Summer Session starting July 5, 2012
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The Certificate in Professional Investigation consists of six modules:
  1. Foundations of Professional Investigation
  2. The Law and the Professional Investigator
  3. Investigative Interviewing
  4. Internet Research
  5. Investigative Research
  6. Surveillance

Professional Investigation in the News

  • Holly Piirainen case: Tom Shamshak, private investigator
    January 4, 2012 - By Gene Lavanchy

    (FOX 25 / - It has been a nearly two-decade-long wait for justice. But now, there is some positive news for the family of Holly Piirainen. Investigators have identified a person of interest they believe is responsible for the kidnapping and murder of the 10-year-old girl back in 1993. Tom Shamshak is a private investigator and former Spencer police chief, who has worked with Holly's family through the Molly Bish Foundation.

    Read the full article on

  • New lead in girl's murder
    January 1, 2012 - By John Zaremba
    The family of 10-year-old Holly Piirainen is hoping their grueling wait for justice will soon be over, putting their faith in a development authorities will announce this week in their investigation into the Grafton girl's 1993 abduction and murder.

    "We're very hopeful that this is what they need, what they finally need," Holly's father, Rick Piirainen, told the Herald yesterday. "We had met with them earlier this year, hoping they could put some pressure on to reinvigorate the case. It's been 18 years already."

    Hampden County District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni says he will announce Tuesday what he called a "new investigative lead" that resulted from recent forensic findings. He declined to elaborate.

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  • An Inside Look at Boston University’s Online Certificate Program in Professional Investigation
    December 30, 2011
    Ever wondered what taking an online course at BU is really like? Our graduates of the BU online PI certificate program have all the answers.

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  • Professional Investigation instructor weighs in on Whitey's girlfriend
    July 13, 2011
    The recent capture of James "Whitey" Bulger has lead to a media frenzy over the upcoming legal proceedings surrounding charges of his involvement in 19 murders. Catherine Greig, Whitey's longtime girlfriend is accused of keeping his whereabouts secret for 16 years. In a recent article, the Boston Herald asks, "Will Whitey's girl get bail?" To help answer this question, the Herald turned to the Center for Professional Education's Professional Investigation Instructor Pamela Hay.

    "No get-out-of-jail-free card for Miss Greig," said private investigator Pamela Hay, a retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who served on the Bulger Task Force from 2000 to 2005. "If I was still on the task force, I would want something. She shouldn't just walk."

    "Was she able to leave this cold-blooded killer or was she truly devoted to him? That's the million-dollar question," said Hay, who teaches investigative research at Boston University.

    Read more on the

  • Pamela Hay profiled in the recent article in the Patriot Ledger
    July 1, 2011
    Pamela Hay, faculty in the CPE Professional Investigators Program, was profiled in the recent article "Former DEA agent from Sharon recalls hunt for Whitey Bulger" in the Patriot Ledger. She has her own private investigation firm, Broad Range Investigations, and teaches a class in investigative research at Boston University. Pamela retired from both the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the search for James "Whitey" Bulger in 2005.

    Read the full article on

  • Inquiring Minds
    March 12, 2006
    The Boston Globe has an article about the boom in interest in the field of private investigation, partially due to the popularity of shows like "CSI" that glorify the work of crime scene investigators. One of our students, Amy Cosindas, is featured in the article as the Globe investigates the new program offered at the Center for Professional Education.

    "It's the job that I've always said, 'Gosh—that I would love to be, kind of behind the scenes, doing the work,' " Cosindas said, describing the class. "There's something about the challenge I really like—the mystery, the unknown, and being able to go back to somebody and say, 'This is what the facts are, and this is what the truth is.'"

    Read the full article from the Boston Globe.

  • Students Join the Search for Missing Girl
    Students of the Center for Professional Education's Private Investigation Program assisted Brockton police in searching a 5-acre section of D.W. Field Park in Brockton, MA. The group searched every square inch of the area looking for clues that might help find Jennifer Fay, a Brockton teen that went missing in November of 1989.

    Read the full article from Enterprise News.