Post-Master's Certificate in Forensic Nursing

Already have your MSN degree? This certificate will prepare you to become a leader in forensic nursing.

Xavier’s online Post-Master’s Certificate in Forensic Nursing provides experienced nurses with advanced-level preparation in the principles of forensic nursing. At the completion of this 15-credit-hour certificate program, you’ll be prepared for legal matters which deal with patients ranging from issues such as sexual assault to patients needing intense clinical care. . 

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You’ll get more from your online education, from the personal attention of faculty to rigorous courses taught in the Jesuit Catholic tradition.

Personalized Experience

You’ll get the personal attention and flexibility needed to reach your goals at your pace. Our invested professors and small class sizes will set you up for success.

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Our Jesuit Catholic values are based on a vision of a world changed for the better, emphasizing service and community engagement in addition to academics.


We offer exceptional online programs at an affordable cost. Numerous financial aid resources are available for our online students, making education more affordable.


Post Master's Certificate in Forensic Nursing

15 credits

Xavier’s online Post Master’s Certificate in Forensic Nursing is a 15-credit program that consists of 6 education-focused courses that can be taken on your schedule

A comprehensive examination of the behavior, emotional responses, and cognitive decision-making of both victims and perpetrators of crime. Elements of victimology, as well as the psychosocial ramifications of the criminal act on the person, the family and the community will be explored. The expanded role of the psychiatric forensic nurse will be explored.

This course provides an evidence-based practice (EBP) framework for nursing care of the forensic population, their families as well as communities impacted by acts of violence and/or traumatic events. The EBP framework incorporates empirical and theoretical aspects from a multidisciplinary perspective in the planning and delivering nursing care. This course is intended to prepare nursing graduate students for further studies in various clinical roles such as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Forensic Psychiatric Nurse, Legal Nurse Consultant, Forensic Nursing Death Investigator and/or Nurse Coroner.

This course is designed for application of theory and principles from all previous courses, with particular emphasis in education. Individually modified course objectives, supervised experiences, periodic seminar discussions, and written practicum logs are methods used to facilitate the learning experience.

This course is designed for application of theory and principles from all previous courses, with particular emphasis in education. Individually modified course objectives, supervised experiences, periodic seminar discussions, and written practicum logs are methods used to facilitate the learning experience.

 Inter-professional care recognizes a culture of respect, concisely clear communication, interdependent care for client-centered outcomes, and integration of services through shared decision making. This course will provide students with an opportunity to practice across disciplines in teams to meet the needs of individuals, families and the community.

This course provides a review of forensic nursing science, forensic science/criminalistics, forensic anthropology and the criminal justice system through the lens of interprofessional collaboration and population health. Forensic nursing concepts addressed in the course will include a review of the expanded and collaborative roles in working with forensic scientists, criminalists and the criminal justice system. The specific areas for this course related to forensic science/criminalistics include the crime scene, death investigation, physical evidence, drugs and DNA. The introduction of population-health concepts will allow graduate MSN/MSCJ students to identify a population of interest (aggregate) related to forensic nursing while using evidence-based practices to develop effective approaches to care for victims of trauma, violence and crime. This course is intended to prepare graduate MSN/MSCJ dual degree nurses the opportunity to “apply the nursing process to public or legal proceedings, and apply forensic health care in the scientific investigation of trauma and/or death to abuse, violence, criminal activity, liability and accidents.


Our admission process is easy, on your phone or computer!

Applicants to the Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a registered nurse with an unencumbered RN license in the state where practicum experiences are to be completed
  • Must hold an MSN, DNP, Ed.D. or Ph. D. At least one graduate degree must be in nursing from a nationally-accredited program.
  • Strong candidates will also possess 2 years of experience as a registered nurse, minimum 3.0 GPA.

To be considered for admission, students must submit the following:

Get Started on Xavier University’s free online application. You can begin the process in just a few clicks. Lorem ipsum dolor.


One official transcript directly from all colleges or universities that you have attended for any undergraduate and graduate course work. Applicants must have a degree from a regionally accredited university. A strong candidate will have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Send transcripts to:

Xavier University
ATTN: Admission Processing Center
3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45207-5131

For electronic transcripts, send to:

Please provide contact information for recommenders in the online application. An electronic form will be sent via email.

A strong candidate will provide:

  • At least one reference from a direct manager or supervisor who evaluates their clinical work.
  • Two references will be from someone with a masters or doctoral degree

Current résumé or curriculum vitae outlining nursing experience.

A 3-page goal statement that addresses the following points:

  • Why are you applying to Xavier University?
  • What MSN track are you applying for and why? How do you plan to use the degree and specialty?
  • What experiences have prepared you for graduate study? (or have influenced your desire to pursue graduate studies)
  • Graduate school is challenging and a large time commitment, especially with working, family, other responsibilities. What are your plans and strategies for being successful in your graduate program?
  • We also consider the writing quality of this essay. If writing is a challenge for you, also address strategies to help you in this area.

State Authorization

Xavier University is authorized to offer fully-online programs in most states. View the complete list of approved states by programs on the State Authorization page. Students must reside and complete practicum hours in approved states only.


Get More from Your Education with a Graduate Degree from Xavier

At Xavier, we understand that no two degree programs and no two students are alike. Therefore, we structure every online degree program to address the unique needs of individual students and have created unique fee structures for each degree program, as well.

Per Credit Hour


Total Program Tuition

The amounts listed are for the 2023-2024 academic year, and include classes from Summer 2023 through Spring 2024. Tuition cost is per credit hour unless otherwise stated.
For the full, official listing, please visit
Xavier University reserves the right to correct any computational or clerical errors.

Ready to Get Started?


Students enrolled in Xavier’s online programs take classes with the same world-class faculty as our traditional students.

Angela R. Liggett, DHA, MSN, RN is currently the Coordinator and an Associate Professor in the graduate forensic tracks at Xavier University College of Nursing. She is a life-long resident of the Cincinnati area and graduated from Bethesda Hospital School of Nursing in 1985. Dr. Liggett graduated from the College of Mt. St. Joseph with her BSN in 2006. She was awarded her MSN in 2010 from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and received a certificate in Forensic Nursing from the Cyril Wecht Law School. Dr. Liggett received her Doctorate in Health Administration with a focus on Health Policy and Advocacy from Capella University in 2017.

Dr. Liggett’s capstone project at Duquesne was a training program, “Forensic Nursing in Trauma,” for ER staff. Her dissertation was titled, “Prevalence of Substance Abuse Screening in Adolescents by Pediatricians.” The methodology for this study was a qualitative survey, utilizing a modified Determinants of Implementation Behavior Questionnaire (DIBQ) survey tool and was based on the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF).

With over 36 years of nursing experience, Dr. Liggett has worked in many clinical settings, both in rural and urban hospitals, mainly in the surgical and emergency room arenas. Her roles have included Med/Surg charge nurse, Director of Surgical Services, Perioperative Care Manager, Materials/Inventory Systems Manager, and Project Coordinator for corporate nursing. She was employed by the state, surveying health care facilities and investigating complaints and claims of harm. She was the Compliance Officer focusing on Title IX and other regulatory issues at a local college of nursing.

Dr. Liggett was a member of her previous county’s first rape/violence task force. She was also a member of the Cincinnati City Council Task Force for the Prevention of Campus Gender-Based Violence. She was a member and a previous chairperson for her community’s Board of Mental Health and Recovery and also that board’s Finance Advisory Committee. She has volunteered with a battered woman’s program and is a volunteer in her community’s Smallpox Response program and with a Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

Her journey in forensic nursing started prior to any formalized specialty. Dr. Liggett trained nurses regarding domestic violence (DV) in the late 1980’s. The physicians where she worked would call on her to consult with patients who were victims of DV, now known as interpersonal violence (IPV). While working in the ER, she became certified in trauma nursing and as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).


This online MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the premier accrediting agency for baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs. It is also endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation.

This nursing practice program is approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN).

The typical salary in the state of Ohio for a Nurse Educator with an MSN is just over 70,000 dollars a year as a nurse educator with an MSN commonly has more experience which leads to better patient outcomes. This salary estimate is an average and can be higher or lower depending on the specific field a Nurse Educator with an MSN works in. It is also important to factor in possible local nursing shortages and shortages of other health professionals in different areas when looking at possible salaries.

No. The MSN degree is from Xavier University and is awarded on meeting coursework standards that are independent of course delivery mode. Participants will earn an MSN degree.

Yes! Xavier University and the College of Nursing have been consistently recognized at the national level for having one of the best online MSN programs for nursing education. See a list of all of nursing school awards by program on our Rankings page.

The tuition rate for the online MSN program is $670 per credit hour. The total cost of the degree program will vary, depending upon transfer credits awarded, additional fees and the cost of textbooks/materials. See the Tuition page for more information.

No, online courses charge the same rate as all other courses.

Students may find that they can get to know their professor/instructor and other nursing practice students better in an online course than in a traditional face-to-face course. There are many options for interacting with your instructors and classmates in your online program, including discussion boards, video or audio files from your instructor, email and video conferencing. There may be additional opportunities for interaction available based on the course and instructor.

Courses are offered in semester-long increments in most cases. Depending on the course and semester, there are a couple of courses that are 6-10 weeks in length.

Participation expectations vary by professor. Courses will be asynchronous with no set meeting times; however, professors often have different teaching strategies and they do have the option of including synchronous online sessions in their courses. The faculty in this nursing program is very sensitive to the need for flexibility of working professionals and are often open to adjustments in curriculum development. The need for asynchronous meetings for the scholarly project may be required.

We recognize that students may be in the process of completing other baccalaureate degrees or an associate degree while also enrolled, therefore online MSN programs allow a maximum of 6 years for completion.

Some potential nursing career paths may include:

  • Nurse educator, staff educator, clinical instructor, educational nursing care consultant and continuing education provider.

The education track of the MSN program helps better prepare students by requiring 2 practicum experiences via NURS 703 and 705. Each course requires 90 hours of practicum with an MSN-prepared nurse educator. Students are responsible for finding their own preceptors, and preceptor approval is required from the course faculty. Faculty advisors may help in locating and securing a practicum preceptor.