Schools with Crime Scene Investigation Programs: How to Choose

Crime investigation students learn how to collect, organize and analyze the physical evidence of a crime. A major component of the program is spent teaching students how to use photographic equipment, computers and chemical tests to solve a crime. Certificate and associate's degree programs in this field are available.

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Those who are considering a career in crime scene investigation can find schools that offer programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree level. Programs in the field of crime scene investigation or forensics are available online, and traditional classes can take place in the evenings and on weekends.

10 Schools with Forensic Science Programs

Here is a list of schools all across the country that offer programs in forensic science:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016, In-State)*
Alabama State University Montgomery, AL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate: $8,723; Graduate: $8,232
Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR 4-year, Public Associate's $8,050
California State University-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Master's $6,738
University at Buffalo-SUNY Buffalo, NY 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate: $9,381; Graduate: $10,870
CUNY-John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate: $6,810; Graduate: $10,130
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Master's $16,122
Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate: $17,514; Graduate: $19,328
West Virginia University Morgantown, WV 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate: $7,632; Graduate: $8,568
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, Private Master's $47,422
The George Washington University Washington, DC 4-year, Private Master's, Graduate Certificate $27,810

Source:*National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

The following are items that should be considered when selecting a crime scene investigation school:

  • Students should make sure the school's program complies with the requirements of the International Association for Identification (IAI), which manages certification for crime scene investigators.
  • Some programs require students to have complex camera equipment, and the price of this equipment may need to be factored into the cost when a student is comparing school tuition.
  • Alternative program schedules may permit working individuals to continue their employment while pursuing their certificate or degree.
  • Consider schools that offer the program level that will be viable for the career you're interested in. Sometimes, employers prefer to hire a graduate with a degree, not a certificate.

Crime Scene Investigation Certificate

Students must complete between 17 and 36 credit hours. In some schools, certificate program credits may be used to obtain a higher-level certificate or associate's degree in the field. These programs provide a basic introduction to the field.

Associate of Applied Science in Crime Scene Investigation

Associate's degree programs in crime scene investigation require between 50 and 65 credit hours. Typically, they must also complete coursework in biology and chemistry. Some programs offer focuses within the crime scene investigation major, such as lab forensics or computer forensics.

There are many degree options in forensic science, so individuals should consider career goals before deciding on a degree program that is right for them.

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