There are a number of schools in the United States that offer graduate degree programs in the forensic sciences. These graduate schools include both master's and doctoral programs, and specializations in the field range from computer forensics, forensic biochemistry, or forensic anthropology, among others.
Schools with Forensic Science Programs
Listed below are schools that offer graduate programs in forensic science. Tuition rates listed are for average graduate tuition and do not include additional fees.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)|
|Alabama State University||Montgomery, AL||4-year, Public||Master's||In-state $8,232, out of state $16,464|
|California State University-Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA||4-year, Public||Master's||In-state $6,738, out of state $15,666|
|Buffalo State University-SUNY||Buffalo, New York||4-year, Public||Master's||In-state $10,870, out of state $22,210|
|CUNY-John Jay College of Criminal Justice||New York, New York||4-year, Public||Master's, doctoral||In-state $10,130, out of state $18,720|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, Michigan||4-year, Public||Master's, joint doctoral||In-state $16,122, out of state $31,674|
|Pennsylvania State University||University Park, Pennsylvania||4-year, Public||Master's||In-state $19,328, out of state $33,142|
|West Virginia University||Morgantown, West Virginia||4-year, Public||Master's, doctoral||In-state $8,568, out of state $22,140|
|Boston University||Boston, Massachusetts||4-year, Private||Master's||$47,422|
|George Washington University||Washington, District of Columbia||4-year, Private||Master's, Graduate Certificate||$27,810|
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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School Selection Criteria
Forensic science has several possible concentration areas, which is one of the aspects students should consider when choosing a program. Learn more about program considerations below:
- Students looking for a forensic science graduate school should first determine the area in which they would like to specialize, such as computer forensics, forensic biochemistry or forensic anthropology.
- Aspiring students should have at least a bachelor's degree before applying to graduate school; relevant work experience may also help in determining a specialty.
- Make sure a school is accredited, because degrees from unaccredited schools may not be recognized by employers. The American Academy of Forensic Sciences evaluates and approves schools through its Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission.
- Students may want to consider at what point in their studies they want to pursue forensic science education, since some students choose to start with a first professional degree and then focus on forensics.
All degree programs in forensics or criminalistics include coursework in basic forensic science, statistics and scientific research design. All forensic scientists learn to handle evidence and to testify in court. Master's degree programs in forensic analysis offer training in chromatography, spectroscopy and micro-analysis of materials. Forensic biochemistry students tend to focus on DNA, studying molecular biology and genetics. Digital forensics programs include courses in computer, network and wireless security; viruses, worms and other malware; and the processes for analyzing vulnerabilities at all levels of a computer system. Forensic anthropology, archaeology and osteology (analysis of skeletal remains) can also be studied at the master's degree level.
Doctoral degree programs in forensic science tend to fall into two types. Doctor of Philosophy degree holders are usually researchers, scholars and teachers. However, those with an entomology specialty may be called upon to estimate time of death by analyzing insect development in the body. Medical doctors, dentists, clinical psychologists and other doctorate-level practitioners can either earn their degree with a forensic focus or add post-graduate training in forensic science. Nurses can earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in Forensic Nursing.
Studying forensic science at the graduate degree level affords a number of opportunities for different concentrations. Applicants should consider their specific areas of interest when choosing a school and make sure their program is accredited.