Top Forensic Science Colleges in the U.S.

Find information about top forensic science colleges, including levels of study, internships and relevant student organizations. Get an overview of the programs offered by four high-ranking universities, and see what other schools in the United States offer formal training in forensic science. View article »

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  • 0:03 School Information
  • 1:00 Pennsylvania State University
  • 1:28 Syracuse University
  • 2:30 University of California
  • 3:08 Boston University
  • 3:33 Top Forensic Science Colleges

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Video Transcript

School Information

Forensic science programs are offered at many top schools in the country, including Boston University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of California, and Syracuse University. Programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. Forensic science programs teach aspiring professionals how to use specialized equipment and laboratory tests to analyze evidence, a vital part of any criminal investigation.

The programs at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Boston University, and the University of California at Davis, three of the schools we'll profile below, have been approved by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). Pennsylvania State is the only one of the four schools listed to below to offer an undergraduate program in forensic science. All four of the schools offer master's degree programs in the same field of study. Each profiled school earned a spot on U.S. News & World Report's 2017 rankings.

Pennsylvania State University

In 2017, Pennsylvania State University was ranked tied as the nation's 50th best college by U.S. News & World Report. Through the Eberly College of Science, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Forensic Science with a focus in biology or chemistry. Penn State also offers a Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Forensic Science. Students can participate in on-campus organizations, including the Penn State Forensic Science Club.

Syracuse University

Listed at #44 on the 2017 U.S. News & World Report ranking of best value schools, Syracuse University tied as the 60th best national university. Syracuse University features degrees in many fields of science, including forensic science. Syracuse's forensic and national security sciences department offers a number of master's degrees, including a Master of Science (M.S.) in Forensic Science and a combined M.S./Juris Doctor (J.D.) in Forensic Science and Law. Although Syracuse doesn't offer a major in forensic science at the undergraduate level, students can still explore this field as a minor or an Integrated Learning Major. The latter requires 25 to 26 credits to complete, in addition to a major in chemistry, sociology, or another related area. Students can take part in internships offered by various organizations, including the FBI, New York State Police, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

University of California

The University of California - Davis (UC Davis) was tied as the #10 public university by U.S. News & World Report in 2017. The forensic science faculty at UC Davis consists of engineers, psychologists, scientists, and doctors, as well as faculty who work with the California Criminalistics Institute. At UC Davis, students can pursue an M.S. in Forensic Science with a specialization in criminalistics or DNA analysis. Students take classes in forensic science instruments and methods, identification and DNA typing, arson inspection, courtroom testimony, and forensic science research methods.

Boston University

School highlight: an M.S. in Biomedical Forensic Sciences is offered at Boston University's School of Medicine Graduate Medical Sciences. Boston University was ranked tied as the nation's 39th best college by U.S. News & World Report. Forensic science courses are taught by faculty who are active in case work. Students engage in research and lab work. Students must pass a general competency exam to graduate.

Top Forensic Science Colleges

Other top schools with forensic science programs include the following:

School Name Distinction Location
Drexel University Graduate program offers a Master of Science in Forensic Science or a Master of Science in Criminalistic Science Philadelphia, PA
George Washington University Offers master's degrees in crime scene investigation and high technology crime investigation Washington, D.C.
Michigan State University Offers three concentrations in forensic anthropology, biology, or chemistry East Lansing, MI
Ohio University Has the oldest forensic chemistry program in the country Athens, OH
State University of New York at Albany The DNA Academy at the Northeast Regional Forensic Institute is located at this university Albany, NY
Virginia Commonwealth University Lab courses taught in the state of Virginia's Department of Forensic Science Lab Richmond, VA

Forensic science students looking for programs at some of the nation's top schools can consider options that include concentrations, internship opportunities, and student organizations.

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