Forensics Overview

The College of Business and Economics, mostly through collaborations with the WVU Forensic Science Initiative in the Research Office, has created a range of programs that fill previously unmet needs in the forensic community. They fall under two broad concepts: The business of forensics and the forensics of business.

The Business of Forensics

Forensic science laboratories have never been studied as an industry, despite their central role in the criminal justice system. Many laboratory managers feel that their employees are well-trained and have sufficient instrumentation to carry out their duties and, yet, the US has thousands of cases backlogged. Personnel are the single largest portion of any forensic laboratory's annual budget. Human resources is a major issue, with the identification, hiring, training, and retention of scientific employees difficult given the scientific, security, and quality demands of forensic laboratory work. The business world can offer many potential solutions to these situations, and WVU's College of Business and Economics is the only academic institution intensively studying forensic laboratories and applying business solutions, such as:


FORESIGHT is a business-guided self-evaluation of forensic science laboratories across North America. The participating laboratories represent local, regional, state, and federal agencies. The process involves standardizing definitions for performance metrics to evaluate work processes, linking financial information to work tasks and functions. Laboratory managers can then assess resource allocations, efficiencies, and value of services. The mission is to measure and preserve what works and change what does not.

Research Output

Project FORESIGHT has led to significant research developments for the business of forensic sciences. The output includes developments in budgeting, cost effectiveness, efficiency, human resource management, measurement, and strategic management.

Forensic Management Academy

This tailored 36-hour certificate program has been designed specifically for forensic laboratory managers with fewer than five years of experience and those who aspire to manage a laboratory. The FMA program is designed to provide those new to laboratory management with a strong foundation in contemporary business practice and leadership as applied in forensic settings. Courses have been developed based on input from forensic laboratory managers and leading practitioners.

The Forensics of Business

The WVU College of Business and Economics is leading the nation through successful efforts in forensic accounting related to curriculum development, program development and delivery, sharing education best practices and fraud and forensic accounting research. White collar crime, fraud, and counterfeits all require the application of forensic methods to the successful investigation and prosecution of economic crimes. WVU is a leader in forensic applications and education in accounting and fraud investigation, working with major government agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Internal Revenue Service. WVU is also houses the Institute for Fraud Prevention.

Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination (FAFE)

Undergraduate and graduate certificates in forensic accounting and fraud examination. Additionally, the College doctoral program includes and emphasis in forensic accounting and fraud investigation.

Institute for Fraud Prevention

The IFP is a voluntary association of organizations and researchers dedicated to fraud prevention with an orientation toward research and education as a basis for developing anti-fraud best practices.

Research Output

The combined efforts of the FAFE program and the IFP have resulted in significant contributions to the forensics of business.

These efforts have culminated in a critical mass of activities, resources, and potential. The B&E College's Strategic Plan has identified its forensic education, research, and outreach programs as a key initiative advancing the expertise of its faculty, staff, and students.