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University Courses


Training is available through East Tennessee State University (ETSU).  ETSU offers a graduate certificate degree in Forensic Document Examination.  This degree is a four course (12 semester hour) completely online academic course of study. The degree program is offered to anyone who is interested in the study of forensic document examination or employed as a forensic document examiner. 

East Tennessee State University is a state university located in Johnson City. ETSU offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs of study in a wide variety of disciplines including arts, natural sciences, behavioral sciences, education, business, nursing, pharmacology and medicine. Visit ETSU online by going to www.etsu.edu.

Entrance Requirements

The applicant must possess a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. The bachelor’s degree can be in any field of study. The applicant must have a 2.5 or higher undergraduate grade point average (based on a 4.0 scale). The applicant must submit three letters of recommendation from persons who are familiar with the academic abilities and character of the applicant. Recommendation forms are available in the Graduate Catalog available from ETSU (downloadable from its website). The GRE is not required.

Course Descriptions

CJCR 5110 - Forensic Document Examination. An introductory course that covers the scope of work of forensic document examiners, the criminal justice system, legal issues, ASTM standards, report writing, using the scientific method to examine documents, research and current issues in forensic document examination.

CJCR 5120 - Forensic Handwriting Identification. This course covers historical developments in
handwriting, handwriting systems, class and individual characteristics, letter formations, numerical formations and symbols/drawings. Also covered are collection of standards (exemplars) and intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to changes in handwriting.

CJCR 5130 - Forensic Document Analysis. This course covers paper and ink identification including thin layer chromatography, infrared and ultraviolet examinations, photography and machine produced documents (copiers, faxes, typewriters, computer generated documents). The use of specialized equipment is also covered such as spectral comparators, infrared, ultraviolet, ESDA examinations and microscopic examinations.

CJCR 5140 - Forensic Document Examination Practicum. This hands-on course allows students the opportunity to examine documents and render opinions in a wide variety of document cases. Students will apply the knowledge gained in the other courses to complete assignments.


Dr. Larry S. Miller (Professor, Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology) will be teaching CJCR 5110 and CJCR 5130 this academic year. Dr. Miller is a board certified document examiner and Diplomate of the Board of Forensic Document Examiners. Ms. Heidi Harralson (Spectrum Forensic International, LLC) will be teaching CJCR 5120 and CJCR 5140 this academic year. Ms. Harralson possesses a Master’s degree in Handwriting Science and Forensic Document Examination and is a board certified document examiner and Diplomate of the Board of Forensic Document Examiners. Future instructors will include Ms. Emily Will, M.A., D-BFDE.

Further Information

Inquiries about applying and additional information may be obtained by contacting Dr. Larry S. Miller at 423-439-5964 or by email at millerls@etsu.edu.  This program of study is not listed as yet on the ETSU website.


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