Online Colleges for Crime Scene Technology Degrees: How to Choose

Jan 02, 2019

Prospective students who are seeking crime scene technology programs will find a number of online programs that may interest them. We will discuss some of these programs by type and educational level, as well as the technical requirements for online learning.

How to Select an Online Crime Scene Technology School

There are online options for students interested in crime scene technology, also called forensic science technology. Programs cater to a wide spectrum of educational backgrounds and prepare students for work in this profession. Online degree programs in forensic science are uncommon, but a handful can be found at the graduate certificate and master's levels at various colleges throughout the nation. Students will then have to weigh the technical requirements along with the program type.

Program Type and Level

Certificate programs in biomedical forensic science are often designed for graduate students or professionals pursuing continuing education. These programs are offered in a fully online format and take about a year to complete.

Online master's degree programs in forensic science are usually geared towards working professionals who want to advance their careers or need to specialize in a particular forensic area. Master's degree programs typically have a strong online component but require students to attend some lab and field courses on campus or at a local institution. Applicants need to have a bachelor's degree in a science or social science field like biology, chemistry, criminology or psychology.

Technical Requirements

Students will need high-speed Internet to access course material and accommodate transmission of large media files and live streaming of lectures or discussions. Web-based programs such as Desire2Learn can facilitate communication among teachers and students via discussion boards and forums.

List of Online Programs for Crime Scene Technologists

Graduate Certificate in Forensic Science

Students examine case studies from discovery through recovery, including the specific sciences that contribute along the way, such as botany, anthropology, odontology and entomology. Some schools offer specialized certificates in the field, like crime scene investigation. Teachers maintain close communication with students via phone and email throughout the yearlong, fully-online program, and may assist with finding internships. Participants complete a number of study modules, such as:

  • Forensic drug chemistry
  • Forensics and the law
  • Crime scene reconstruction
  • Biological evidence and serology

Master's Degree in Forensic Science

This degree program consists of about 32 credit hours. Depending upon the school areas of emphasis, or tracks, may include forensic laboratory research or biochemistry. On-campus lab work is often a requirement. Coursework may include:

  • Handwriting examination
  • Death investigation
  • Forensic bioscience and pathology
  • DNA analysis
  • Criminalistics and biosecurity

Schools with Online Programs in Crime Scene Technology

The University of Florida offers both an online Master's in Forensic Science and a Graduate Certificate in the same field. The master's degree offers four different specialization areas: forensic science, forensic DNA & serology, forensic drug chemistry, and forensic toxicology. The program generally takes two years to complete with the graduate certificate is only comprised of 15 credits and can be completed in a year. The certificate programs offers the same specialization areas as the master's program, though forensic science is replaced by forensic death investigation. Both programs are offered on a year-round basis, meaning students can begin in the fall, spring, and summer. To apply, students must possess a bachelor's degree in a science subject, as well as a cumulative GPA of a 3.0. Students also must take and pass the GRE with a minimum score requirement.

The University of Central Florida also offers a partially online Master of Science in Forensic Science degree program. Students in this program can choose from three concentrations: forensic analysis, forensic biochemistry and forensic professional. Both the analysis and biochemistry concentrations require students to write a thesis, while the professional track requires a capstone project. Students who have already been employed for at least three years or are currently employed in a forensic laboratory can opt for a non-thesis option as well. To apply, students must possess a bachelor's degree in forensic science or another physical science and are required to submit GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. While most of the courses in this program are offered online, there are a few that require attendance on campus.

Students have some options in the field of crime scene technology, even in an online format. It may be wise to thoroughly consider how programs are delivered to students, how flexible they are, as on campus requirements, and whether or not the programs require extensive research or thesis work.

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