Forensic Mass Spectrometry


Mass spectrometry is used in nearly all branches of science and is one of the best analytical techniques used today. This is an intermediate course that discusses how the mass spectrometer works, how mass spectrometry is used in forensic science, and how to interpret mass spectra.

Cost: $175.00. This course takes 31 hours to complete, on average.


Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Define mass spectrometry and how it is used in forensic science
  • Discuss the history of and pioneers in mass spectrometry
  • List the basic components of the mass spectrometer
  • Describe the different types of ionization sources, mass analyzers, and detectors
  • Describe the different rules and aspects of mass spectra
  • Discuss how the elemental composition and molecular ion help in interpretation
  • Interpret basic mass spectra
  • Describe the different hyphenated systems and new technologies

Course Structure and Schedule

This is a non-credit course offering 3.56 ILUs. (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 31 hours. The instructor should be notified if an extension is required. The course cost is $175.00 per registration. A certificate of completion will be issued to students successfully meeting course requirements.

Table of Contents:

Unit 1: Mass Spectrometry: Introduction
Unit 2: Ionization Sources
Unit 3: Mass Analyzers
Unit 4: Detectors
Unit 5: Hyphenated Systems
Unit 6: Forensic Applications
Unit 7: Mass Spectral Interpretation
Unit 8: Compound Classes & Functional Groups
Unit 9: Future Trends in Mass Spectrometry


There are no prerequisites for this class.  A printable version of the course content is available in PDF format in the course library for future reference. Course readings are also available in PDF format.  Access to a mass spectrometer system is not required for this course.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have access to a mass spectrometer?

Answer: No. The course is set up so that any part of the system you may need to view, you can through provided animations and screen shots.

What level is this course geared toward?

Answer: This course is at an intermediate level. Some prior knowledge of mass spectrometry and interpretation of spectra is recommended.

Why is my answer marked wrong, when I know it is the correct answer?

Answer: All quizzes are reviewed and manually graded by the instructor which can take up to 72 hours after the quiz is submitted.  Keep in mind grading is not performed on weekends, holidays, or after close of business.  The updated grade will appear in the “my grades” tab in the course once it has been updated. 

Computer Requirements

  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Quicktime
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Java

There are free software plug-ins available in the Getting Started area of the course.

Basic computer skills required (i.e. turning on your computer, navigating to websites, etc.). The course is user-friendly but support is available if needed.

All Students: Using Internet Explorer (IE) 10? Read info on eCampus Main Page

Instructor Information

Samantha Neal is the Instructional Coordinator for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops research, scientific resources, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities are the development and coordination of online continuing education courses in forensic science and continuing education programs. She has undergraduate degrees in both Forensic and Investigative Sciences and Chemistry.
Contact:, 304-293-5836

Robin Bowen is the Assistant Director for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops scientific resources, outreach opportunities, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities include coordination of continuing education programs, management of grant funded projects, and correspondence of progress to the National Institute of Justice. Bowen is the author of Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science. She is a former advisory member of the Outreach and Communication Interagency Working Group (IWG) under the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee (NSTC) on Forensic Science. She is also on the Editorial Advisory Board for the revised edition of Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences. Bowen is the primary developer of the Forensic Educational Alliance, an initiative to offer a variety of forensic science continuing education courses online. She has an undergraduate degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences and a graduate degree in Secondary Science Education. Robin is the online course instructor for Ethics in Forensic Science, Fibers and Textiles for Forensic Science, and Transition to Leadership. Contact:, 304-293-6214

Registration Information 

Click on the "Register Now" button at the top to register online through our secure server. You will be receiving email with your online course access information within five working days. Please check your spam or junk folder in case the confirmation email was misplaced there. Call 1-800-253-2762, or email if you have any questions. Major credit cards are accepted.

Check our FAQ page for refund policy and class access information.

Group Discount

We offer discounts for groups over 10. All individuals in the group need to register for the same course to take advantage of the discount. Discount rates vary by group size as follows:

  • 10-20 people 10% off
  • 21-30 people 15% off
  • 31-40 people 20% off
  • Above 40, contact for special pricing

Interested in a group discount?  Please contact the Continuing & Professional Education office at (304) 293-7570 or email us at for a coupon code.

Check our FAQ and Refund Policy for refund and class access information.