Forensic Chemistry Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Forensic chemistry - a specialty within the wider field of forensic science - is the application of the science of chemistry in matters regarding legal jurisdiction. Forensic chemistry students also learn to perform lab tests in order to construct chains of evidence in support of presentations before courts of law. Keep reading to find out more about how to choose a forensic chemistry school.

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, students must possess a bachelor's degree for most chemist jobs, and some positions require a master's degree. The BLS also reported that forensic science technicians typically need a bachelor's degree.

10 Forensic Chemistry Schools

Below is a list of schools that offer degrees in forensic science:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Alabama State University Montgomery, AL 4-year, Public Bachelor's and Master's In-state Undergraduate: $8,723; In-state Graduate: $8,232
Emmanuel College Boston, MA 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $36,504
Lamar University Beaumont, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state Undergraduate $8,002; Out-of-state Undergraduate $17,362
Northern Michigan University Marquette, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state Undergraduate $9,620; Out-of-state Undergraduate $15,020
Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach, FL 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $27,150
Saint Anselm College Manchester, NH 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $37,904
Southern Wesleyan University Central, SC 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $23,620
University of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $27,220
Upper Iowa University Fayette, IA 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $28,073
University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state Undergraduate $12,862; Out-of-state Undergraduate $28,852

Source:*National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students may want to consider the following when choosing a forensic chemistry school:

  • Students may want to take into account the types of programs and courses offered within a department; some schools offer courses in forensic chemistry while others may offer a program dedicated specifically to it.
  • The technical equipment and facilities a school offers can affect a student's educational experience, as this is a constantly evolving field requiring up-to-date equipment.
  • Students may want to consider class sizes within a program; larger classes may mean less individualized attention.
  • Students should check if a school offers internship opportunities, along with labs and projects that can help students acquire practical experience.

Bachelor's Degrees in Forensic Chemistry

Bachelor's degree programs in forensic chemistry offer important foundational courses in mathematics and communications, as well as lab sciences in physics and biology. Typically, programs offer additional courses in criminal justice and internships. Admission to schools offering bachelor degree programs requires a high school diploma or GED and good scores on a college entrance exam, such as the ACT or SAT. High school lab science classes and advanced mathematics courses are recommended.

Master's Degrees in Forensic Chemistry

Master's degree programs in forensic chemistry are usually a mix of courses and seminars, and they require completion of a thesis or capstone project to graduate. Some master's degrees are available in specific areas of forensic chemistry, such as DNA and serology, drug chemistry and forensic toxicology. Entrance into forensic chemistry graduate programs requires a bachelor's degree in a lab science with a major or minor in chemistry. In addition, it typically requires satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), along with letters of recommendation.

The field of forensic science is growing and students will have no problems finding schools that offer degrees in forensic chemistry all across the country. Programs that offer internships and lab time will give individuals more experience that can benefit their future careers.

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