Certificate ProgramsCertificate Programs

Forensic Nursing Certificate

Apply for Candidacy

There is a nonrefundable application fee of $50 to declare candidacy in this program.

Contact Information

Learn more about the Forensic Nursing Certificate program.

Professional Certificate in Forensic Nursing


If you are interested in investigative sciences and victim advocacy, consider the challenging field of forensic nursing. Forensic nurses work with detectives at crime scenes to preserve, document and collect evidence; they treat survivors of assaults or violent accidents; and work with death investigators, law enforcement, and the legal community. As a forensic nurse, you can pursue a wide array of career opportunities in medical examiners' offices, law enforcement agencies, social service agencies, and specialized hospital units.

Participants in the certificate program will:

  • Identify and properly collect forensic evidence within the health care setting to ensure that it will withstand legal scrutiny.
  • Communicate with the various members of the multi-disciplinary forensic team, including victim advocates, law enforcement, and the legal community.
  • Determine treatment for triage and emergency intervention for patients who exhibit potential forensic issues.
  • Identify basic policies and procedures required for conducting sexual assault examinations for children and adults.
  • Analyze the social and political implications of escalating violence as it relates to law enforcement, criminal justice and domestic living.

Who Can Benefit?

Intended participants include registered nurses, LVNs/LPNs, paramedics, and other licensed medical professionals. Each course provides California BRN credit for nurses.

Completion Information

Completion Requirements

To earn the certificate, students must successfully complete (grade C or better) 16 units: 14 required units plus two elective units or two units of transfer credit as detailed below under "Transfer Credit."

There is no specific order in which courses must be taken, although it is recommended that you take the introduction course near the beginning of your studies if possible.

Completion Time

The certificate program can typically be completed in nine to 18 months.


The cost for the certificate program is approximately $4,200, including tuition and textbooks.


To participate, you must be a registered nurse, licensed vocational nurse or equivalent, nurse practitioner, physician, physician's assistant, SANE certified nurse, licensed paramedic, or have the consent of the UCR Extension program coordinator.

Transfer Credit

Participants may transfer a maximum of two elective units from an accredited university or college. Elective courses must be related to forensic sciences, criminology or similar programs. Official transcripts are required. Registered Nurse continuing education totaling 20 hours or more may be acceptable in lieu of university/college level credit. These hours may be a combination of professional meetings, SANE training and other workshops where continuing education was earned.



  • Cari Caruso, RN SANE-A, owner/CEO, Forensic Nurse Professionals, Pasadena
  • Patricia Drown, Ph.D., Differential Response Team, Coachella Valley
  • Brian P. Foxworth, M.S., Hospice Chaplain, Charter Hospice, Colton
  • Constance Hoyt, MSN, RN, charter member, International Association of Forensic Nurses
  • Kristine M. Karcher, B.S.N., Chief Deputy Medical Examiner, Coos County, Oregon
  • Karen Phillips, RN, JD, Snyder, Turner, Phillips & Ober, LLC., MA.
  • Mary A. Reina, MSN, RN, Director, Forensic Services Unit, SANE-A, SANE-P, Antelope Valley Hospital, Lancaster
  • Ellen M. Farrell, B.S.N., Charge Nurse, Emergency Department, Winter Haven Hospital, Winter Haven, Florida
  • Cynthia Ferguson, M.P.H., Department Head of Clinical Services, United States Navy, Port Hueneme
  • Thomas M. Collins, M.A., RN, Clinical Nurse III, UCSD Health System, San Diego

Instructor Opportunities

Interested in becoming an instructor at UCR Extension? Find out how.

Additional Information

Textbook Information

If a textbook is required, information is provided in the course listing when scheduled, on the confirmation you receive after enrolling, or by e-mail for an online class. Please note that several courses utilize the same text.

Delivery Method

All courses are offered online. You will need access to the Internet, an e-mail account and MS Word 98 or later (all graphics will open in Word). A high-speed connection such as DSL or cable is highly recommended. To learn more about online courses at UCR Extension, visit our Online Course Information page.

Professional Credit

All courses provide California Board of Registered Nursing continuing education credit. UCR Extension is an accredited provider.

Advisory Board

  • Janet Barber, MSN, RN, FAAFS (Forensic Science in Health Care, Regulatory Guidance), Indiana
  • Faye Battiste-Otto, RN (Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner), California
  • Paul Clements, PhD, RN (Mental Health Forensics), New Mexico
  • Sharon Crowley, PhN, MN, RN (Sexual Assault), California
  • Catherine Dougherty, RN, MS (Transplant and Tissue Re-plantation), New York
  • Norman Miller, MBA, American Forensic Nurses, California

Contact Information

Jennifer Campbell
(951) 827-5804

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

UC Riverside Extension Center
1200 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92507-4596

UCR Extension Center

Tel: Work(951) 827-4105 or Toll-Free(800) 442-4990 toll-free
Fax: Fax(951) 827-7273