Post-Master’s Certificate Admissions

Admission Prerequisites

To qualify for our online PMC programs, you must meet the following prerequisites:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Hold an MSN from an accredited college or university
  • Hold a current, unencumbered RN license
  • Complete an undergraduate or graduate-level statistics course with a “C” or higher

The faculty admissions committee may look more closely at nursing and science grades when making admissions decisions.

Admission Process

  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Professional goal statement
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Two electronically submitted references (one academic and one professional in a supervisory role)
    • The supervisor reference letters must come from a direct supervisor who is responsible for your performance evaluation
    • If you have been out of school more than five years, please speak with your Enrollment Advisor for advice