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ETSU Online

East Tennessee State University

Forensic Document Examination - Graduate Certificate

Forensic Document Examination

Graduate Certificate Program

ETSU Online Forensic Document Examination Certificate

Students completing this certificate will have gained knowledge in handwriting identification, print process identification, and the court system in the United States allowing them to seek employment and become certified as forensic document examiners.

The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology offers a graduate certificate in Forensic Document Examination, an online graduate certificate program was designed with working professionals in mind, offering the flexibility and convenience of online coursework led by the same faculty teaching on our campus.



Program of Study

The most common type of questioned document examination involves identifying the authorship of a written letter. It is also common for forensic document examiners to determine if an item originated from the same source as a known item, determine when a document was produced, and decipher information on a document that has been erased, hidden, or obscured.

Forensic document examiners may perform the following:

Examine documents for signs that they have been forged or altered

Compare signatures and handwriting through handwriting analysis to determine the authorship of documents

Examine typed documents and link them to specific machines or computers (printing process examinations)

Decipher the contents of documents that have been partially destroyed or altered

Compare fractured or cut-edge comparisons on a variety of surfaces, including paper and tape

Examine incidents of indented writing

Perform alternate light source examinations to determine ink discrimination, alterations, and/or enhancements

Forensic document examiners commonly work in local, state or federal crime labs. A number of these professionals work through private investigative companies, although this type of work is generally geared toward civil cases. Forensic document examiners are also often called to testify as experts in criminal cases.

Information including curriculum and completion requirements can be found in the ETSU Graduate Catalog Entry for the Forensic Document Examination Graduate Certificate Program.


Program Admission Requirements

For admission to a graduate certificate program in the School of Graduate Studies, a 2.5 undergraduate GPA (on a 4.0 scale) is required. Some master’s degree programs have higher requirements. Specialist, doctoral, and international students are subject to additional specific requirements and should refer to the appropriate sections in this catalog. Students with less than a 2.5 GPA who wish to apply must address the low GPA in the personal essay (see #4 below).

The following materials must be submitted before an applicant will be considered for admission:

Payment of required nonrefundable application fee. Students who previously have been or currently are admitted as non-degree or degree-seeking graduate students may not have to pay the application fee.

A completed application form.

One official transcript from each undergraduate or graduate institution attended, except previous coursework taken at ETSU.

A personal essay.


Tuition, Fee, and Financial Assistance


ETSU Tuition and Fees

ETSU eRate (for out-of-state students taking ALL course work online in any semester)

Border County Information: Students residing in select bordering counties in North Carolina and Virginia may attend ETSU at the in-state tuition rate. Please contact the Admissions Office at or 423-439-4213 with questions.

Student accounts, payment calendars, and payment plan information

ETSU Bursar Office

(423) 439-4212

Financial Aid

Financial Aid Step by Step Guide

Types of Aid

(423) 439-4300


Scholarship Information

(423) 439-7094


Gainful Employment
Important information about program costs, education debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended Forensic Document Examination at East Tennessee State University is available here.


Let Us Introduce You to The Program Advisor!

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