Binghamton University Lifelong Enrichment and Advancement for Registered Nurses (BU-LEARN)

Forensic Health Certificate Program

Overview of Forensic Health

Now more than ever, the health care system frequently becomes enmeshed with the legal system, creating numerous opportunities for health care providers in the field of forensic health. The term forensic comes from the Latin forensis (forum) and means “pertaining to the law” – that which is legal. The use of the term forensic health applies to those instances where health care professionals interact with the law or legal issues. Forensic Health is the application of the health-related sciences to public or legal proceedings, the application of the forensic aspects of health care in the scientific investigation and treatment of trauma and/or death of victims and perpetrators of abuse, violence, criminal activity, traumatic accidents, and environmental hazards. Forensic health professionals come from nursing, social work, psychology, occupational therapy and other disciplines. While this certificate will most likely attract primarily nurses, it can also be utilized by other disciplines, including social work, psychology, sociology and anthropology. Students in these disciplines, and others, may also elect to take individual courses as electives and not pursue the entire certificate.

Forensic Clients and Settings

Forensic health care professionals work in a number of settings with a variety of clients: sexual assault victims and perpetrators; victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse; juvenile delinquents; victims of traumatic accidents; clients with criminal backgrounds, and mentally disturbed offenders. Forensic health care professionals can also: work in the coroner’s office on death investigations; assist law enforcement in collecting evidence; act as legal consultants; work with medical malpractice issues; work in organ and tissue donation; deal with environmental issues (food and drug tampering, hazards, terrorism, epidemiological issues); and create violence prevention programs. Health care settings that deal with forensic issues include, but are not limited to: emergency treatment facilities, schools, correctional facilities, psychiatric settings, and outpatient and community health settings. Forensic health research is a rapidly growing area.

Program Overview and Cost

The Forensic Health Certificate Program is composed of 3 Modules:

There are 45 contact hours for each module, for a total of 135 hours. All three are needed to earn the certificate, however, they can be taken in any sequence. All three are fully online and asynchronous, meaning you can do the work at your own pace, as long as the assignments are posted by their due time. The assignments are content-related quizzes at the end of each section, 15 three-hour sections per module.

The cost for each Module is $1000 (a total of $3000 for the Forensic Health Certificate).

A $200 discount is applied to the cost of the Certificate Program if you register and pay for all 3 Modules in advance (for a total cost of $2800).

10% Discount for BU Alumni!! Fee: $2520.00

** 10% Discounts also apply to members of the International Association of Forensic Nurses and the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators **

How to Register

Please use our online registration form to register for Forensic Health Certificate Program.


Binghamton University: Decker School of Nursing & Continuing Education & Outreach (OH-340, 3/1/2016) is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Ohio Nurses Association (OBN-001-91), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

No Commercial Support was received for this educational activity.

Primary Instructor

Mary E. Muscari, PhD is an Associate Professor at the Decker School of Nursing. A recipient of the New York Regional Chapter of the Society of Pediatric Nurses 2009 Advocating for Kids Award, Dr. Muscari has been a Pediatric NP since 1980 when she earned her MSN/PNP from Columbia University. She earned a post-Master’s certificate in psychiatric nursing and a PhD both from Adelphi University; a Post-Master’s certificate in Forensic Nursing (2003) from Duquesne University and additional forensic education as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, a Legal Nurse Consultant and a Medicolegal Death Investigator, and she was the Pennsylvania faculty representative for the Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Investigation (SUIDI) Academy through the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Dr. Muscari was the first nurse to be appointed by a governor to the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Assessment Board and currently performs adult and juvenile sex offender evaluations. She has conducted research on pornography in relation to adult sex offenders, the disappearance of childhood, and factors of youth violence and resilience. In addition to research and teaching, Dr. Muscari has published more than 60 professional articles; several professional book chapters; numerous newspaper and consumer articles; and has delivered more than 85 presentations, chiefly on mental health forensic topics. Dr. Muscari has published several nursing books including the forthcoming Quick Reference Guide to Child and Adolescent Forensics and Quick Reference Guide to Adult and Older Adult Forensics with Dr. Kathleen Brown from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as and parenting books including Not My Kid: 21 Steps to Raising a Non-Violent Child. Dr. Muscari’s research and works have also been well publicized in publications as: Parents Magazine, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens, USAToday, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the LA Times, as well as by national and Canadian radio programs, including NPR and Ask Heloise.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Muscari at:

Last Updated: 4/10/15