Program Summary

Credits Required


Tuition per Credit


Learn to Bridge the Gap between Medicine and Law with a Certificate in Nursing Forensics

A high number of patients who access health care services are the victims of violence, abuse, or neglect. Professionals trained in forensic nursing are often the first line of defense for these victims when they enter the health care system.

With the patient as the first priority, the actual role of forensic nurses goes far beyond medical care. They have specialized knowledge of the legal system and skills in injury identification, evaluation, and documentation. Often their proper observation, collection, and preservation of evidence can be critical in determining the legal outcome of traumatic events.

The 12-credit Certificate in Nursing Forensics can help you gain foundational knowledge in forensic nursing, including:

  • evidence collection and preservation
  • forensic documentation
  • the recognition of domestic violence, assault, and stalking
  • legal and ethical issues

This program can prepare you to provide more specialized care for victims and perpetrators of physical, psychological, and social violence or abuse.

Why Penn State World Campus?

Earn a renowned credential — The Undergraduate Certificate in Nursing Forensics is an outreach program of the highly respected Penn State College of Nursing and delivered online through the innovative World Campus.

Build a solid foundation — In addition to being an excellent stand-alone credential, 6 of the 12 credits in the certificate can be applied toward electives in Penn State's online RN to BSN degree. Some of the courses in the certificate program may also satisfy continuing professional education requirements.

Usable skills — With curriculum that focuses on fundamental forensic nursing topics, you can acquire skills that you can put to work immediately, helping those who are dealing with violence or abuse.

Flexibility — The online learning format offered by Penn State World Campus makes it possible for you to fit a degree program into your life, even with your current responsibilities. The flexibility of studying when and where you want can give you the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge you need to stand out among your peers.

Who Should Apply?

Penn State College of Nursing's online nursing forensics certificate program could be right for you if you have a valid RN license and you wish to enhance your professional credentials. The courses can show you how to help your patients by providing a bridge between the health care system and the criminal justice system.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Steady job growth in health care is projected for the next several years. As a graduate of the nursing forensics certificate program, you could obtain a position in a hospital, community anti-violence center, medical examiners/coroner office, corrections institution, public health department, and psychiatric hospital. Typical roles could include:

  • medical examiner nurse investigator
  • forensic clinical nurse specialist
  • correctional facility nurse
  • emergency room forensic nurse
  • nurse coroner
  • assault or abuse nurse examiner
  • legal nurse consultant