Schools with Forensic Engineering Programs: How to Choose

While engineers from any branch can become forensic engineers, individuals who work in the civil, mechanical and electrical branches are the best suited to handle system and structural failures. These engineering programs are typically found at 4-year colleges and universities.

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While there isn't a degree program specific to forensic engineering, a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering, along with licensure, is needed to enter this profession. Aspiring forensic engineers could also seek post-graduate certification by the International Board of Forensic Engineering Sciences (IBFES), which requires at least a bachelor's degree and academic studies in physics, chemistry, mathematics and legal topics.

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Top 10 Engineering Schools

The table provides more information about engineering schools.

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Offered Tuition (2015-216)*
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor, Master $46,704 undergraduate
$46,400 graduate
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor, Master $46,320 undergraduate
$45,729 graduate
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor, Master $13,431, in-state, $38,139 out-of-state undergraduate;
$11,220 in state, $26,322 out of state graduate
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor, Master $50,665 undergraduate;
$40,625 graduate
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master $45,390 undergraduate;
$43,710 graduate
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Master $12,204 in-state, $32,396 out-of-state undergraduate;
$13,452 in-state, $27,872 out-of state graduate
Purdue University - West Lafayette West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Master $9,208 in- state, $28,010 out-of-state
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Master $13,856 in-state, $43,476 out-of-state undergraduate;
$20,638 in-state, $41,688 out-of-state graduate
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Urbana, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor, Master $15,054 in-state, $30,214 out-of-state undergraduate;
$15,023 in-state, $28,213 out-of-state graduate
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master $50,277 undergraduate;
$39,984 graduate

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students interested in forensic engineering programs should consider:

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many licensing boards and graduate programs require a degree from an ABET-accredited school for acceptance (www.bls.gov).
  • Curricula should include academic coursework in areas that provide relevant training for post-graduate certification in forensic engineering.
  • Prospective applicants might also investigate if a school's career services department has partnerships with corporations that specialize in forensic engineering.
  • When considering a school, keep in mind the importance of a program's cooperative internships, which may provide hands-on experience with companies within the forensic engineering field.

Bachelor's Degrees in Engineering

Bachelor's degree programs in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering require advanced sequences in physics and calculus in addition to the engineering curricula. Students can participate in undergraduate research projects to develop tests or predictors for failures in systems or structures.

Master's Degrees in Engineering

Many graduate schools allow students to customize an engineering or forensic science program to integrate the fields. Programs often provide additional flexibility by allowing students to choose research projects or additional advanced coursework rather than a thesis, which could provide a further focus on an interdisciplinary education.

Forensic engineering schools are found at bachelor and master levels. Research opportunities and internships may also be a part of these programs.

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