The six schools in Georgia that offer programs in forensic science include four state and two technical colleges. Studies are offered through associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs as well as through undergraduate diploma and certificate programs. While forensics can be the main area of study for many programs, others focus on criminal justice and allow students to earn a concentration in forensics. Physical sciences and lab work are also emphasized. Additionally, some programs integrate an internship component so that students can gain hands-on skills in a professional setting. Below are brief overviews of the various program options, along with a comparison table with school and tuition information.
Albany State University
At this historically black college in Albany, students can pursue a 125-credit bachelor's program in forensic science that is accredited by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. The purpose of the program is to provide students with a technical background in forensic chemistry, DNA and toxicology, among other areas. The curriculum includes topics in crime scene investigations, forensic photography and trace evidence. As seniors, students also have the opportunity to participate in a 3-credit internship at a police department, coroner's office or laboratory.
Albany State University also offers a 30-credit, thesis-based Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in forensic science. The requirements include a 15-credit criminal justice core and nine credits of concentrated coursework in advanced ballistics, DNA technology, evidence transfer and toxicology.
Darton State College
Darton State College is also located in Albany, and the school offers a hybrid Associate of Science in Forensic Science program that takes place both on campus and online. The 70- to 74-credit curriculum includes topics in biology, chemistry and physics; students also take an elective in criminalistics. Through an articulation agreement with Albany State University, aspiring professionals can continue their forensic science studies at the 4-year level.
Ogeechee Technical College
At Statesboro-based Ogeechee Technical College, students can earn a certificate in crime scene investigation, as well as an associate's degree in forensic science technology. The 19-credit certificate curriculum includes an introduction to forensic science, as well as topics in case preparation, courtroom testimony, crime scene investigating and documentation.
Similar coursework can be found in the 68-credit Associate of Applied Science programs, where students also learn how to analyze bloodstain patterns, examine latent prints and identify toolmarks. Additional topics include the study of forensic firearms and photography, criminology and victimology.
Savannah State University
The state university in Savannah offers a 125-credit Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science program with concentrations in forensic biology and chemistry. Coursework common to both areas of study include topics in DNA and drug analysis, crime scene investigations and personal identification. Students also participate in a 2-credit internship or research study and attend a forensic science seminar.
Undergraduates who concentrate in forensic biology complete 31 credits in chemistry, cell biology, genetics and microbiology. Requirements for the 31-credit specialization in forensic chemistry include courses in analytical and physical chemistry, biology and instrumental analysis. Both areas of specialization allow for 10 credits of electives that may include the study of computer forensics, biotechnology, genetic engineering or toxicology.
The university also offers a 15-credit minor in forensic science that provides training in fingerprint analysis, the use of evidence in law enforcement and other related subjects found in the Bachelor of Science program.
Southern Crescent Technical College
Southern Crescent Technical College, located in Griffin, has a technical certificate program in forensic science fundamentals, and students can also earn a diploma or a degree in forensic science technology. The 37-credit certificate program is designed to teach future professionals how to investigate and analyze electronically stored data for the purpose of gathering evidence. The curriculum includes the study of computer networking, hardware installation, information security and operating systems.
The 53-credit diploma in forensic science technology program is similar to the one at Ogeechee Technical College and includes courses in criminal justice and procedures, anatomy and chemistry, as well as a field-related elective. A similar plan of study can be found in the 68-credit degree program, which requires seven terms to complete.
University of North Georgia
Located in Dahlonega, the University of North Georgia has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program with an 18-credit concentration in forensics. Specialized requirements include a 2-course sequence in criminal forensics, as well as additional topics in criminal and death investigations, drug identification and evidence studies. Future forensic scientists also participate in a 12-credit internship. Students pursuing other majors may also be interested in the 18-credit minor in criminal forensics.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Forensic Science Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Albany State University||4-year, public; small city|| Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science,
Master of Science in Criminal Justice (concentration in forensic science)
| $5,490 (undergraduate) in-state;
$15,738 (undergraduate) out-of-state;
$5,004 (graduate) in-state;
$15,192 (graduate) out-of-state*
|Darton State College||4-year, public; small city||Associate of Science in Forensic Science|| $3,395 (undergraduate) in-state;
$9,470 (undergraduate) out-of-state*
|Ogeechee Technical College||2-year, public; distant town|| Certificate in Crime Scene Investigation,
Associate of Applied Science in Forensic Science Technology
| $2,862 (undergraduate) in-state;
$4,998 (undergraduate) out-of-state*
|Savannah State University||4-year, public; midsize city|| Minor in Forensic Science,
Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science (concentration in forensic biology or chemistry)
| $5,644 (undergraduate) in-state;
$15,900 (undergraduate) out-of-state*
|Southern Crescent Technical College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Technical Certificate in Forensic Science Fundamentals,
Diploma in Forensic Science Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Forensic Science Technology
| $4,122 (undergraduate) in-state;
$7,326 (undergraduate) out-of-state*
|University of North Georgia||4-year, public; town fringe|| Minor in Criminal Justice Forensics,
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (concentration in forensics),
| $4,403 (undergraduate) in-state;
$12,796 (undergraduate) out-of-state*
Source: *NCES College Navigator.