Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science for 2020-21

One of the reasons you are starting to see CSI everywhere these days—in both fiction and reality—is that the capabilities of the profession are so advanced and impressive. Detecting fingerprints with black light, tracking down suspects to decades-old murders with a trace of saliva left on a coffee cup, triangulating movements with cell phone signals and advance digital mapping technology… the future is now when it comes to investigating crime scenes and developing trace physical evidence into prosecutable cases.

But mastery of those high-tech tools and advanced scientific skills don’t come easily. That’s why earning a master’s or a doctorate in forensic science or crime scene investigation is becoming a more and more common career choice in law enforcement and even in the private sector.

For anyone entering the field initially, an advanced degree starts you off with the kind of training and skills that otherwise take years to accumulate on the job. You get the deep scientific education and training on instruments and processes that today’s forensic investigators rely on.

For anyone already working in the field, an advanced degree is the path to honing expertise even further and developing the kind of scientific and leadership skills necessary to advance to roles with greater responsibility.

Being prepared for those kinds of roles by earning a graduate degree comes at a considerable expense, which means finding an affordable program is job one.

CSI Work in the Field … or Forensic Science Work in the Lab

Although we’re listing all affordable advanced degrees in CSI and Forensic Science together on this page, there are important differences in the programs when you reach the master’s level.

That’s because CSI education becomes even more focused on the evidence-gathering, processing and preservation that takes place on the ground at crime scenes … while forensic science studies become more intensive as it relates to the analysis and reconstruction of that evidence in the lab.

CSI programs at the master’s level double down on the art of evaluating crime scenes, covering everything from blood spatter analysis to trace-evidence detection, and fingerprint lifts. They go further into the most advanced technologies available for those purposes, like digital and extended-spectrum photography, mapping technologies, and crime scene reconstruction software.

Forensic master’s programs are typically more focused on raw science and laboratory processes. They ensure you have the right skills in instrument handling and sample preparation to avoid cross-contamination, ensuring you maintain the integrity of forensic evidence. You’ll further develop your skills in natural sciences like chemistry and biology and learn how to use those skills in forensic applications like DNA analysis, fingerprint identification, toxicology, and ballistics. It all comes together to prepare you to be able to build an airtight case using evidence collected from crime scenes.

Few master’s degrees are either all CSI or all forensic lab work, though. Most actually include some components from both areas of study, which only makes sense since crime scene investigators and forensic scientists work hand in glove toward a common goal. In fact, many law enforcement agencies have forensics teams that serve in both roles. Under any circumstance, familiarity with how evidence will be processed in the lab helps on-scene investigators collect and preserve it in a way that ensures optimal results in the lab … and lab analysts shape their analyses based on an understanding of how on-site investigators evaluate and document a scene.

The decision comes naturally for most people – you either have a career in law enforcement and a knack for investigative work out in the field … or you come from a background in the sciences that helps put you on track to handle the rigors of forensic lab work.

The title of the degree program isn’t always a clear indicator of whether the program focuses more on CSI work in the field versus forensic lab work. We did the work of parsing out the programs to eliminate any confusion, organizing them into two separate lists here based on each program’s primary focus and the kind of careers it will put you on track to pursue.

 

 

Affordability Doesn’t Mean Compromising Rigor

Given that hard science forms the basis for both CSI and forensic lab work, these graduate programs are almost always structured as Master of Science degrees. You will find a handful of professional science master’s degrees (PSM) as well.

These programs cover not only the kind of scientific and practical lab skills required for the job, but also other important aspects of professional training in things like ethics, lab management and delegation. They also place a strong focus on communication skills to help you become an effective leader and delegator, and capable of clearly articulating findings to detectives, prosecutors and even juries during courtroom testimony.

In many cases, the degrees listed here are expressly intended to prepare students to take on leadership roles as forensic science lab managers.

You don’t have to give up anything to find a CSI or forensic science master’s program at a good price. In fact, we found programs that made the cut based on affordability to be every bit as comprehensive, rigorous, and respected in the law enforcement community as the most expensive options out there.

Before we even began our tuition analysis, we started by making sure the programs we considered are going to give you a quality education and good shot at landing a job or promotion. You can’t go wrong with any of the selections listed here – every single program on this list meets high standards for both quality and affordability.

Basic University Accreditation Standards

Although cost was our primary criteria when identifying programs, we don’t feature degrees that cut any corners—criminal cases carry great consequences, and nothing less than a fully-accredited program is suitable for training professionals in forensic science.

Every program on this list is currently covered by one of the six regional accreditation bodies that are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the Department of Education (DOE). They are:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of College and Schools (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Each of these agencies puts schools through the wringer, demanding reams of forms and documentation before undergoing remote and on-site evaluations to ensure accreditation standards are met and maintained. Those standards apply to nearly every aspect of a modern college education, taking into account everything from grading standards to student appeals processes to curriculum development.

Accreditation is how you know that your instructors have gone through a rigorous selection process and that a school is adequately funded and capable of providing the right resources to meet the expected standards. Only schools that clear that high bar are considered adequate in the eyes of crime labs and law enforcement agencies hiring CSI and forensic science staff.

FEPAC Offers an Additional Level of Accreditation for Forensic Science Programs

There’s another level of CHEA-approved accreditation that is available to forensic science master’s degrees: program-specific accreditation through FEPAC, the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission, which is the accrediting arm of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS).

FEPAC has processes and standards similar to the regional accreditation agencies, but it focuses exclusively on forensic science (or natural science programs with a forensic concentration) and drills down on the elements of education that particularly apply to getting solid training in forensics.

At the graduate level, that means a rigorous look at program elements such as:

  • Core subject coverage
  • Graduate seminars
  • Research and capstone project standards

The agency goes so far as to distinguish between biology and chemistry-centric programs and those aimed primarily at digital evidence. With input from working professionals in the field, the standards FEPAC holds schools to reflect the current expectations of active forensic scientists.

FEPAC accreditation is important enough that we noted it for programs that hold it, but since the agency was only recognized by CHEA in 2012, very few forensic science programs have applied or been approved. So few, in fact, that we couldn’t make it one of the minimum criteria for inclusion and still give you a representative sample of all the quality programs available at an affordable price.

We also note where labs have been ANAB (ANSI National Accreditation Board)-accredited or have posted that they follow AAFS curriculum standards, which is a precursor for FEPAC accreditation. ANAB accreditation does not speak to forensic science standards, but does ensure that the lab facilities where you’ll be getting your training meet quality objectives for general lab work.

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How We Identified the Most Affordable Advanced Degree Programs in Forensic Science and CSI

Our process for identifying the most affordable master’s programs was straightforward: 1) We identified every single CSI and forensic science master’s program offered through accredited universities in the U.S., 2) found the average cost in each state, 3) and included the programs in each state with tuition rates that generally fell either at or below the state average.

In cases where a state has both public and private universities, we’ve selected the most affordable in each particular category and labeled them accordingly. Because public and private universities have different funding sources and mandates, and often vastly different price points, we evaluated their respective costs only against other schools in the same category – tuition rates at state schools were only compared to the rates at other state schools… and tuition at private universities were only compared to the tuition at other private universities. That way we were able to present the most affordable public and private programs in each state to give you the full picture of the options available, without excluding programs through private universities, which are often considerably more expensive.

We’ve taken pains to note the best features about each program. Cost may be your bottom line, but you probably also want to consider aspects like:

  • Law enforcement agency connections
  • Current research and funding
  • Online and hybrid course options
  • Lab facilities and equipment
  • Instructor qualifications and background

Where available, we’ve noted every superlative element from each of the programs we’ve included, to make sure that you are able to find a low-cost forensic science master’s program that fits your goals.

 

Most Affordable Master’s Degrees for Forensic Crime Scene Investigators

 

National University
College of Letters and Sciences
San Diego, California
Website

Master of Forensic Science – Investigations Focus

Quarter Credits: 54

Estimated Program Cost: $23,868

The only master’s-level CSI-focused program offered at an accredited school in the state.

Accredited by WSCUC

  • Program available on-campus with evening and weekend classes, or online for maximum flexibility for working grad students
  • San Diego’s largest non-profit university
  • Four-week courses, tightly focused on one subject at a time, allow you to concentrate and absorb the most information possible
  • Faculty are established scholars and investigators with years of experience in the field

While many master’s degrees in forensic science focus on the laboratory side of the field, the investigations focus at National University gives you an advanced course of study covering technical procedures and methods for collecting trace evidence, preserving delicate materials, and preparing reports on biological and toxicological evidence collected from scenes. You’ll learn how to apply the basic principles of forensic and legal procedures and take advanced courses in forensic photography and profiling. Training in how to prepare and prevent evidence at trial caps off your studies with the legal knowledge required to make a case stick.

 

George Washington University
Department of Forensic Sciences
Washington, D.C.
Website

Master of Science in Crime Scene Investigation

Semester Credits: 36

Estimated Program Cost: $63,540

The only master’s-level CSI-focused program offered at an accredited school in the District.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • Hybrid completion option allows you to take up to half the required courses online
  • Unique course in medicolegal death investigation offers the skills for investigating all types of unexplained deaths in both civil and criminal contexts

Open your career prospects up to becoming a detective, investigator, special agent, or crime scene technician with this expansive master’s program in crime scene investigation. Whatever your current level of proficiency, you’ll gain skills here in some of the most advanced techniques for detecting and documenting trace evidence, including photography, digital imaging, and fingerprinting. You’ll learn how to document cases from both medical and legal perspectives and have the opportunity to take electives in advanced procedures like bloodstain pattern analysis and child abuse investigation techniques. Along the way, you’ll develop practical skills in synthesizing your findings and working effectively with other investigators and teams.

 

Stevenson University
Online Graduate Programs
Owings Mills, Maryland
Website

Master of Science in Crime Scene Investigation

Semester Credits: 36

Estimated Program Cost: $25,020

The only master’s-level CSI-focused program offered at an accredited school in the state.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • 100 percent online program is convenient for working grad students
  • Accomplished faculty members have extensive real-world experience to pass along and offer personalized attention
  • No GRE requirements and no application fee make it a breeze to apply to this program

With a broad array of criminal-justice focused programs like Cyber Forensics, Forensic Accounting, and Digital Forensics, along with instructors who have racked up years of actual experience in the field, you get exposure to all sorts of different forensics studies with the Master’s in CSI degree at Stevenson. That can qualify you for roles as varied as evidence collector and forensic artist, capable of drawing from strong ethical and legal training to keep your cases on track and firm in the face of appeals. With courses in pattern analysis, expert witness preparation, and crime scene investigation, you’ll have the kind of broad preparation you need to not only conduct forensic investigations, but to manage and lead them as well.

 

Missouri Western State University
Department of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies & Social Work
St. Joseph, Missouri
Website

Master of Applied Science in Forensic Investigation

Semester Credits: 32

Estimated Program Cost: $17,070

The only master’s-level CSI-focused program offered at an accredited school in the state.

Accredited by HLC

  • Courses available on campus or online, with both semester-length and one-week intensive options to give you maximum flexibility to put together a plan that matches your personal and professional demands
  • Program is offered in cooperation with the Southern Institute for Forensic Science to give you the advantage of longstanding academic relationships with regional universities

The Missouri Western program in Forensic Investigation is oriented toward students who are already employed full-time, with the kind of scheduling and attendance options that make it a breeze to complete your master’s while fulfilling your day-to-day obligations. The program offers a broad-based exposure to the general discipline of forensic investigations, together with specialized courses like forensic entomology, death investigation, and computer forensics that offer in-depth information and training on the most pressing issues in the field today. A capstone project helps tie together all of the various knowledge and practices you learn, making you a strong candidate for any CSI squad.

 

University of Central Oklahoma
Forensic Science Institute
Edmond, Oklahoma
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 36

Estimated Program Cost: $10,499

The only master’s-level crime scene investigations program offered at an accredited school in the state.

Accredited by HLC

  • School boasts campus chapters of SAFS, the AAFS, IAI, and a close relationship with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, increasing your networking opportunities and exposure to working professionals in the field
  • Options to complete either a master’s thesis or to take a graduate capstone course to encapsulate your learning experience
  • Research-oriented program allows you to dive into the cutting edge of forensic science investigation

The UCO program focuses heavily on current research in forensic science, which means you’ll learn how to apply the scientific method to thorny problems in crime scene investigation, as well as exposing you to the latest in forensic science literature. You will learn how to critically review and interpret those finding as well as those that you uncover in your own original research, building and testing hypotheses along the way – something that will serve you well either in academia or in breaking down real-world crime scenes. The multidisciplinary approach taken at the Forensic Science Institute is excellent preparation for pursuing a career as a forensic artist, victim/witness specialist, or crime scene investigator.

 

Cedar Crest College
School of Graduate and Adult Education
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Website

Master of Science in Crime Science

Semester Credits: 36

Estimated Program Cost: $30,564

The only master’s-level CSI-focused program offered at an accredited school in the state.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • Features an interdisciplinary curriculum that combines criminal justice, forensic science, and forensic psychology, preparing you for any CSI role
  • Hybrid course structure combines online and classroom learning to give you the benefit of face-to-face instruction with flexible online course scheduling
  • Unique courses in crime scene management, right down to the microbiome level, ensure you are equipped to deliver some of the cleanest scenes and most persuasive evidence in court

The Cedar Crest master’s program in criminal science goes far beyond the basics of uncovering and documenting evidence from crime scenes. Through courses such as Event-based Crime Prevention and Restorative Practices, you will get a full spectrum of education in criminal psychology that covers environmental factors driving crime long before a specific crime occurs, along with diversionary and restorative justice programs that can impact recidivism. It’s a far broader focus than most CSI degrees, but you get plenty of cutting-edge training in the traditional aspects of the profession as well, including using mapping technology in investigations and managing data storage of evidence in a world where labs are increasingly overwhelmed by catalog and storage requirements.

 

George Mason University
College of Science
Fairfax, Virginia
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science – Crime Scene Investigation Concentration

Semester Credits: 36

Estimated Program Cost: $21,816

The only master’s-level CSI-focused program offered at an accredited school in the state.

Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Program also offers concentrations in Forensic Biology, Forensic Chemistry, and Biometric Identity analysis, exposing you to the latest technologies in forensic investigation
  • Prepares graduates for careers in federal, state, local, or private investigative or intelligence agencies
  • Courses taught by active forensic science professionals and distinguished faculty, including former federal agents, scientists, and attorneys
  • Curriculum based on AAFS standards
  • Internships available with various federal, state, and local investigative agencies
  • Outdoor Forensic Excavation research and training facility allow you to get your hands dirty in realistic processing scenarios

The strength of the faculty in this Washington, D.C. area program offers a deeply professional skill-building experience in both clinical and field matters. Strong connections to the community give you unparalleled access to leading forensic science labs, corporations, and government agencies—a unique chance to watch CSI techniques in action. With training that ranges from the laboratory to delivering expert testimony and developing trace physical evidence, you will get an extensive education in crime scene processing and criminal investigations, along with the network to snare the job you are dreaming of after graduation.

 

Marshall University
Graduate College
Huntington, West Virginia
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science – Crime Scene Investigation Emphasis

Semester Credits: 47

Estimated Program Cost: $21,820

The only master’s-level CSI-focused program offered at an accredited school in the state.

Accredited by HLC

  • Program has its own dedicated Crime Scene House that allows you to explore real-world scenarios under careful supervision
  • FEPAC-accredited forensic science program
  • Nationally-recognized ANAB-accredited Forensic DNA Analysis laboratory located on campus gives you exposure to techniques for DNA analysis in property, sexual assault, and other crimes
  • Student run chapter of FIA creates additional networking and learning opportunities
  • Completion of the CSI emphasis qualifies students to sit for the IAI Basic Student Knowledge in Crime Scene Examination

The Marshall program benefits from the nationally-recognized Forensic DNA Analysis laboratory run by the school, but your preparation for becoming a professional crime scene investigator goes far beyond the lab with the dedicated Crime Scene House. The mock three-story facility was reconditioned to provide a state-of-the-art educational experience for students and trainees, starting with proper entry procedures, photography, evidence documentation and collection, and the gory details of fingerprint lifts and blood spatter pattern analysis. It’s all documented by closed circuit audio and video that allows experienced instructors to carefully monitor and review your performance. Backed up by intensive classroom programs in ballistics, arson, excavation, and forensic entomology, you’ll get both the theoretical and practical training you need for a successful career in crime scene investigation.

Most Affordable Master’s Degrees for Forensic Laboratory Scientists

 

University of Alabama at Birmingham
College of Arts & Sciences
Birmingham, Alabama
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 39

Estimated Program Cost: $17,550

In-state tuition $696 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by SACSCOC

  • One of only 16 programs in the U.S. fully accredited by the FSEPAC
  • Support from the Alabama Department of Forensic Science and the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office offers unparalleled opportunities to engage in real world cases
  • College is home to the Forensic Science Review, allowing you access to all the latest research findings and articles in the field
  • Thesis and non-thesis completion options are available
  • Optional Professional Development Program available to enhance important skills in leadership, communication, and ethics to improve career prospects after graduation

Hard sciences are front and center in the UAB MSFS program; in fact, you’ll need to have earned at least a BS in chemistry, biology, or forensic science to enter this program. Once you’re in the door, you can expect to dive into detailed courses in molecular genetics, forensic toxicology, and forensic drug analysis that will take your science skills to the limit. Together with advanced courses in cold case analysis, death investigations, and arson, you’ll learn how to take that scientific skill and apply it to detecting the kind of evidence that holds up as proof in court. A directed research component allows you to take your education in a new direction, performing studies and experiments in aspects of forensics that are of particular interest to you.

 

Arizona State University
New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Tempe, Arizona
Website

Professional Science Master’s in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 30

Estimated Program Cost: $15,960

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by HLC

  • Ranked the #1 Most Innovative College in the United States for 2020 by U.S. News & World Report, ahead of both Stanford and MIT
  • 100 percent online program caters to the busy schedules of working forensic laboratory professionals
  • Includes leadership and ethics training to help develop your career prospects in the field

The ASU professional science master’s is a highly-focused program that offers a framework for oversight in forensic labs in accordance with the principles of the National Professional Science Masters Association. The PSM at ASU offers you the opportunity to build your leadership skills in forensic labs while developing an advanced set of scientific techniques in courses as varied as toxicology, botany, entomology, and forensic DNA. The program also covers the subject of laboratory accreditation and auditing, important components of forensic lab management that only an elite few graduate programs cover. As part of the school’s graduation requirements, you will also take part in a supervised applied project to ensure that your hands-on skills are up to the task.

 

University of California – Davis
Graduate Group in Forensic Science
Davis, California
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

  • Forensic DNS Analysis
  • Forensic Criminalistics

Quarter Credits: 54

Estimated Program Cost: $15,256

The only master’s-level program in the state offered at a public university with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by WSCUC

  • Program can be taken on a full- or part-time basis with late afternoon or evening classes to accommodate the needs of working professionals
  • Graduates are employed at such prestigious labs as the Amed Forces DNA Identification lab, as well as the California DoJ laboratory and international postings
  • Offers tracks in forensic DNA analysis and forensic criminalistics with specialized curriculum for in-depth learning, with an option to complete both during your course of study
  • Significant research commitment includes 1,000 hours or more of dedicated research time in the lab

Research is a major focus for the UC-Davis forensics program, with opportunities to engage in faculty-led projects ranging from trace DNA collection from large surface areas to evaluating the toxic response of human epidermal cells to develop better methods for detecting poisoning. With tracks specific to DNA analysis and criminalistics, you have the option to either zero in on molecular biology or develop your skills in chemistry and instrument analysis. It’s also possible to complete both tracks or mix and match courses to develop your own specialization. Either way, the school sends graduates on to highly prestigious positions in internationally recognized crime labs, meaning your job prospects will get a serious shot in the arm after completing this degree.

 

National University 
College of Letters and Sciences
San Diego, California
Website

Master of Forensic Science – Criminalistics Focus

Quarter Credits: 54

Estimated Program Cost: $23,868

$2,496 LESS than the state average for similar programs at private universities.

Accredited by WSCUC

  • Program is available in either online or traditional formats, with on-campus courses offered in the evenings and weekends for working professionals
  • Largest non-profit university in San Diego
  • A unique course design, offered in a single subject in four-week blocks, allows you to focus your studies for maximum retention
  • Expert faculty members have years of experience in the field and strong reputations in the community

The criminalistics focus in the MFS program at National University hits all the topics you need to know as an advanced lab scientist in forensics. Courses in advanced toxicology, serology and DNA analysis, trace evidence evaluation, and forensic anthropology and archeology give you a formidable set of skills to break down the evidence from any type of crime scene. With a mix of profiling and legal and ethical considerations thrown in for good measure, you’ll have a complete education in criminal forensics that can earn you a high-level position at any crime lab in the country.

 

University of New Haven
Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences
New Haven, Connecticut
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 42

Estimated Program Cost: $39,480

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by NECHE

  • Study at a university with a worldwide reputation for preparing top-quality graduates in both forensic science and technology
  • Unparalleled hands-on laboratory experience will prove immediately useful in extending your career path in forensics
  • Graduates have gone on to jobs at the Armed Forced DNA ID Lab, Boston Police Department, the California Division of Justice, the FBI Lab Division, and other prestigious postings around the country
  • Nationally recognized Center for Career Development was named one of the best in the nation by the Princeton Review

You’ll be prepared to do everything from performing forensic DNA analysis to providing expert testimony about your findings in high-pressure court cases after you graduate from the superlative UNH forensics programs. Unique classes in subjects like capillary electrophoresis expose you to cutting-edge tools in forensic science, while advanced criminalistics studies put you through the comparison and individualization of physical evidence at the microscopic level. Courses covering biological, immunological, and chemical analysis of bloodwork and other bodily fluids is one of the ways this program distinguishes itself, offering hands-on lab work to reinforce lessons learned in the classroom and during the lecture series.

 

George Washington University
Department of Forensic Sciences
Washington, D.C.
Website

Master of Forensic Science in Forensic Science

Master of Forensic Science in Forensic Chemistry

Master of Forensic Science in Forensic Molecular Biology

Semester Credits: 37

Estimated Program Cost: $65,305

The only master’s-level program in the District with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by MSC

  • FEPAC-accredited program
  • State-of-the-art laboratory facilities house cutting-edge instrumentation for normal and trace evidence analysis
  • Small student/faculty research teams bring collaborative insights that help foster new methodologies in forensic science
  • The Eckles Library facility houses a wide range of forensic science print and online research materials that students can access
  • Faculty regularly receive federal grants and present finding at prestigious bodies such as the American Academy of Forensic Sciences

With three closely-related, FEPAC-accredited master’s degrees in forensic science, there are options for every specialization at the GWU Department of Forensic Sciences. Whether your career plans involve specializing in drug and reagent analysis, DNA extraction and interpretation, or working with physical evidence like fingerprints, shell casings, or other impressions, you can find a path to advanced expertise here. With additional coursework in legal and ethical matters, including mock court hearings in which you serve as an expert witness, you’ll be prepared to make your findings matter when it comes to building solid cases against criminals.

 

University of Central Florida
College of Sciences
Orlando, Florida
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

  • Forensic Analysis
  • Forensic Biochemistry
  • Forensic Professional

Semester Credits: 32

Estimated Program Cost: $11,289 ($26,615 for doctoral program)

In-state tuition $3,835 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Ranked as a best value university by both The Princeton Review and Kiplinger, while Forbes calls UCF one of the nation’s most affordable colleges
  • Thesis and non-thesis degree completion options available
  • Degree can be completed 100 percent online

UCF takes a strong interdisciplinary approach to forensic science education and serves both practicing professionals and full-time students with a mix of on-campus and online course options. An independent study capstone project offered in the non-thesis degree allows you to significantly customize your course of study to fit your needs and interests in the field. In the thesis track, you can conduct research in either UCF labs, or at other professional laboratories you may have access to. Expert faculty in every track help you to understand and develop your own theories and techniques, and detailed courses in advanced topics like atomic spectroscopy and forensic analysis of ignitable liquids gives you the lab expertise you need to succeed. The PhD program goes even further, with a special series of courses on the chemistry of explosives and ignitable liquids, providing you with formidable expertise in the area of arson investigations. You’ll expand your research skills in a directed research program that can encompass anything from molecular biology to genetics.

 

Florida International University
International Forensic Research Institute
Miami, Florida
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Professional Science Masters in Forensic Science

Doctor of Chemistry and Biochemistry – Forensic Track

Semester Credits: 32

Estimated Program Cost: $14,581 ($32,808 for doctoral program)

In-state tuition $1,083 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by SACSCOC

  • FEPAC-accredited program
  • Short online course options allow working professionals to integrate the program into their own schedule, while the option to use alternate laboratories for research projects makes it easy to conduct projects close to home
  • Strong ties with local and national law enforcement agencies including Miami-Dade PD, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the Netherlands National Police
  • IFRI-run Global Forensic and Justice Center offers innovative resources for education, research, and training

The advanced degrees offered at FIU’s International Forensic Research Institute can take you to the very pinnacle of practice in forensic science through a coordinated, highly integrated set of programs with close ties to the local, national, and global law enforcement community. With a PhD specializing in environmental and biomedical aspects of chemistry, you will pick up the latest techniques in detection and analysis, such as hydrocarbon speciation and photocatalytic decomposition of organophosphates. The MSFS follows a similar track, with more foundational education in fundamentals of forensic applications in criminal justice, while the PSMFS is designed to combine advanced forensic education with highly developed management skills that can put you in charge of a lab at almost any agency. Real-world cases and internship experiences help put your education in perspective and put you in contact with working professionals with the kind of insights only experience can provide.

 

Nova Southeastern University 
Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Website

Master of Health Science – Forensic Investigative Technology Concentration

Semester Credits: 40

Estimated Program Cost: $17,160

$2,040 LESS than the state average for forensic programs at private universities.

Accredited by SACSCOC

  • 100 percent online courses from a school that has developed globally-recognized expertise in distance learning
  • Unique health-centric approach to forensics equips you with more core biology and life science knowledge than the average forensics master’s program

Coming at forensic investigations from the health science perspective is only one of the things that makes this low-cost private school program unique. Although the program is entirely performed in a distance learning format, you’ll use state-of-the-art technologies to stay in close contact with instructors and fellow students. The school encourages students to work toward getting published in peer-review journals and adopts the concept of preparing students to be scholar-practitioners who take a learning mindset onto the job with them even after graduation. Despite the biological and health science focus, you will still be exposed to all the traditional aspects of forensic science investigations, such as firearm analysis, fingerprint and tool marks, and tire track examination and matching. Perhaps more importantly, your instructors will take you through the implications of modern jurisprudence on how this evidence will be assessed and evaluated to help you develop your cases for a better likelihood of prosecution.

 

University of Illinois at Chicago
College of Pharmacy
Chicago, Illinois
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Master of Science in Forensic Toxicology

Semester Credits: 38

Estimated Program Cost: $15,548

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by HLC

  • FEPAC-accredited MSFS program
  • Graduates have found employment in prestigious crime laboratories such as the McCrone Research Institute, the U.S. Army CID lab, the FBI lab, and DEA labs
  • Industrial experience course offers a unique and hands-on work experience in pharmaceutical labs to understand drug development and manufacturing
  • Supervised research projects for both degrees allow you to conduct unique research in areas of your own interest that you could have published
  • Thesis and non-thesis options are available

Attending a forensics program run by a pharmacy school is one sure way to develop expertise in matters of drug analysis and toxicology that far surpasses the average forensic scientist. With courses in dosage calculations, advanced biopharmaceutical sciences, and a forensic science residency to develop in-depth casework analysis skills in a specific forensic discipline, you will emerge from your master’s program with not only the core science knowledge to handle any sort of biological or chemical trace analysis, but also the lab skills to make accurate and effective judgements. A course in expert witness testimony and courtroom demeanor will put you through mock trial scenarios and teach you how to deliver effective testimony to make cases stick even in the face of harsh cross-examination.

 

Indiana University
Purdue School of Science
Indianapolis, Indiana
Website

Master Science in Forensic and Investigative Sciences

  • Forensic Biology
  • Forensic Chemistry

Semester Credits: 30

Estimated Program Cost: $10,710

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by HLC

  • FEPAC-accredited program
  • Accelerated program can be completed in one year to get you on your career path fast
  • Background studies in population genetics and forensic microscopy prepare you for distinguishing legitimate trace evidence from other materials collected at crime scenes
  • Dedicated forensic laboratories are some of the best in the nation and are equipped with the same tools that professional labs are using on the front lines of forensic detection and analysis
  • Opportunities to participate in research projects in forensic biology and forensic chemistry led by highly respected faculty members
  • Ranked 7th in the country by U.S. News & World Report as an up-and-coming national university

Partnerships with local medical leaders like the IU School of Medicine, as well as surrounding hospitals in the Indianapolis area expose you to real-world cases to practice on as well as offering the chance to learn for working professionals. The university is also located near the Indiana State Forensic Laboratory, the Marion County Forensic Services Agency, the State Department of Toxicology, and two private forensic labs. The focus on practical lab skills and developing your techniques and expertise can lead you to advanced competencies in genetics, biochemistry, statistics, or instrumental analysis depending on which concentration you select. One-on-one interaction with award-winning faculty allows you to absorb knowledge and expertise from some of the best forensic scientists in the business.

 

Emporia State University
Forensic Science Department
Emporia, Kansas
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Criminalistics

Semester Credits: 40

Estimated Program Cost: $10,656

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by WSCUC

  • Curriculum developed with input from crime lab directors from across the Midwest
  • Features a focus on one-to-one interaction with highly qualified and experienced instructors in small classes
  • Internship opportunities available at major regional crime labs including the Kansas City Police Department and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation
  • Students have the opportunity for direct on-the-ground experience by volunteering with the Student Crime Scene Response Team responding to live scenes with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office

With three focused concentrations available covering some of the most in-demand aspects of forensic investigation, Emporia covers your bases for career paths in forensic science. A mock crime scene facility and an advanced analytical chemistry lab give you the equipment with which to learn lab skills, while small class sizes and comprehensive one-on-one interaction with instructors gives you the knowledge and direction to master those skills. You’ll gain experience in a variety of analytical techniques spanning every aspect of forensic science, while being encouraged to perform research in an area of your own choosing. Courses in court presentation and trial preparation will prepare you to deliver your findings in a cool, calm, effective manner that will get results.

 

University of Kentucky
College of Medicine
Lexington, Kentucky
Website

Professional Master’s of Forensic Toxicology and Analytical Genetics

  • Forensic Toxicology/Chemistry
  • Forensic/Analytical Genetics

Semester Credits: 36

Estimated Program Cost: $34,956

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by SACSCOC

  • The only master’s-level forensic science program available in the state of Kentucky
  • Rigorous and targeted curriculum offers internship experience and an individualized selection of elective courses
  • Graduates find positions in private industry drug testing, private DNA analysis, forensic governmental programs, and hospital laboratories
  • Study in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities with FTIR spectrometer, NMR, capillary sequencer, a Luminex analyzer, and more

Internship opportunities at the University of Kentucky are some of the most extensive available, with sites in private industry, government departments, and hospitals providing real-world settings for rigorous training and skills assessments. You’ll be well-prepared for those experiences, however, through in-depth courses covering not just forensic science (in one of two specialized concentrations) but also writing, communication, professionalism, ethics, and legal perspectives on forensic science. The core curriculum also includes statistics and general standards and practices in forensic science to give you a solid grounding in the basic elements of forensic lab work.

 

Boston University
School of Medicine
Boston, Massachusetts
Website

Master of Science in Biomedical Forensic Science

Master of Science in Forensic Anthropology

Semester Credits: 38 (42 for MSFA)

Estimated Program Cost: $72,000

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by NECHE

  • MS in BFS is accredited by FEPAC
  • Courses taught by faculty that include practicing attorneys who are actively involved in casework and use personal experience to illustrate lessons
  • Most courses include both laboratory and practical components to deliver hands-on experience
  • All students will engage in individual research and are encouraged to both present and publish within the field for exposure and networking

Boston University leverages its globally-recognized expertise in medical instruction to offer not just one, but two superlative forensic science degrees. The BFS master’s degree goes through many of the conventional aspects of forensic science, including chemistry, biology, and trace evidence analysis at a level of detail that drills right down into DNA analysis. You’ll learn about pattern analysis, controlled substances, and forensic toxicology. The forensic anthropology degree focuses on biological and skeletal anthropological methods used in medicolegal death investigations. Both programs include expert witness testimony preparation including mock trial appearances to put you through the wringer and teach you the tricks of presenting your evidence calmly and clearly in even the most stressful court environment.

 

Towson University
Department of Chemistry
Towson, Maryland
Website

Professional Science Master’s in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 37

Estimated Program Cost: $21,645

In-state tuition $93 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • FEPAC-accredited program
  • Alumni employed at crime labs nationwide, including the Baltimore City Police Crime Lab, BODE Laboratories, and the National Institute of Health
  • 92 percent job placement rate among program graduates
  • Combining advanced scientific training with management and organizational skills to prepare for serious career advancement in leadership positions
  • Small classes ensure excellent student-faculty ratios and individual interaction

This professional science master’s delivers not only the FEPAC-required curriculum in science and forensic techniques that top laboratories demand, but also the practical and managerial skills you need to succeed in running a lab and managing active forensic cases. A strong footing in analytical chemistry, molecular biology, population genetics, and DNA technology give you superior knowledge in some of the hottest aspects of modern forensic detection. At the same time, an emphasis on hands-on lab work gives you the skills in dealing with trace evidence and advanced instrumentation to identify even the most microscopic evidence and build a strong case out of it.

 

Stevenson University
Online Graduate Programs
Owings Mills, Maryland
Website

Degree

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

Master of Science in Forensic Studies

Semester Credits: 36

Estimated Program Cost: $25,020

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus offered at a private university.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • 100 percent online programs are built for working professionals for easy scheduling and attendance built around your existing commitments
  • Stevenson Career Connections puts you in touch with online career help from experienced Career Services staff 24/7 to help you with job search and career-building
  • Programs have received the Online Program Design Certification from Quality Matters to verify that they have been designed from the ground up for full online support
  • Close relationships with the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division, U.S. Secret Service Lab, and the Baltimore County Crime Lab offers training from insightful, active leaders in the field of forensics

Offering two unique forensics master’s degrees entirely online, Stevenson University is a shining example of how a private college can offer options that are both affordable and convenient without ever compromising academic rigor. The MSFS follows traditional forensic science paths through biology and chemistry, giving you the lab skills and analytical knowledge you need to excel as a DNA analyst, forensic toxicologist, or professional latent print examiner. The Forensic Studies master’s, on the other hand, veers into new territory, providing an education in digital forensics, forensic accounting, and investigative and interviewing techniques for forensic scientists operating on the new frontier of crime fighting. It also offers sufficient preparation for forensic scientists who are already working in the field, but need an update on cyber-forensics as a prelude to taking on additional managerial or executive responsibilities covering both realms.

 

Michigan State University
School of Criminal Justice
East Lansing, Michigan
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 38

Estimated Program Cost: $29,859

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by HLC

  • FEPAC-accredited program—one of the first in the country to attain that status
  • As one of the oldest degree-granting criminal justice programs in the country, more than 11,000 alumni currently in the workforce offer world-wide networking opportunities
  • Graduate program nationally ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report
  • Faculty are known both nationally and internationally for their expertise
  • Students have access to a state-of-the-art forensic chemistry laboratory as well as lab instrumentation from numerous other departments on campus for a wide range of analytical experience

Michigan State’s affordable forensic science master’s degree is characterized by cutting-edge research and an interdisciplinary curriculum taught by highly professional and experienced faculty with a wide range of backgrounds. You’ll be encouraged to get deeply involved in research during your time at Michigan State, getting the support you need to obtain research funding, have your work published in leading journals, and present your findings at local and national forensic science conferences. Student research projects here have included controlled substance identification and fire debris analysis. Internship participation is encouraged, and placements are available at facilities such as the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division.

 

Southeast Missouri State University
Department of Chemistry and Physics
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Website

Master’s of Natural Science in Applied Chemistry – Forensic Chemistry Track

Semester Credits: 32

Estimated Program Cost: $9,318

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by HLC

  • More than 15 specialized lab facilities on-campus offer access to an array of instruments unmatched by other programs, supported by a recent $700,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice
  • Forensic Science Club brings together students and graduates for additional learning and networking opportunities
  • Active research projects are closely supported by faculty, with students frequently presenting at ACS, MAS, and AAFS meets
  • Graduates have been employed with prestigious forensics labs, including the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Laboratory Division, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

The Southeast Missouri State University forensics track in Applied Chemistry may look unusual to outsiders familiar with more traditional MSFS degrees, but it’s been carefully designed to appeal to the core needs of the forensic science community. Regional lab directors identified a preference for hiring candidates with a solid grounding in chemistry and their forensics training built on top of that expertise, over those with broad forensic knowledge but only elementary training in chemistry or biology. The MNS in Applied Chemistry delivers exactly that kind of in-depth education, then delivers criminalistic-focused training in molecular biology, statistical analysis, and criminal justice to build exactly the type of candidate most in demand in forensic science today.

 

University of Montana
College of Humanities and Sciences
Missoula, Montana
Website

Master of Arts in Anthropology – Forensic and Biological Anthropology Option

Semester Credits: 30

Estimated Program Cost: $19,830

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by NWCCU

  • Offers three different finishing options: a thesis track, professional paper track, or a portfolio track to give you maximum flexibility in how to structure your degree to fill your professional needs

Anthropological forensics is one of the most specialized aspects of the forensic sciences, and to truly become an expert in it, finding a degree that has the right focus and the right instructors is key. The MA in Anthropology at UM hits all the right topics in archaeology, human skeletal biology, human variation, and forensic anthropology to give you the unique knowledge base you need to get started in this field. Graduation track options that allow you to pursue either a thesis, publishing an extensively analyzed case report or research paper, or developing an extensive portfolio of coursework lets you customize the program to fit your interests and career goals.

 

Rutgers–Camden
Department of Chemistry
Camden, New Jersey
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

  • Toxicology
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Biology

Semester Credits: 49

Estimated Program Cost: $33,255

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • Unique learning abroad opportunities have recently taken students to forensics labs in the United Kingdom to see how international forensic scientists work
  • Learn in industry-grade chemical and biological laboratories with extensive analytical equipment to support nearly any student project, including taphonomy and forensic bio-analytics
  • Vast network throughout the forensic science community results in research options in all the major sub-disciplines of the field

Rutgers-Camden allows you to develop expertise in almost any aspect of the forensic sciences, offering specialized tracks in Toxicology, Forensic Chemistry and Forensic Biology, and maintaining an extensive network of partnerships with crime labs and professional forensic scientists with specialized expertise in these areas. You’ll learn through active, hands-on experiences that will put you in the driver’s seat working with the latest in forensic technology and techniques. A capstone project course allows you to engage in original research of your own, with support and guidance from practicing forensic professionals. The same broad network helps improve your employment prospects considerably after graduation.

 

University of the Southwest
College of Arts & Sciences
Hobbs, New Mexico
Website

Master of Science in Biology – Forensic Science Specialization

Semester Credits: 30

Estimated Program Cost: $18,750

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by HLC

  • Program includes optional course sequences that can earn you certificates in both Forensic Communications and Genetics
  • Up to 6 hours of credit may be granted for prior industry experience, providing a leg up for current forensics professionals

Biological sciences form the basis for many modern forensic detection and analysis techniques, so starting off with a strong background in the basic elements of biology is essential. That’s exactly what you’ll get with the University of the Southwest MS in Biology – Forensic Science Specialization. This master’s program provides training in key aspects of forensic science stacked on top of a course of study in advanced biology to provide an education that will qualify you for the most advanced positions in DNA analysis, forensic autopsy analysis, and other lab-based forensic science positions.

 

State University of New York – Buffalo State
Chemistry Department
Buffalo, New York
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 30

Estimated Program Cost: $14,130

In-state tuition $3,252 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • Adjunct faculty members for the program are drawn from active, working professionals working in local and regional police labs as toxicologists, directors, and supervisors
  • School hosts a local chapter of AAFS for additional learning and networking opportunities

If you’re interested in a comprehensive overview of forensic science disciplines and practices at an extremely affordable price, then Buffalo State – SUNY is definitely right up your alley. Taking current theory and practices from a classroom environment and into modern forensic laboratories, the program covers both theoretical and practical aspects of forensic investigations under the close supervision of active, working scientists at regional crime labs. With everything from forensic molecular biology and genetics to x-ray crystallography on the menu, they will show you how advanced technologies are actually used in the field to investigate crimes and build air-tight cases.

 

Pace University 
Dyson College of Arts and Sciences
New York, New York
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 40

Estimated Program Cost: $51,400

$4,613 LESS than the state average for forensic programs at private universities.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • Courses taught in laboratories with similar instrumentation to those you will encounter in professional environments
  • Professors who currently work in the field often use their own experiences as case studies for students, offering real-world challenges
  • Faculty also maintain full-time affiliations with major local and federal law enforcement forensic laboratories, bringing fresh experience and the latest techniques to the classroom

Fully-equipped laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment ensure you graduate from the Pace MSFS ready to work in any modern crime lab. With a dedicated DNA sequencing lab on campus and other specialized labs with virtual crime scene reconstruction software and forensic microscopy, you’ll be well ahead of the curve as a graduate of this program. Professors who are currently employed in some of the busiest and most respected crime labs in the country bring their own experience and skills to the classroom as well, ensuring you are well-versed in the current techniques and processes being used in the field. The program has a STEM designation which means it’s heavy on core science skills that hiring lab directors love. Connections with NYPD, the DEA, and New York City medical examiner’s office offer plenty of networking opportunities as you start the job hunt after graduation.

 

Bowling Green University
Forensic Science Department
Bowling Green, Ohio
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

  • Forensic Biology
  • Forensic Chemistry

Semester Credits: 36

Estimated Program Cost: $16,034

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by HLC

  • World-class Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation crime laboratory and investigation facility is located on the main campus, offering opportunities to collaborate with real-world practitioners
  • The Center for the Future of Forensic Science supports research leading to new methods for processing and analyzing evidence, with student participation encouraged
  • The Forensic Science Institute of Ohio is also located on campus, allowing networking and additional educational opportunities between students and active professionals

As a student of the Bowling Green MSFS program you’ll have access to unique interactive learning environments through partnerships with the state of Ohio and the research programs of the Center for the Future of Forensic Science. This network of industry partners offers unparalleled experiential learning opportunities. You’ll have the opportunity to take part in groundbreaking research alongside thought-leaders in the field of forensic science, while working closely with active forensic scientists solving real-world crimes in the official Ohio state crime lab on campus. Whether you choose to specialize in biology, with advanced DNA and blood analysis skills, or in forensic chemistry by diving into toxicology and controlled substance identification, you’ll graduate from BGSU equipped with the right skillset to step into a position at any lab in the country.

 

Oklahoma State University
School of Forensic Sciences
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

  • Arson, Explosives, Firearms, and Toolmarks
  • Forensic Biology/DNA
  • Forensic Chemistry/Toxicology
  • Forensic Investigative Sciences
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Forensic Science Administration

Doctor of Forensic Sciences

  • Arson, Explosives, Firearms, and Toolmarks
  • Forensic Biology/DNA
  • Forensic Chemistry/Toxicology
  • Forensic Investigative Sciences
  • Forensic Psychology

Semester Credits: 39

Estimated Program Cost: $9,988

In-state tuition $755 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by HLC

  • School houses the Human Identity Testing Lab, Forensic Toxicology and Trace Lab, and the Center for Fire & Explosives, Forensic Investigation, Training and Research which support federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies
  • Online programs available in some specializations; individual online courses (hybrid) available for most
  • Unique Creative Experience requirement fills in for a thesis option in the arson and administration specializations, allowing you to fulfill your completion requirements with a public presentation and Q&A session

With a host of unique specializations available, the OSU MSFS program is the right place to be when you want a highly-specific, in-depth course of instruction at an extremely affordable price. With standard biological and chemical specialization options along with an arson and explosives track, a forensic psychology track, and a focus in forensic science administration, you can drill down to the exact topics that best align with your career goals. If none of those quite line up, the hybrid forensics investigative sciences track allows you to tailor make a specialization from electives with the help of an advisor for a purpose-built degree plan that exactly matches your professional aspirations.

 

Temple University
College of Science and Technology
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Website

Professional Science Master’s in Forensic Chemistry

Semester Credits: 32

Estimated Program Cost: $37,088

In-state tuition $1,464 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • Preparation for a wide variety of roles in both public and private sectors, from criminal investigation to research to homeland security
  • Annual seminars facilitated by leaders in the field bring up-to-date news of the latest developments to students here
  • Both an internship and independent study project are required to graduate, ensuring you have both practical and academic experience under your belt
  • On-campus, modular forensic chemistry laboratory has all the right equipment and hosts many of the program’s classes
  • Temple University Forensics Association offers students additional field trips and professional networking opportunities
  • Study abroad opportunities available in China, Germany, Italy, South Korea, or Taiwan
  • Full or part-time attendance options

At the chemistry-focused Temple University PSM program you will develop a portfolio of knowledge and experience through a strong grounding in essential analytical methodologies. While developing a basic theoretical understanding of the major concepts of forensic chemistry, you’ll get practical, hands-on training in the up-to-date and modular forensic chemistry lab. The program is designed to boost your career prospects, whether that means through a promotion or by securing a position with a new employer after graduation. A course in leadership, law, and ethics helps drive home the unique responsibilities forensic scientists have, giving you the right grounding and perspective to become a leader in the field.

 

DeSales University
Department of Social Sciences
Center Valley, Pennsylvania
Website

Master of Criminal Justice – Investigative Forensics Concentration

Semester Credits: 30

Estimated Program Cost: $23,250

$21,073 LESS than the state average for forensic programs at private universities.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • All courses are taken 100 percent online and can be taken full or part-time to fit your busy schedule
  • Active law-enforcement officers are eligible to receive a 20 percent discount on tuition
  • Advanced Blackboard Learn LMS keeps you on track with your own coursework while keeping you in close collaboration with classmates and instructors

The DeSales MCJ is squarely focused on violent crimes, putting graduates in a position to help bring offenders to justice and contribute to solving the most devastating types of crimes afflicting society. With a curriculum consisting of courses in forensic psychology and advanced criminology, as a student of the DeSales MCJ – Investigative Forensics Concentration you’ll learn both the theoretical and practical elements of forensics practices. That instruction will come from some of the best minds in the field, including nationally-recognized professionals who draw from their own experiences in real-world cases.

 

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Medicine

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences – Forensic Biology Concentration

Semester Credits: 40

Estimated Program Cost: $36,440

$7,883 LESS than the state average for forensic programs at private universities.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • Unique hybrid program prioritizes both face-to-face learning and flexibility with one weekend per month in the classroom for the first year, followed by a year of online coursework
  • Capstone project secures and consolidates the knowledge you gain from the program
  • Online Pathway Program option provides a route into the MSFS degree for students with a non-science background
  • Forensic biology program is the only one in the country developed and overseen by a board-certified forensic pathologist

Whether you plan to specialize in forensic biology or are more comfortable with a broad-spectrum MS in Forensic Science, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has the expertise on tap to make sure you are getting the best possible education in the field – and at a reasonable price too. From research design and methodology to legal and evidentiary procedures, you’ll get all the ancillary knowledge you need to become a skilled investigator and level-headed expert witness. You’ll also get the essentials of forensic analysis you need to develop the evidence and build a strong case in the first place. A unique Pathway summer preparation program gives students with non-science backgrounds an opportunity to get up to speed before entering the main program, opening the field up to students with backgrounds in business, law enforcement, and other professions.

 

Cedar Crest College
School of Adult and Graduate Education
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 49

Estimated Program Cost: $41,601

$2,722 LESS than the state average for forensic programs at private institutions.

Accredited by MSCHE

  • Program is fully accredited by FEPAC
  • Learning takes place in state-of-the-art laboratories with all the major analytical equipment found in major crime labs across the country
  • Faculty have a combined 75 years of experience in the field and regularly publish in peer-reviewed journals and present at forensics conferences
  • Schoolwide job placement rate of 95% among graduates
  • The Forensic Science Student Organization offers networking and training opportunities outside the classroom

From a core of theoretical and practical training in the essential elements of criminalistics, you’ll not only learn all the practical aspects of forensic science but also take part in meaningful research during your time at Cedar Crest. Since the faculty here are active in the field and frequently testify as expert witnesses, you’ll graduate from this program well prepared for courtroom testimony and to present evidence to build and sustain criminal cases. Leadership is an emphasis here alongside research, helping graduates climb to new heights in forensic labs around the region and around the country.

 

University of Tennessee
College of Veterinary Medicine
Knoxville, Tennessee
Website

Master of Science in Comparative and Experimental Medicine – Forensic Odontology Concentration

Semester Credits: 33

Estimated Program Cost: $20,070

The only master’s-level program in the state with a forensic lab science focus.

Accredited by SACSCOC

  • First master’s degree of its kind in the U.S.
  • Twice-monthly lab experience at the Knox County Medical Examiner’s Office–East Tennessee Regional Forensic Center provides exposure to real-world casework
  • College-run Body Farm decomposition facility offers direct research opportunities
  • Thesis or capstone project completion options

While it’s common knowledge that identification of human remains from dental records is practiced regularly in forensic science, most people don’t recognize how few experts there are in that specialty. The Forensic Odontology concentration at University of Tennessee aims to change that by producing new graduates with expertise in the search, recovery, and identification of cadavers, and the identification of both human and non-human bite marks in autopsy examinations. You’ll examine remains in all states of decomposition, thanks to the university Body Farm, and learn how to recognize the effects of different thermal and hydrological conditions on maxiofacial structures.

 

Sam Houston State University
Department of Forensic Science
Huntsville, Texas
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 44

Estimated Program Cost: $14,091 (PhD $41,752)

In-state tuition $2,606 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by SACSCOC

  • MSFS degree is a FEPAC-accredited program
  • Offers a multi-discipline approach with a rigorous core curriculum, the first of its kind in Texas
  • A flexible curriculum structure allows students to tailor their degree plan toward individual professional and career goals
  • Better than 90% job placement rate among graduates, who go on to work in forensic science laboratories and research positions nationwide
  • The Applied Anatomical Research Center is one of only a few voluntary body donor facilities, and offers unparalleled access to cadavers for research and study
  • The Institute for Forensic Research Training and Innovation promotes academic-industrial partnerships that expose you to promising research as well as active professionals in the field

Sam Houston is a national center for forensic studies, and students in both the master’s and doctoral programs there benefit from the concentration of resources, expertise, and opportunities that come with the position. The IFRTI delivers a collaborative, interdisciplinary, relevant resource for participating national and regional forensic laboratories that also serves students looking for exposure to and experience with real-world forensic cases. Partnerships with agencies like the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have yielded both research funding, and breakthroughs in the research conducted. You gain the advantage of being able to work with and learn from the minds behind those breakthroughs, while getting training in advanced instrumentation for spectroscopy, DNA analysis, chromatography and spectrometry among others.

 

Texas Tech University
Department of Environmental Toxicology
Lubbock, Texas
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Investigation

Semester Credits: 45

Estimated Program Cost: $14,310

In-state tuition $2,387 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by SACSCOC

  • The Institute for Forensic Science provides education, research, and training opportunities that involve supporting local law enforcement while giving students real-world exposure and forensic research options
  • Forensic investigation track offers courses on victimology, serial crime, and profiling

Options for both general forensic science analysts and forensic chemistry  specialists are on offer at Texas Tech. Both tracks are backed up by essential core courses in the fundamentals of the field along with key ancillary information such as crime scene investigations. A thesis requirement is included in the forensic chemistry track, while the forensic investigation option involves a required internship placement, both developing the relevant and critical hands-on skills required to succeed in real-world crime labs.

 

George Mason University
College of Science
Fairfax, Virginia
Website

Master of Science in Forensic Science

  • Forensic Biology Analysis
  • Forensic Chemistry Analysis
  • Forensic/Biometric Identity Analysis

Semester Credits: 36

Estimated Program Cost: $21,816

In-state tuition $1,710 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Many instructors are active professionals working in the field, bringing their skills and experiences to the classroom
  • AAFS-based curriculum standards
  • Graduates have had success obtaining forensic science positions in federal, state, local, and private crime labs
  • Internship placements are available with federal, state, and local investigative agencies
  • Accelerated degree option available to students who have completed between 75 and 100 credits of a BS in Forensic Science

Extensive lab practice, high-tech facilities and instrumentation, and faculty with a comprehensive background in criminal justice and the investigative process form the basis of this low-cost, high-quality program in forensic science. The George Mason University College of Science offers chemistry, biology, and identity analysis tracks on the hard science side of the table, as well as a CSI concentration for field investigators. That ensures you get a blend of perspectives on evidence gathering and analysis that most programs can’t cover. A capstone moot court course puts you on the stand to learn how to present your findings successfully in front of judges and juries, ensuring you get results from the hard work you put in at the lab.

 

West Virginia University
Department of Forensic and Investigative Science
Morgantown, West Virginia
Website

Master of Science in Forensic and Investigative Science

Doctor of Philosophy in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 40

Estimated Program Cost: $17,640 ($34,300 for doctoral program)

In-state tuition $2,090 LESS than the state average for similar programs.

Accredited by HLC

  • FEPAC-accredited program
  • Degree shares aspects of a professional degree while incorporating a strong research component
  • An independent research project and thesis requirement strengthens your skills in the laboratory as well as critical thinking processes
  • Doctoral path is only the second such program in the United States

A quantitative, rigorous, science-based approach with a focus on research is part of what makes WVU qualified to deliver not only a first-rate master’s program in forensic science, but also one of the few doctoral programs in the country in the subject. State-of-the-art instrumentation and laboratory facilities back up your training in microscopy, trace evidence identification and analysis, and pattern evidence. Recognizing that the advanced training you receive will help make you a natural fit for leadership roles in crime labs, the program also brings in laboratory management training to teach you techniques for dealing with an ever-increasing workload in the modern forensics lab.