Forensic science programs can be found at every degree level and are offered by community colleges, technical schools and 4-year colleges and universities. These programs incorporate the study of chemistry and biology with toxicology, psychology, crime scene investigation and ballistics.
10 Schools with Forensic Science Programs
These schools offer undergraduate and/or graduate forensic science programs.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Alabama State University||Montgomery, AL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$8,720 (in-state undergraduate); $10,016 (in-state graduate)|
|Arkansas State University||Jonesboro, AR||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$8,050 (in-state undergraduate)|
|California State University-Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's; Master's||$6,355 (in-state undergraduate); $7,621 (in-state graduate)|
|Buffalo State University-SUNY||Buffalo, NY||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$7,669 (in-state undergraduate); $11,565 (in-state graduate)|
|CUNY-John Jay College of Criminal Justice||New York, NY||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$6,810 (in-state undergraduate); $10,532 (in-state graduate)|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI||4-year, Public||Master's||$16,122 (in-state graduate)|
|Pennsylvania State University||Multiple Locations||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$17,514 (in-state undergraduate); $20,270 (in-state graduate)|
|West Virginia University||Institute, WV||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$7,632 (in-state undergraduate); $8,568 (in-state graduate)|
|Boston University||Boston, MA||4-year, Private||Master's||$48,082|
|George Washington University||Washington, DC||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's||$50,435 (undergraduate); $27,851 (graduate)|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
The following items are important to consider when choosing a forensic science school:
- Students should look for schools with opportunities to work with the latest forensic technologies.
- Due to the hands-on nature of this line of work, practical training is essential for adequate career preparation. Students should look for programs that offer internships or field experiences.
- Schools with graduate programs are likely to have more advanced laboratories and facilities, which are often available to undergraduates as well.
- Students who want scheduling flexibility or prefer distance learning may want to consider schools with hybrid or online forensic science programs.
Associate of Science in Forensic Science
A forensic science associate's degree program can train students for entry-level forensic science positions, such as evidence custodian or crime scene technician. An associate degree holder may also choose to transfer to a 4-year forensic science program. Students learn about physical and biological evidence, including fingerprints, DNA and trace evidence.
Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science
This is typically an interdisciplinary degree program that incorporates the various fields that relate to the practice of forensic investigation. A B.S. program can prepare graduates to work in local, state, federal and corporate forensic positions. Some schools may allow students to specialize in an area such as biology or chemistry.
Master of Science in Forensic Science
Master's degree programs, of which there are relatively few, provide specialized training in advanced areas of forensic science. Students may focus their studies in specific areas of interest, such as forensic science administration, DNA, criminalistics, forensic biology, toxicology or explosive trace evidence. A practicum, thesis, research project and/or internship are often part of the program. Along with providing skills for working in leadership positions in the field of forensic science, this degree program is also adequate preparation for doctoral studies in the field, leading to careers in research and academia.
Prospective forensic science students may want to look for programs that offer hands-on training and specializations that will prepare them for their chosen career. Other considerations include online coursework and school facilities with forensic equipment.