Best Schools for Crime Scene Investigation: Overview of Options

Read about the best schools for crime scene investigation programs. Learn about the course and degree options at four noteworthy universities, and find at-a-glance information about other schools in the U.S. that provide training for future crime scene investigators. View article »

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  • 0:03 School Overviews
  • 0:42 George Washington…
  • 1:22 West Virginia University
  • 2:10 Marshall University in West VA
  • 3:00 University of…
  • 3:52 Top CSI Schools in the U.S.

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Video Transcript

School Overviews

This lesson explores schools that offer some of the best crime scene investigation programs in the nation. These schools have either been highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report or offer a unique program of study.

Crime scene investigation is a field of study that involves the documentation and examination of physical evidence, such as fingerprints and DNA samples. All ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2016, the following four schools include a national university, regional university, and two top public schools that offer programs in crime scene or forensic science.

George Washington University, D.C.

The crime scene investigation program at The George Washington University (GW) offers elective courses in forensic psychiatry and firearms and toolmark identification.

As of 2016, GW, located in Washington, D.C., tied for 56th among national universities, as reported by US News & World Report. GW's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences offers a Master of Science in Crime Scene Investigation and a Certificate in Forensic Investigation. Course topics include forensic photography, homicide investigation, and the biological aspects of forensic science.

West Virginia University

West Virginia University's graduate program in forensic and investigative science includes a 420-hour summer internship with prestigious employers such as the United States Secret Service and forensic laboratories all over the world.

West Virginia University, which is located in Morgantown, tied for 99th among top public schools in 2016, according to U.S. News & World Report. The accredited program combines traditional chemistry and biology coursework with laboratory-based instruction. Students partake in courses focusing on trace evidence, microscopy, pattern evidence, and laboratory management. Additionally, students are required to complete an independent research project under faculty supervision for graduation.

Marshall University in West VA

Marshall University's forensic science master's program offers four areas of study: crime scene investigation, digital forensics, DNA analysis, and forensic chemistry. While one area of emphasis is required, students may complete all four if they wish to do so. Within the crime scene investigation emphasis, students complete training exercises in the university's mock crime scene house to prepare for real-life investigative situations. Outside the areas of emphasis, the curriculum is broad-based, with both thesis and non-thesis options. Internships are also available.

Marshall, located in Huntington, WV, tied for 47th among regional universities in the South in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report rankings.

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University of California, Riverside

At the University of California, Riverside, the Crime Scene Investigation Summer Academy offers intensive study in forensic science. The 5-week certificate program is intended for those with at least a high school education who either wish to work in crime scene investigation or who already work in the field and wish to develop their skills. The curriculum includes work in crime scene management, autopsies, entomology, pattern analysis of blood stains, and fingerprinting. In addition, students will participate in a practicum and go on field trips to crime labs and the coroner's office. The university also offers the same coursework in its Professional Certificate in Crime Scene Investigation, which takes four quarters to complete.

In 2016, U.S. News & World Report had UC - Riverside tied for 56th place among public schools in the nation.

Top CSI Schools in the U.S.

In addition to the four profiled schools, the following schools are also considered top choices for aspiring crime scene investigators:

School Name Location Distinction
Columbia College Columbia, MO Offers a crime scene investigation certificate program that is available both on campus and online
Florida Southwestern State College Fort Myers, FL Has internship opportunities available through its crime scene investigation program
Florida State University, Panama City Panama City, FL Offers a certificate program in underwater crime scene investigation
Missouri Western State University St. Joseph, MO Has a forensic investigation program that offers online courses
Towson University Towson, MD Master of Science in Forensic Science degree program provides flexible class scheduling for working professionals
University of Central Florida Orlando, FL Offers a multidisciplinary undergraduate certificate in crime scene investigation through its departments of criminal justice and anthropology

Many options are available to those looking for schools that offer top-notch criminal scene investigation training programs, ranging from undergraduate certificates to master's degrees. Distinctions include ranked universities, sought-after internship opportunities, flexible scheduling, and more, allowing students to choose schools that best fit their priorities.

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