Marston Polygraph Academy

Program Overview

Marston Polygraph Academy is bringing their nationally accredited Polygraph Training program to UW Tacoma. Accredited by the American Polygraph Association, Marston Polygraph Academy aims to provide the local legal profession and law enforcement agencies with ethical and skilled practitioners. 

Target Audience

This program is designed for:

  • Presently employed peace officers
  • Honorably retired peace officers
  • Those with college degrees in related fields
  • Retired Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Military Officers

Applicants with felony convictions will not be accepted into the program.  A misdemeanor conviction with resulted in imprisonment may also be a bar to enrollment.

Course Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Conduct valid and reliable specific issue - evidentiary - polygraph examinations for law enforcement agencies and the legal profession. 
  • Conduct effective pre-employment screening polygraph examinations for government agencies. 
  • Conduct effective investigative polygraph examinations for law enforcement agencies.


Students should bring a laptop (with extension cord) for use during this course.

Course Schedule

Class meets: Monday - Friday, 6/10 - 8/07/2013 from 8:00a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(no class July 4, 2013)
Location: UW Tacoma, TBA
Fee: $4900
Credit/Contact hours: 340 clock or contact hours or 34.0 CEUs

Course Module Descriptions

Ethics, Standards of Practice and APA Bi-Laws: (8 hours) Students will write the relationships between the APA Code of Ethics, the APA Standards of Practice and the APA Bi-Laws.

History and Development of the Detection of Deception Through Scientific Means: (8 hours) Students will trace the art and science of detection of deception from early history to present day practices.

Legal Aspects: (8 hours) Students will explain the laws affecting the practice of polygraph examinations.

Mechanics of Instrument Operation and Development of Student Skills: (60 hours) Students will explain the purpose of the three basic components of an instrument. The explanation will include the relationship between the individual components and human psychophysiological response systems. The student will attach an instrument to an examinee, conduct an effective pre-test interview, set the polygraph instrument in operation and using a valid and reliable polygraph technique, ask valid and reliable test questions and express an opinion based upon research supported test data analysis.

Polygraph Techniques and Formats: (60 hours) Students will explain the generally accepted polygraph techniques, their historical evolution and their underlying psychophysiology. The explanation will include the applicability of each technique to the nature of the issue under investigation. The student will correctly write the format for each technique.

Post-Test Interrogation: (8 hours) Students will demonstrate an effective post-test interrogation subsequent to a finding of deception indicated or significant response present.

Pre-Test Interview: (8 hours) Students will demonstrate an effective pre-test interview which shall include but is not limited to the Initial Greeting, Administrative Requirements, Examinee’s Explanation of the Instant Offense, Development of Appropriate Questions, Introduction to the Polygraph Instrument and an Explanation of the Psychophysiological Basis of the Polygraph Technique.

Psychology of Detection of Deception: (24 hours) Students will describe the basic elements of human psychology and their applicability to the art and science of polygraph.

Physiology: (20 hours) Students will describe the path of a controlled stimulus from psychological onset to physiological response. The description will include the functions of the Central Nervous System, the Autonomic Nervous System and all sub-divisions thereof.

Test Data Analysis and Countermeasures: (50 hours) Students will identify the criteria indicative of human psychophysiological response to controlled stimuli and will quantify those responses using generally accepted standards for the purpose of forming an opinion as to truth or deception. The student will identify those artifact criteria most likely indicative of intentional countermeasures.

Test Question Construction: (30 hours) Students will, using generally accepted standards, write effective comparison and relevant questions within an valid test question structure.

Optional Instruction and Student Remediation: (40 hours) Students will learn any polygraph related subject deemed necessary by the school or for remediation of any scholastic deficiency.

Student Performance Evaluation: (16 hours)


There are no dormitory rooms available on campus for this course.  However, there are several extended stay hotels in the area that offer lower rates than a traditional hotel.  Ask for the government rate.  Visit for a list of hotels in the area.  Locations in or near downtown Tacoma, South Tacoma or Fife are suitable for those with a car (less than 5 miles).  Those without a car can use Pierce Transit buses. The following hotels can be reached by taking one bus from the hotel to the UW Campus.

Crossland Economy Studios - Tacoma - Hosmer
8801 S. Hosmer St.
Tacoma, WA 98444  

Extended Stay America - Tacoma - South
2120 S. 48th St.
Tacoma, WA 98409

Extended Stay America - Tacoma - Fife
2820 Pacific Hwy. E.
Fife, WA 98424