Editor’s Choice: Top Picks for the Best Associate’s and Bachelor’s Programs in CSI and Forensic Science

The real-world demands for professionals skilled in forensic investigations has never been higher… the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that positions in the field will increase by 14% over the next decade, a rate that far outpaces the average for all other professions. At the same time, interest in the field has been spurred by all the hit documentary series and TV shows that have raised the profile of crime scene investigators and forensic scientists, giving them an almost legendary status is the eyes of the public.

Even if the work they perform is the stuff of legends, it’s a field that centers on hard science and that has no time for fiction. With new technology pushing the field further all the time, a college education is the only way you’ll qualify to lend your talents in one of these roles to a law enforcement agency or crime lab. Whether you’re using advanced GPS measurements to map crime scenes, calculating ballistic trajectories, or breaking down trace evidence with the latest DNA analysis techniques, you are going to need some pretty elite skills to get on the team in this field.

Associate’s and bachelor’s programs legitimately offer two distinct levels of career preparation, different in both the depth and breadth of the course content they offer and the experiential learning built into the curriculum. But since they share a common entry-point for high school grads with a limited work history, the two options are both worth weighing carefully with your career goals in mind.

A quality associate’s program gives you options for building a forensics career, whether it’s taking a crime scene or lab technician job right after you graduate, or using the credits to transfer to a bachelor’s program as a way to further your knowledge and skills… If you step in at the bachelor’s level, you’ll get a high level of training and preparation that any employer is going to respect, while also opening the door to the possibility of more specialized training with a master’s degree.

There are compelling arguments for both options, and a lot to consider in terms of cost, time and advanced study options before you make a final decision. Though we can’t tell you to enroll in a two-year program or go all-in with a four-year degree, what we can do is present you with the very best options in both categories.

A Short-List of Programs We Feel Have It All

With all the competition out there, identifying the best programs isn’t something that comes easy. And when you’re new to the field it can be difficult to even know exactly what it is that makes one program better than another. Helping prospective students like you make that determination is exactly what we’re here to do.

So we took the time to do a careful review of all the associate’s programs offered at accredited community colleges, private vocational schools and other two-year institutions, and bachelor’ programs offered at both state schools and private colleges and universities. In the process, we identified the things we have come to believe are the most important for undergraduates looking to take the first step toward their career goals; things like faculty experience, training facilities and technologically advanced lab equipment, as well as opportunities for meaningful hands-on experiential learning exercises with actual professionals working in the field.

In the end, we were able to nail down a very short list of what we feel are the top CSI and forensic science undergraduate programs in the country. Since we provide a very limited selection of schools here, just 13 total offering associate’s and 43 offering bachelor’s, this isn’t intended to be a guide that will provide students in every state with an option to choose from. Instead, this list is meant to showcase the very best of the best, an elite few that provide strong examples of the kinds of things you should be looking for in the undergraduate programs offered in your area.

If you live in proximity to one of these programs, look no further … and if you don’t see a program in your area listed here, look for schools that offer similar features and that show just as deep a commitment to creating an exceptional learning experience for every student.

Featured Programs:
Sponsored School
Strayer University Request Info
Selected Program:
  • Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
Utica College Request Info
Selected Program:
  • Online Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice
Michigan State University Request Info
Selected Program:
  • Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Should You Earn Your Undergraduate Degree in CSI or Forensic Science?

There isn’t a real simple answer to that question. It really comes down to exactly what your career goals might be, and even once you have that figured out, you’ll need to look at how the schools in your area structure their programs so you can be sure they align with those goals.

Generally speaking…

  • Crime Scene Investigation degrees offer more emphasis on evidence collection, documentation, and preservation. Students learn how to use advanced GIS and forensic photography technologies to model scenes and recreate crimes, analyze blood spatters, collect fingerprints and trace evidence, and learn about chain of custody considerations.
  • Forensic Science degrees focus on lab-based processing and analysis of forensic evidence, as well as training in lab instruments and equipment. More hard science is taught, with the basics of biology, chemistry, and anthropology serving as a basis for detailed toxicological, DNA, and remains identification and analysis.

Do you see yourself peering into a microscope in a clean, well-lit lab, performing chemical analyses and matching trace evidence samples? If so, a program in forensic science is going to be best aligned with those goals… Or do you envision yourself stepping carefully through a still-smoky crime scene only hours after it all went down, carefully lifting prints and digging lead out of walls? If that’s the kind of work that speaks to you, a CSI program is likely to be the right fit for you.

The rules aren’t hard and fast, though. Some programs give equal weight to both aspects, which typically reflects how the forensics teams within the law enforcement agencies in those areas are structured. In some parts of the country, law enforcement agencies employ technicians who fill both roles, so in those areas the degree programs often give equal attention to in-the-field CSI skills and forensic lab work to meet the demands of those agencies.

Increasingly, however, the amount of specialization that each role requires means that agencies hiring to fill those positions more often look for candidates with a more focused degree and specialized training.

For that reason, it still makes sense to put CSI and forensic science undergraduate degrees into separate categories:

How Undergraduate Degrees in CSI and Forensic Science are Structured

Almost all undergraduate programs in CSI or forensic science are hard science degrees, so you can expect just about all the associate’s programs to be structured as either Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees, while bachelor’s degrees are typically going to be a Bachelor of Science (BS).

The difference between these degree titles is an important one that may be relevant to your goals:

  • Associate and Bachelor of Science – AS and BS degrees deliver the right scientific and technical training to qualify you for technical positions, while still including a liberal arts foundation.

When we’re talking about AS degrees specifically, they are typically designed to make it easy to transfer your credits to a bachelor’s program at any point, and often even have agreements in place with local colleges and universities to make the transfer process even more streamlined. Transferability of credits is the key difference between AS and AAS programs, so if you think you may be going on to earn a bachelor’s at some point, you could set yourself up to make the process easier with an Associate of Science program.

When it comes to credits earned in a BS being transferrable to a master’s, there isn’t anything to worry about. All credits earned at the bachelor’s level are equally easy to transfer to a master’s, especially one offered at the same school you attended for your bachelor’s.

  • Applied Science Degrees – Associate of Applied Science programs, unless otherwise labeled with specific transfer agreements, are generally almost exclusively focused on the technical education required to land a job in the field. They are more traditionally considered technical or vocational degrees since the key focus of these programs is career training and job readiness, not transferability of credits. For this reason, the credits you earn are less likely to be recognized by four-year schools that offer bachelor’s in CSI and forensic science. If you don’t plan to go on to earn a bachelor’s, an Associate of Applied Science is generally your best bet. Even so, the core science credits you earn in an AAS forensic science program may be robust enough that they could be transferred to a bachelor’s in forensic science, even if other credits earned in the program may not.

Although you need to think about future education plans when selecting one or the other, you don’t need to worry about your job prospects—either degree will qualify you for work in the eyes of any employer in the field.

Within each of those categories, you will find specific specializations reflected in degree titles that include:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Anthropology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Science
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Justice Administration

How Important is Accreditation for Undergraduate CSI and Forensic Science Degrees?

Accreditation is a big deal. In fact, it’s important enough that the only programs we even looked at were the ones housed at accredited schools.

Basic institutional accreditation is a universal standard that every student should expect, but it’s still important to verify. Any school worth its salt will hold accreditation from one of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE):

  • 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)
  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJ)

Earning that accreditation means that these schools have jumped through a rigorous set of hoops in a multi-stage, multi-year process that requires them to assemble mountains of documentation, submit to interviews and reviews, and undergo on-site evaluations from strict auditors.

That means each of them have gone under the microscope and been found to have:

  • Quality instructor selection and evaluation processes
  • Ethical recruiting and advertising standards
  • Adequate administrative and funding support
  • Modern learning facilities and lab resources
  • Solid academic and curriculum development standards

Accreditation was just the first hurdle these programs had to clear. By starting our analyses with only accredited schools, we could feel confident that baseline quality standards were firmly in place… we then began the real work of identifying the very best of the best.

Picking the Best Undergraduate Degrees in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation

We didn’t expect programs to fit a mold in order to meet our requirements for being considered the best. For many of these programs, certain strengths come from unique elements that aren’t found in any other program. Whether it’s key research efforts, courses in subjects that are hard to find anywhere else, or studies in unique branches of forensic science like bioethics considerations in DNA analysis, you’ll find something special in every program on these lists.

In the end, to find you the very best associate’s and bachelor’s degree in CSI and forensic science in the country, we scrutinized three key factors that allowed us to narrow it down to a select few.

World Class Instructors with Real-World Experience

Forensics is a constantly changing field that advances with the speed of technology. It’s also a field where the scientific method and certain tried and tested strategies have been in place for decades. That means a vast range of know-how and experience is respected in the field.

An instructor fresh out of an internship and versed in the state-of-the-art in crime scene and lab technology most certainly has a lot to offer, but might not be able to provide experience-based context for how the technology will be used. On the other hand, an experienced investigator who has helped clear hundreds of cases, who currently works in the field, and who is respected as a consultant and contributor of research and literature, can provide valuable insights based on decades of experience that you just can’t get anywhere else.

The key is to find a school that values both of these instructor profiles, making sure students learn under the guidance of professors that are masters of their individual domains. In an exceptional program with the best instructors, you can expect to learn the technological aspects of the job from professors that live and breathe technology, core sciences from instructors with a stack of degrees and research credits in the field, and specialty courses in forensics from instructors currently working with law enforcement to solve active cases.

When you get your education from instructors that fit these descriptions, you come out better equipped to deal with real-life challenges and actual criminal cases.

Meaningful Experiential Learning

Along the same lines, we looked for programs that have partnerships with law enforcement agencies with crime labs as well as larger multi-agency state and regional forensics labs. If a school is good enough to earn the trust of the law enforcement and forensics community, it’s definitely one that deserves a second look.

Partnerships like this not only serve as a stamp of quality, they also provide a direct channel for high-quality practicums and internship opportunities. Experiential learning like this is your chance to get out and investigate the messy reality of crime as it actually happens. You’ll get exposure to the latest technology in the field working side-by-side with skilled professionals who use the equipment in active crime scenes and labs every day.

These are the things we feel makes for the most meaningful practical training possible, giving you invaluable experience performing under pressure to process evidence for real cases with real stakes.

State-of-the-Art Laboratories and Innovative Training Facilities

Of course, you are going to have the best student experience when you are learning in a program that has the resources to put together a fully-equipped crime lab with the latest instrumentation and technology, along with lifelike simulations and other training environments. The very best schools offer elaborate and highly realistic mock-ups of crime scenes to recreate different scenarios, allowing you to gain expertise processing cars, houses, and outdoor areas. In some cases, top schools even offer real-world training that goes beyond simulations with long-term body farms.

Schools with the most advanced labs and facilities may, in fact, serve as the local, state or regional crime lab for area law enforcement agencies. At these rare schools, you’ll have the unique benefit of being able to develop your skills in close proximity to the most skilled forensic scientists in your area as they work to develop evidence for active cases.

Training needs to align with what you’ll be encountering in the real world. You need to be trained in lifelike environments to use the latest in high-tech crime scene processing and laboratory equipment if you’re going to be competent, confident and ready once you get out in the field. Whether it’s fully functional crime labs or meticulously reconstructed crime houses, the best programs give you what you need to learn the ropes and master the tools of the trade.

Editor’s Picks for the Best Associates’ Programs in Crime Scene Investigation for 2020-21

 

St. Petersburg College
St. Petersburg, Florida
Website

Associate of Science in Crime Scene Technology

Semester Credits: 60
Estimated Program Cost: $6,720 (resident)
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Program is available entirely online as well as in a traditional classroom format
  • Students are offered the chance to participate in moot court exercises to develop testimony skills
  • Mock crime scene exercises allow you to hone your evidence-gathering techniques in simulated scenarios
  • The AS degree at St. Petersburg can transfer directly to the college’s bachelor’s in Public Safety Administration
  • One of the first regionally accredited colleges in the U.S. to offer an AS in crime scene technology

The St. Petersburg Crime Scene Technology program gives you the ultimate in flexibility, both in terms of scheduling by offering an online option, and in terms of educational advancement by making it easy to transfer your credits into the school’s bachelor’s in Public Safety Administration. Even if you don’t plan to go on to a bachelor’s program or further, you’ll still be able to take the strong technical education you receive in crime scene photography, latent print development, biological evidence collection, and crime scene safety to secure a job with a law enforcement crime lab as soon as you graduate.

 

Keiser University
West Palm Beach, Florida
Website

Associate of Science in Crime Scene Technology

Semester Credits: 60
Estimated Program Cost: $39,616
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Program is offered at an astounding 11 campuses all around the state, including Orlando, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale
  • Keiser is the third largest not-for-profit university in the state, with access to all the resources necessary to offer an outstanding education in CSI
  • School ranked among the Top Regional Southern Universities of 2019 by U.S. News & World Report

You’ll build fundamental competencies in recognizing, documenting, collecting, preserving, and presenting physical evidence… which really encompasses about every major job duty you can have in CSI! Courses providing a foundational understanding of the American judicial system will help underpin your learning experience, and a full course of instruction in the principles, concepts, and fundamental techniques of field analysis equip you for either general or specialized assignment with any CSI team.

 

Herkimer College – State University of New York
Herkimer, New York
Website

Associate of Applied Science in Forensic Investigations

Semester Credits: 65
Estimated Program Cost: $9,740 (resident)
Accredited by MSCHE

  • Transfer agreements with both SUNY-affiliated colleges and private schools make it easier to take your education to the next level
  • Field training puts you in large simulated rural crime scenes, mock-up crime houses, and staged automobile processing scenes for a full variety of experiences
  • Small class sizes allow you more one-on-one time working with supportive and encouraging professors

Whether you’re interested in law enforcement evidence processing or forensic analysis in the context of private investigations, the Herkimer College AAS in Forensic Investigations will build your skills through plenty of experiential field learning and a core of criminal justice and scene-processing fundamentals. You’ll become an expert at maintaining the chain of custody and documenting evidence collection for rock-solid cases, as well as learning how to photograph, measure, and analyze scenes of all types, from isolated woodland areas to dense urban environments.

Editor’s Picks for the Best Associates’ Programs in Forensic Science for 2020-21

 

Parkland College
Champaign, Illinois
Website

Associate of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 60
Estimated Program Cost: $10,260 (resident)
Accredited by HLC

  • A course in Death Analysis dives right into the hard parts of forensics, examining firearms and ballistics, pathology, mass disaster, and motor vehicle accidents among other topics
  • Real specimens are used in many cases, including cadaver inspection and autopsy observation
  • Crime scene sampling techniques teach you where and how to look for physical evidence

As a program that is grounded in the natural sciences, the Parkland College AS in Forensic Science will provide you with a core education in biology, chemistry, physics, anthropology and more. This kind of training serves as an important foundation for the modern criminal justice standards that courts require when determining if evidence is admissible. While the scientific courses are the core of your degree plan, two specific classes in forensic science teach some of the practical applications of those skills in collecting and analyzing evidence in line with the modern standards needed to secure successful prosecutions.

 

Calumet College of Saint Joseph
Whiting, Indiana
Website

Associate of Science in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 59
Estimated Program Cost: $38,800
Accredited by HLC

  • Provides a broad-based general education that can lay the foundation for further studies, including law school
  • Pick up all the foundational theoretical knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level employment in law enforcement
  • Unique courses in cults, stalking, and serial killing dive right into the gritty aspects of forensics

With a forensic science concentration in a criminal justice program, you can expect the major focus of the AS program here at Calumet to cover the law and legal procedure in-depth, with the scientific aspects of forensic investigations coming in through the upper level concentration courses. But those classes take a broader perspective than what you would find in many forensics programs, branching out into forensic psychology and the minds of serial killers, exploring cults in America, and teaching you the elements of criminal profiling. It’s powerful stuff for an associate’s degree, and it helped make this program a clear choice for our top list.

 

Bristol Community College
Attleboro, Massachusetts
Website

Associate of Science in Life Science – Biotechnology and Forensic DNA

Semester Credits: 69
Estimated Program Cost: $14,214 (resident)
Accredited by NECHE

  • Participates in the statewide MassTransfer program to guarantee that you will gain admission and that your credits will transfer to affiliated schools
  • Several tutoring services and developmental courses can assist you through the most difficult parts of the program

Although the Bristol Community College program does not focus primarily on the criminal justice aspects of forensic investigations, or even on forensics as a whole, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better associate’s degree anywhere in the country when it comes to preparing for advanced laboratory DNA analysis. With fundamental courses in the hard sciences, including chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and cell biology, your class and lab time here all build toward shaping you into a valuable and competent lab tech with all the right skills to tease DNA information out of even the tiniest sample.

 

Wor-Wic Community College
Salisbury, Maryland
Website

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Science Technology Concentration

Semester Credits: 60
Estimated Program Cost: $7,200 (resident)
Accredited by MSCHE

  • The school’s Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy is certified by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission, ensuring that your law-enforcement courses meet the highest standards in the state
  • Offers both entry-level skills training and transfer credentials to a variety of regional universities with bachelor’s programs in forensics

You’ll graduate from the Wor-Wic AAS in CJ – Forensic Science Technology Concentration with the technical and critical thinking skills to effectively identify, collect, and process evidence and other relevant information that can be gleaned from crime scenes. Everything from organic chemistry to ethics in criminal justice are taught in this comprehensive program that puts you together with accomplished lab scientists and active law enforcement personnel. Courses in psychology and public speaking prepare you with deeper insights and communication skills for testimonial duties to go along with your hard science education.

 

Hudson Valley Community College
Troy, New York
Website

Associate of Science in Forensic Science Studies

Semester Credits: 62
Estimated Program Cost: $9,600 (resident)
Accredited by MSCHE

  • Many graduates find employment at the New York State Police Forensic Investigations Center
  • The program enjoys dedicated laboratory facilities on campus
  • Recent graduates have continued their forensics educations at prestigious universities like the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the College of Saint Rose, and the University of Albany.
  • The Criminal Justice Jump Start program kicks off every fall and helps build a foundation for success in college
  • Award-winning faculty have received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, while others serve as advisers for the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Association

The Hudson Valley Community College AS in Forensic Science Studies serves equally well as preparation for direct-entry into the field as a forensic lab technician as it does as a relatively inexpensive transfer degree for students with ambitions of earning a bachelor’s or higher degree in the field. With a strong lab education forged in dedicated forensic facilities on campus, you’ll have the command of scientific principles you need to analyze and assess physical evidence. Analytical skills are taught in tandem with research and reasoning skills, offering a chance to develop and hone the mindset that makes for a successful forensic investigator.

 

Queensborough Community College
Bayside, New York
Website

Associate of Science for Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 60
Estimated Program Cost: $9,600 (resident)
Accredited by MSCHE

  • Program is orchestrated through the CUNY Criminal Justice Academy to facilitate transfers to the prestigious John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with guaranteed acceptance
  • Study advanced courses in organic chemistry, general biology, calculus, physics, and geometry
  • Enjoy access to John Jay Career Development Services for job search and placement
  • Take advantage of internship opportunities and student clubs at John Jay

While you will get a robust general education at Queensborough Community College as part of your forensic science studies, the highest goal of the program here is to prepare every student to transition to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Not only does this one-of-a-kind collaboration mean that your associate’s degree guarantees you’ll be accepted to the four-year forensics program, but you will receive access to many of the resources and advantages that the larger school has to offer even before completing your associate’s program. Take part in student clubs for extracurricular activities, or land an internship for real-world practical experience, all while gearing up for a bachelor’s completion program that will have you earning your four-year degree at a fraction of the cost.

 

Westmoreland County Community College
Smithton, Pennsylvania
Website

Associate of Applied Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 65
Estimated Program Cost: $8,645 (resident)
Accredited by MSCHE

  • Study online through courses scheduled with your time and convenience in mind
  • Study at the Westmoreland Public Safety Training Center as you rub elbows with local first responders
  • Program offers external laboratory internships to deliver first-hand experience in real-world laboratories
  • Courses are taught using real scenarios based on actual cases and materials

The reality of forensic science investigation is driven home in this gritty, practical program that emphasizes real-world materials and cases. As a student of the Westmoreland County Community College AAS in Forensic Science, you can forget all about the glamor of media portrayals of forensic science in action. The kind of unflinching focus on the realities of the work and nuts and bolts training you’ll get at Westmoreland means you’ll be well prepared for all the challenges the job will throw at you. Your course materials are built from actual forensic cases and materials from a variety of sources, while outside internships are offered to get you working hands-on with active cases and learning from current professionals in the field.

 

Western Texas College
Snyder, Texas
Website

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology – Forensic Science Track

Semester Credits: 60
Estimated Program Cost: $5,580 (resident)
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Multidisciplinary and comparative social science training offers graduates of this program an edge in and out of the laboratory
  • A specialized active-learning method called Project Based Learning offers a consistently hands-on approach at WTC
  • Intellectual and ethical development are combined with an appreciation for the complexities of crime to make sure that no detail is overlooked in the investigative process

The unique Project Based Learning approach offered through the Western Texas College AAS in Criminal Justice Technology – Forensic Science Track gives you a single, tangible, complex question, problem, or challenge to engage with in each and every class. It’s a unique approach that crystalizes theory into hard-won knowledge. This process allows you to sink your teeth into some of the practical challenges of forensic investigation to give you a real-world education that other programs often lack.

 

New River Community College
Dublin, Virginia
Website

Associate of Applied Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 66
Estimated Program Cost: $10,164 (resident)
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Explore forensic studies in one of the most extensive, modern analytical laboratories found at any community college in the United States
  • Study advanced criminalistics in addition to ballistics, tool mark, and impression analysis
  • Offers the ability to easily transfer to a four-year degree or earn a place directly in a crime lab as an evidence technician

New River’s advanced lab facilities give you the opportunity to master analytical skills on high-tech equipment that few other community colleges can offer. Whether it’s using the on-campus ballistics capture system, gas-liquid chromatograph, or spectrophotometer, you’ll be practicing on the same type of instrumentation that active crime labs use every day. The hard sciences focus here gives you a leg up in job searches, while preparing you for the move to a four-year degree program if you plan to continue your education.

 

Green River College
Auburn, Washington
Website

Associate of Applied Science in Forensic Technology

Quarter Credits: 122
Estimated Program Cost: $13,452 (resident)
Accredited by NWCCU

  • Learn from expert criminalists with decades of real-world experience under their belts
  • Graduates find employment in local, county, state, and federal crime labs, or go on to four-year degree programs
  • Quarterly advising sessions help you keep your studies on track to ensure you reach your career goals
  • Students are encouraged to join the Criminal Justice Club for additional networking and learning opportunities

An innovative program at a school that shares its name with one of the most famous forensic science cases of all time, the Green River AAS in Forensic Technology stands on its own as one of the best of its kind in the West. You’ll be trained in the same kind of DNA analysis that it took to catch Gary Ridgway, along with other essential aspects of trace evidence analysis, toxicology, and serology. With extensive coursework in the hard sciences, you get the formal training in lab skills and analysis you need to succeed either as an evidence technician going straight to the lab, or a student moving up the ladder to a four-year degree program.

Editor’s Picks for the Best Bachelor’s Programs in Crime Scene Investigation for 2020-21

 

Florida State University – Panama City
Department of Public Safety & Security
Panama City, Florida
Website

Bachelor of Science in Crime Scene Investigation

  • Minor in Underwater Crime Scene Investigation

Semester Credits: 120/132
Estimated Program Cost: $21,659/$23,760 (in-state)
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • An underwater crime scene investigation minor option offers a unique skillset to investigators trained at FSU Panama City
  • School ranked #18 among Best Public Universities for 2020 by U.S. News & World Report
  • Lectures are offered both on-campus and online for a hybrid program that allows enormous flexibility in scheduling and class attendance

An already superb course of training in the details and applications of on-site crime scene investigation offered at FSU Panama City is thrown into high-gear by the opportunity to add on a certificate in underwater forensic research and investigations. Taking the school’s problem-solving and critical-thinking approach to teaching crime scene investigation and documentation skills and putting a set of SCUBA tanks on it makes this a unique and practical program. Not only does it teach the essentials of trace evidence detection, scene analysis, and other key CSI techniques, but it also adds the principles of hyperbaric science diving, the effects of the underwater environment on evidence, and special techniques needed to recover and preserve evidence lifted from the bottom of oceans, lakes, and rivers. You’ll earn dive certifications along the way, making you job-ready for any CSI team.

 

Lewis University
College of Education and Social Sciences
Romeoville, Illinois
Website

Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Criminal Investigation

Semester Credits: 128
Estimated Program Cost: $133,080
Accredited by HLC

  • Experienced faculty have real-world experience and current connections in the criminal justice system
  • An ever-evolving curriculum is designed to offer the most current techniques and up-to-date technology for crime scene detection and collection
  • Small class sizes lead to a dynamic learning environment and plenty of one-to-one interaction with instructors
  • A bachelor’s-to-master’s option can put you on the fast track to a MSCSJ at Lewis

The Lewis University BA in Forensic Criminal Investigation is aimed squarely at investigators preparing to work in the field as crime scene technicians who work to collect, secure, and preserve physical evidence to help solve crimes. Although you will get a full measure of straight science courses to build your background knowledge, including in biology, organic biochemistry and basic laboratory physics, the real focus here is on the job at the scene of the crime: criminal procedure, evidence collection, protection, and preservation to deliver physical evidence that’s ready for analysis and eventual presentation in court. Experienced instructors who have worked in the field and maintain strong connections are accessible and helpful at every step of your education at Lewis.

 

Indiana Institute of Technology
College of Arts and Sciences
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Website

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Crime Analysis Concentration

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $107,960
Accredited by HLC

  • Heavily technology-driven courses that put you hands-on with industry-standard software including mapping and reporting programs
  • Collaboration and interaction with classmates and faculty members ensure you absorb the material being presented
  • Networking and relationship building are fostered by faculty with years of experience and many contacts in their fields
  • Graduates have earned positions with the FBI, Indiana State Police, DNR, and the Fort Wayne Police Department
  • Internship opportunities available with the FBI, DHS, and Indiana and Michigan state police crime labs

The curriculum here blends criminological theory and experience with highly technical analytical techniques that will help you break down any crime scene using some of the latest tools and software for the task. An emphasis on the psychological motivations of criminal behavior will help drive your assessments, giving you a big-picture perspective on criminal analysis that will prepare you for any type of specialty or posting in CSI. In fact, with the professional ethics, leadership skills, and perspective you’ll gain through this program, you’ll be equipped not only to process scenes, but to get ahead of the curve to devise solutions to crime in general and formulate crime prevention strategies.

 

Bay Path University
Residential College
Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Website

Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies – Forensic Studies

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $143,124
Accredited by NECHE

  • All-women university ensures a safe and supportive learning environment for students
  • Internship sites include Partners in Scientific Inquiry, NCIS, and the MSP Crime Lab Office of Alcohol Testing
  • Nearly 90 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students, ensuring excellent instructor/student ratios
  • ePortfolio documents your experiences and provides the basis to build your CV around after graduation

As an all-women undergraduate program, the BA in Legal Studies at Bay Path is unique in the world of CSI education, but if you qualify for entry, you can reap the benefits of this supportive, focused learning environment. With excellent professor/student ratios, one-to-one instruction is the norm, and an interdisciplinary approach to forensic investigation will prepare you with communications, ethics, and analytical skills that leave you well prepared for your career ahead. You’ll get the full range of skill training in crime scene processing, documentation, and the technologies used in the field, learning how to prepare and preserve evidence for court, and then how to present it successfully to support criminal cases.

 

Becker College
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Worcester, Massachusetts
Website

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensics in Crime Scene Processing concentration

Semester Credits: 122
Estimated Program Cost: $145,200
Accredited by NECHE

  • Study in the unique environment of the John J. Dorsey Crime Scene and Evidence Lab for complete immersion and hands-on experience
  • Learn protocols for securing crime scenes and measuring and recording details
  • Skilled professors with both academic and real-world CSI experience

With a core degree program that focuses on the structural and theoretical aspects of the American justice system, you’ll get all the education you need in law enforcement subjects like criminal law, criminal psychology, community policing, and victimology. By taking on the forensic crime scene processing concentration, you’ll also acquire a strong background in science and the technical aspects of crime scene evidence collection. Those skills are honed through hands-on experiences in the Dorsey Crime Scene and Evidence Lab, where you’ll go through simulated courses challenging you to analyze ballistics, hair and fiber trace evidence, and blood spatters. You’ll master the equipment you need to document scenes and the rules of evidence to follow to preserve and marshal data in order to successfully support court cases.

 

University of Providence
School of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Great Falls, Montana
Website

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Investigation Concentration

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $102,768
Accredited by NWCCU

  • Build your core science skills with extensive lab time not generally offered as part of CSI degree programs
  • Faculty bring their real-life work experience to the classroom to offer you a valuable perspective in real-world crime scene investigations
  • A focus on victim advocacy and restorative justice offers a unique perspective among American CSI programs

The criminal justice program at University of Providence offers a unique strength for a CSI concentration: it’s part of a minor program dedicated to forensic science, with all the hard science laboratory skills in chemistry and biology that come along with it. That allows you to build your skills in evidence collection, including blood patterns and impression evidence, on top of gaining a strong understanding of what goes on in the lab to analyze that evidence after you’ve collected it. With all the core courses in law enforcement, criminal law, and criminology that come with the core degree, that combination gives you a broad and formidable understanding of all aspects of crime scene investigation and how to support criminal prosecutions with permissible evidence.

 

Hilbert College
Criminal Justice/Forensic Science Division
Hamburg, New York
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science – Crime Scene Investigation

  • Biology Concentration</strong
  • Digital Forensics Concentration</strong

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $90,800
Accredited by MSCHE

  • Accelerated 4+1 Bachelor’s to Master’s program can fast-track your way to an advanced degree if that’s your goal
  • Professors have backgrounds working with such prestigious agencies as the FBI, New York State Police, and Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office
  • Internship opportunities available at agencies such as the Department of Defense, Ocean City PD, and Virginia Beach PD for real-world, on-the-ground forensic investigation experience
  • Over 400 hours of classroom training in forensics
  • Dedicated forensic lab and mock crime scene rooms hone your skills in realistic environments

The curriculum at this AAFS-recognized program embraces the latest in technology and practical knowledge in crime scene investigation. You’ll go from the laboratory out into the field, learning proper mechanisms of collection, chain-of-custody procedures, and documentation processes that include measurement and photography. And you’ll be learning it all from instructors with years of actual experience in the field, drawing on their own experience to prepare you for anything you might encounter. Available concentrations in biology or digital forensics can really open up your career opportunities, particularly in the high-growth field of computer crime.

 

Waynesburg University
Department of Chemistry and Forensic Science
Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
Website

Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Investigation

Semester Credits: 124
Estimated Program Cost: $98,760
Accredited by MSCHE

  • Program is housed in the Steward Science building, taught in newly renovated chemistry labs with advanced equipment
  • Curriculum and lab program have been approved by the American Chemical Society
  • Students are regularly invited to participate in high-level faculty research programs in forensics, researching topics like drug identification, arson investigation, or latent print analysis
  • Networking events via the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh and other organizations expand your professional connections
  • Campus chapter of the American Chemical Society is one of the most active in the country

A strong scientific basis undergirds the Waynesburg Forensic Investigation program’s practical approach to education in crime scene processing and evidence handling. With the full support of the American Chemical Society, you’ll get superlative training in the chemical and biological aspects of evidence analysis that will help you understand the capabilities and limitations of forensics in the field. Pattern interpretation, evidence handling, and basic elements of the criminal justice system are also woven into the program for a fully comprehensive education in forensic investigation.

 

Virginia Commonwealth University
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Richmond, Virginia
Website

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Crime Scene Investigation concentration

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $48,376 (in-state)
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Work closely with faculty experts in criminal justice, criminology, law, organized crime, and transnational crime
  • Take the opportunity to engage in hands-on research work through VCU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, which includes a stipend and mentor partnership
  • Studies can be customized by mixing and matching courses from across the array of subject areas taught at the university
  • An alumni network more than 10,000 strong offer plenty of connections in the field to tap into after graduation

The Virginia Commonwealth University BS in CJ – Forensic Crime Scene Investigation concentration will prepare you to either enter the workforce directly after graduation or to move on to graduates studies in criminal justice or advanced forensics work. The high-quality coursework you get here is delivered by faculty with professional experience in both academia and on the ground in law enforcement. A highly-customizable degree plan allows you to tailor your forensic CSI concentration to fit whatever specialty in the field you are most interested in, from medicolegal death investigations to forensic psychology. VCU offers it all and then some, and all with a very affordable tuition rate.

 

Marian University
Criminal Justice Department
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Website

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with Minor in Crime Scene Investigation

Semester Credits: 121
Estimated Program Cost: $110,957
Accredited by HLC

  • Outstanding faculty strengthen both your knowledge and your professionalism in the field of criminal justice
  • Internships available at more than a dozen law enforcement and criminal justice agencies in Wisconsin and beyond
  • With an average class size of 15 students and a 12 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio, you will have plenty of interaction with your highly experienced instructors
  • Emphasis on cooperative, hands-on learning experiences that integrates classroom theory with practical skills development

At Marian University, you’ve got ready access to an effective minor in CSI built on to a respected and highly professional criminal justice program. The Marian BSCJ with a CSI minor combines both lecture and laboratory work to help build your skills as a forensic investigator. Courses in forensic photography and the rules of evidence form the core of the minor, with bloodstain pattern analysis, remains detection and recovery, and fingerprint analysis courses available as electives. The comprehensive major experience develops your knowledge across the spectrum of American Law enforcement, while a capstone project allows you to take your individual interests in the field and turn them into an individual project, with a presentation delivered in a colloquium at the end of the semester.

Editor’s Picks for the Best Bachelor’s Programs in Forensic Science for 2020-21

 

California Baptist University
Department of Division of Natural and Mathematical Sciences
Riverside, California
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry

  • Criminal Justice Systems
  • Criminalistics

Semester Credits: 124
Estimated Program Cost: $135,720
Accredited by WSCUC

  • Undergo a senior-level capstone course that includes a crime lab internship, research project, or literature-based thesis for a flexible conclusion to your studies
  • Hands-on training conducted with the same instruments and methods of analysis used in modern crime labs
  • A dedicated course on investigation theory and reporting is available in the criminal justice concentration, honing your grasp of big picture perspectives on criminal investigation and prosecution

With concentrations branching into high-level aspects of the criminal justice system and into focused lab-based criminalistics work, you can scratch whatever itch your career plan needs at this highly-respected private college. The criminal justice concentration takes you through criminal law, courts, and criminal procedure, focusing on the various elements of investigations and adding a helping of research methodology in the process. With the criminalistics concentration, you will build on your core chemistry skills with courses in biology, genetics, and molecular biochemistry to give you added strength in DNA analysis and identification in the lab.

 

University of Northern Colorado
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Greeley, Colorado
Website

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry – Forensic Science Emphasis

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $41,664 (in-state)
Accredited by HLC

  • Undergraduates are encouraged to participate in faculty-led research and even engage in their own independent research projects at UNC
  • Personalized attention and professional mentoring are among the hallmarks of this program
  • ACS-approved degree program

Hands-on training with cutting-edge laboratory instrumentation will prepare you for coveted positions in local, regional, or national crime labs, or with government agencies or private manufacturers. The specialized scientific skills you will acquire through the UNC BS in Chemistry – Forensic Science Emphasis are honed through plenty of lab time studying subjects ranging from instrumental analysis, to biochemistry, to environmental chemistry. Research design and execution is a particular emphasis here, developing your analytical and reasoning skills in ways that are invaluable in forensic investigations.

 

Greenville University
Criminal Justice Department
Greenville, Illinois
Website

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with Minor in Forensics

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $110,320
Accredited by HLC

  • School hosts a respected annual forensics conference on-campus tackling difficult issues like sexual assault investigation
  • Field activities can range from social service agencies to low-income urban or depressed rural areas, exposing you to every aspect of forensic investigations
  • Greenville empowers students and graduates to serve those around them and experience meaningful change in their own lives.

With both the physical and psychological aspects of evidence processing addressed in Greenville University’s justice-focused forensics program, you will get a balanced education in modern forensic science processes and procedures. Getting a firm grounding in criminology and the function of the criminal justice system with your major, the forensics minor tacks on the chemistry, biology, anatomy, and additional psychological elements of forensic science to up your game as an investigator in the field.

 

McKendree University
Division of Social Sciences
Lebanon, Illinois
Website

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry/Biology with Minor in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $122,160
Accredited by HLC

  • Small class sizes and unique internship experiences provide interactive learning opportunities throughout the program
  • Experienced faculty and a low student/teacher ratio mean you will get plenty of opportunities to learn directly from instructors with real-world wisdom to share
  • Original research projects leading to publication or presentation are included as part of the degree program

Whether you pick the chemistry or biology BS as your core degree at McKendree, you will pick up all the additional elements you need in both fields of science through the Forensic Science minor to make you a formidable investigator in any forensic lab setting. Additional instruction in criminal justice systems, psychology and sociology, and other vital disciplines help round out your scientific skills with the kind of general investigative expertise required to detect and analyze evidence that can be presented in court proceedings.

 

Quincy University
Division of Science and Technology
Quincy, Illinois
Website

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry – Forensic Science Concentration

Bachelor of Science in Digital Forensics

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $124,640
Accredited by HLC

  • Learn from experienced faculty who have earned doctorates in their respective fields
  • Enjoy real-world, experiential learning opportunities including field trips and internships
  • Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills are emphasized through a combination of theoretical and practical instruction

As a STEM-centered program, science comes front and center in this interdisciplinary forensic science minor. With the core BS in chemistry, you will get plenty of lab experience using some of the most high-tech machinery and advanced analytical techniques being used in modern criminal investigations. Mathematics, physics, criminology, and criminal procedure are all layered on top of that essential science education to lend context and provide ethical and legal backing for your investigations. With the BS in Digital Forensics, you will get the same criminal justice and law enforcement education, but built instead around advanced training in software design, data structures, and programming that will allow you to trace criminals through the new frontier for crime.

 

Trinity International University
Department of Biology and Chemistry
Deerfield, Illinois
Website

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry – Forensic Science Emphasis

Semester Credits: 124
Estimated Program Cost: $129,592
Accredited by HLC

  • Named as a 2019-2020 College of Distinction for academic experience
  • Among the few programs in forensic sciences that include a required bioethics course, ensuring your lab practices meet the highest ethical and legal standards in an increasingly complicated field
  • School offers the option to pursue a master’s degree in bioethics while you are still progressing on your BS in chemistry, giving you a head-start in a complex aspect of forensic investigations

The ethical conundrums of performing advanced DNA and other biological analysis are often underplayed in forensic science programs. It’s refreshing to find a Christian school like Trinity that puts complex questions of DNA ownership, privacy rights, and justice front and center. You’ll receive training in pathophysiology and microbiology along the way, in combination with a set of electives in statistical and developmental processes that will help you develop the kind of strong foundation in lab protocols that will make you a valued member of any forensics team.

 

Indiana Institute of Technology
College of Arts and Sciences
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 127
Estimated Program Cost: $107,960
Accredited by HLC

  • Cutting-edge, experiential learning is conducted on state-of-the-art equipment with modern forensic testing techniques
  • Realistic forensic projects casework included in the curriculum in areas like microbiology, entomology, and advanced DNA analysis
  • Instructors possess years of experience in their respective fields.
  • Participate in a mock trial exercise as an expert witness to hone your courtroom presentation skills
  • Internship opportunities available at major employers that include the Indiana State police Lab Division, local hospital laboratories, and agencies like the Indiana Department of Toxicology

The IIT BS in Forensic Science doesn’t beat around the bush: it focuses directly on advanced, lab-based forensic science skills designed to prepare you for a career on the hard-science side of forensic investigations. Developing your skills and professionalism extends beyond the laboratory, with courses and exercises designed to make you an effective and reputable expert witness. You’ll go in-depth in areas like forensic serology, evidentiary DNA analysis, forensic entomology, and microbial forensics, using the same high-tech tools that the best laboratories today are equipped with. And through extensive internship opportunities, you’ll have the chance to work on real criminal cases directly in those labs, building your expertise and networking with professionals in the field along the way.

 

Upper Iowa University
Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Fayette, Iowa
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $123,240
Accredited by HLC

  • Designated as an approved STEM Jobs College for 2015
  • An active focus on student success is exemplified by a special, transitional first-year experience designed to ease you into college life
  • Courses are taught by outstanding faulty and experienced adjunct instructors who are dedicated to science-first education
  • Courses may be available in face-to-face, online, and hybrid formats

As a broad-based, pre-professional program, the BS in Forensic Science at Upper Iowa University focuses on the scientific core behind successful forensics investigations. You’ll start off with developing your scientific literacy and quantitative analysis skills before moving into general and forensic chemistry courses, physics, biology, and organic chemistry. Through courses covering molecular tools and spectroscopy, you’ll hone your ability to use lab instruments to the limits of their potential in analyzing trace evidence. A capstone course offers either a senior project option or a research-based thesis to help crystalize what you’ve learned and experienced in the program.

 

Washburn University
College of Arts and Sciences
Topeka, Kansas
Website

Bachelor of Science in Anthropology – Forensics concentration

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Information Science – Digital Forensics concentration

Semester Credits: 120/124
Estimated Program Cost: $36,000/$37,200 (in-state)
Accredited by HLC

  • The Kansas Bureau of Investigation Lab is located on the Washburn campus, bringing real-world forensic cases right to campus
  • A wide array of advanced equipment is available for student use in the well-equipped chemistry laboratory, ranging from NMR spectrometers to high performance liquid chromatographs
  • Small class sizes put an emphasis on individual student interests and strengths through one-to-one attention from instructors and advisers
  • Offers the first bachelor-level degree in forensic anthropology in Kansas
  • You’ll get hands-on experience in excavation and forensic analysis in the lab and at the school’s outdoor site in the forensic anthropology concentration
  • Enjoy opportunities to undertake independent research and land important internships for real-world experience

With three great opportunities to dive deep into in-demand specializations in forensics, Washburn offers it all for anyone looking for a forensic science degree in the Midwest. The concentration of expertise in each of those areas allows Washburn to pursue a truly multi-disciplinary approach to forensics education, with studies in areas ranging from chemistry to biology to computer science forming the broad base of your education. Opportunities to practice hands-on skills training are also easy to come by here, since the main crime lab for the Kansas Bureau of Education is on campus, drawing in expertise from students and instructors in cracking real-world cases from around the state.

 

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department of Criminal Justice
Lafayette, Louisiana
Website

Bachelor of Science in Biology/Chemistry with Minor in Applied Forensic Sciences

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with Minor in Applied Forensic Sciences

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with Minor in Criminal Justice Forensics

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $44,696 (in-state)
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Enjoy a multidisciplinary approach to forensic science that involves experts from diverse departments like the Department of Criminal Justice and the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Child & Family Studies
  • The program offers opportunities to conduct 3-D scanning and modeling of scenes and human remains
  • Optional courses in human anatomy and physiology and medical anthropology can allow you to focus on cadaver inspection and analysis
  • All Criminal Justice majors are required to complete an internship, meaning you’ll get direct experience in the field working with actual forensics experts on real-world cases

You can add the applied forensic sciences minor offered by the ULL Department of Criminal Justice to four different bachelor degree programs to give yourself laser-focused preparation to practice forensic science in any of the major segments of the field. With a broad coverage of chemistry, anthropology, and biology to give you a scientific overview of the field, the minor then branches into elements like human ecology, archaeology, and criminal law to offer a skillset that will support you both in the lab and in the courtroom.

 

Loyola University New Orleans
College of Arts and Sciences
New Orleans, Louisiana
Website

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Justice with Minor in Forensic Science

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $162,368
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Graduates have gone on to careers with DHS, the FBI, INS, the CIA, and DEA as well as numerous state and local criminal justice agencies
  • Nearly 30 percent of Loyola students take advantage of the school’s study abroad program, making it one of the top schools in the nation for overseas studies, with programs in more than 50 countries
  • A superb academic reputation goes with the Loyola name, and the university has turned out Rhodes and Fulbright scholars

Hands-on lab experience and strong practical training in investigative processes such as fingerprint identification, hair and fiber analysis, and drugs and toxicology await you in the BSFC program at Loyola New Orleans. By offering training in electrochemical, spectrographic, and chromatographic analysis, the program turns out graduates who can identify just about any substance that evidence technicians can turn up! You’ll build your skills in forensic methods through research and lab-time as well as classroom lectures. For the Forensic Science Minor to the Criminology and Justice degree, you will get additional training in crime scene perspectives, crime lab processes and operations and investigation and identification of controlled substances. Research remains a focus, giving you both the lab and critical thinking skills to develop a true investigative mindset that will serve you well throughout your career in the field.

 

University of Baltimore
School of Criminal Justice
Baltimore, Maryland
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Studies

  • Forensic Science
  • Police Science

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $28,056 (in-state)
Accredited by MSCHE

  • Close partnership with the Baltimore Police Department gets you as close to real-world forensic studies as the law will allow!
  • The Roper Victim Assistance Academy of Maryland is a school partner, covering a broad array of topics in victimology and victims’ services
  • The school offers an array of intensive internship opportunities for direct career preparation in forensic science
  • Adjunct faculty include active-duty law enforcement officers and forensic chemists and attorneys for real-world perspectives on forensics work

Baltimore gets a bad reputation for crime, but that can make it a great place to study forensics, particularly at the University of Baltimore, which has forged a one-of-a-kind partnership with the Baltimore Police Department. You’ll complete many of your courses working directly with forensic professionals employed at BPD, an experiential learning process that puts you on the front lines performing some of the most challenging forensics lab work anywhere. With concentrations available that allow you to either double-down on that lab education or build your practical legal application skills through studies in police science, you can customize your training to fit the kind of career you want to build for yourself.

 

Western New England University
Department of Physical and Biological Sciences
Springfield, Massachusetts
Website

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with Minor in Forensic Science/Computer Forensics

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Biology

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $141,816
Accredited by NECHE

  • The combination of scientific knowledge with formidable legal studies offers you the full range of tools to become an effective forensic scientist in any specialization
  • Campus clubs like the Chemistry Club, Criminal Justice Association, and Forensic Science club offer many opportunities to engage in extracurricular learning and networking
  • Internship and field learning opportunities are open at sites including the Connecticut DPS Crime Lab, the Massachusetts State Police Forensic Services Group, and Brigham & Women’s Hospital Morgue
  • Study abroad options open up the chance to spend a semester at an international university or take a faculty-led summer seminar course overseas
  • Center for the Sciences and Pharmacy offers a state-of-the-art lab to practice recombinant DNA analysis, organic chemistry, fingerprinting, and other important lab skills

Western New England University’s Department of Physical and Biological Sciences delivers the full spectrum of forensic science education through two full bachelor’s degree options in forensic biology or chemistry. Additional options at WNEU include two intensive minors that teach either traditional, lab-driven forensics or the new, high-tech field of computer forensics, giving you powerful course sequences that can be bolted on to a bachelor’s in criminal justice or other major. In any case, you’ll be combining a strong theoretical background with the hands-on, practical skills that are used in modern crime labs. The School of Law helps out by preparing you for the stresses and demands of delivering expert testimony in a mock courtroom environment.

 

Lasell University
School of Health Sciences
Newton, Massachusetts
Website

Bachelor of Science in Biology with Minor in Forensic Biology

Bachelor of Science in Applied Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $142,800
Accredited by NECHE

  • The college’s Connected Learning philosophy offers active learning experiences for hands-on experiences in complex, real-world scenarios
  • Work with Fiona, the world’s most sophisticated synthetic cadaver, to explore tissue sampling and body part analysis in a classroom setting
  • Faculty include experts in pathophysiology, geological fingerprinting with laser-induced spectroscopy, and environmental field sampling for a diverse array of competencies in research and education
  • All students complete at least 1 professional internship, making Lasell one of only six schools nationally with such a strong emphasis on real-world experience

You’ll develop razor-sharp critical thinking skills while getting a rock-solid scientific education with either of Lasell’s options in forensic science education. With the dedicated Applied Forensic Science bachelor’s, you’ll focus extensively on the application of science to legal matters, with courses covering trace evidence examination, crime scene investigations, and preservation of evidence. The forensic biology minor offers a lighter touch in legal matters, but dives right into forensic DNA analysis and forensic psychology, honing your specialization in two increasingly in-demand and complementary aspects of the field.

 

Hamline University
Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science
St. Paul, Minnesota
Website

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice with Minor in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 128
Estimated Program Cost: $172,616
Accredited by HLC

  • Students have the opportunities to attend presentations from leading criminal justice and forensic science professionals, as well as tour agency facilities such as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
  • Courses are taught by nationally recognized practitioners in areas like DNA analysis, firearm and tool marks, fingerprints, and more
  • A study abroad option through the university’s Global Engagement Center can expand your worldview and your resume as you complete your coursework overseas

At the Hamline University Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science, a social science oriented approach to the study of crime and forensics offers a broad and relevant foundation, with all the gears of the criminal justice system and community shown in context. Complemented by mandatory courses in chemistry and lab science, and with extensive elective options touching on crime scene reconstruction, forensic biology, and forensic toxicology, the Hamline program delivers the kind of science skills you need to succeed in the lab together with a whole-picture perspective on crime and criminals that allows you to pursue ethical and justice-focused investigations.

 

The University of Southern Mississippi
School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensics

  • Anthropology
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Criminal Justice

Semester Credits: 124
Estimated Program Cost: $35,144 (in-state)
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Internship experiences are strongly encouraged and include local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies such as the State Crime Lab and FBI, as well as private forensic laboratories
  • Travel opportunities to destinations like Canada and Washington D.C. offer opportunities to tour leading forensic agencies and interact with national an international leaders in the field of criminal justice and forensics
  • Faculty include prominent scholars in their respective areas of expertise

The University of Southern Mississippi recognizes that the field of forensic science is diverse and multi-faceted, which is why they offer four different concentrations with the BS in Forensics, each one allowing you to drill down in some of the areas that are most in-demand in today’s crime labs. Ranging from chemistry to biology to anthropology, you can increase your knowledge of the hard sciences behind forensic analysis, or take the criminal justice concentration to expand your skills in case-building, courtroom testimony, and criminal procedures. With highly-experienced faculty members who serve as advisers and mentors, you’ll make all the connections you need here to go in any direction you choose.

 

Maryville University of Saint Louis
College of Arts and Sciences
St. Louis, Missouri
Website

Bachelor of Forensic Science

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

Semester Credits: 128
Estimated Program Cost: $104,280
Accredited by HLC

  • Ranked among the Best Value Private Colleges in the United States by Kiplinger’s
  • Project-based learning approach ensures that you will study in exciting professional environments pursuing real-world applications
  • All undergraduate students receive an iPad and access to over 150 apps
  • A career placement rate of 97 percent means you are almost guaranteed a job after graduation
  • Average class size of only 14 students ensures plenty of face-to-face interaction with instructors

A strong background in the physical sciences combined with real-life elements of forensic science are delivered with both practical examples and high-tech support through the Maryville University of Saint Louis Bachelor of Forensic Science. Hands-on experience with the technical procedures and advanced lab instrumentation that are used today in modern crime labs gives you an edge in your skills development. At the same time, the school provides access to career coaches and a personal iPad, which speaks to the dedication Maryville has to offering practical assistance and a great student experience alongside the advanced theory. With concentrations in both biology and chemistry, you can take that support and leverage it into a career extending into any aspect of forensic science.

 

Missouri Baptist University
Natural Science Division
Saint Louis, Missouri
Website

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry – Forensic Science Concentration

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $107,440
Accredited by HLC

  • Missouri Baptist teaches from the perspective of objective analysis to ensure you graduate with the ability to differentiate between observation and derived theories
  • An emphasis on both study and service at MBU is the perfect preparation for a career in public safety through forensic science
  • Work on modern instrumentation in well-equipped lab spaces that will prepare you for the most cutting edge analytical tools available in crime labs today

The theoretical and experimental background in chemistry you’ll develop through the Missouri Baptist University BS in Chemistry – Forensic Science Concentration is fostered through strong educational experiences. It’s that focus on experiential learning that crystalizes everything you learn in the classroom and teaches you how that knowledge is applied in real-world forensic investigations. As a student here, you can expect to spend plenty of time in the lab where the rubber meets the road performing chemical analysis using the latest techniques and the most modern instrumentation. Those skills are applied to aspects of criminal investigation, procedure, evidence collection, and communication to offer a well-rounded degree in forensic chemistry that stands out among the best chemistry-based programs of its kind in the country.

 

Culver-Stockton College
Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences / Business, Education, and Law
Canton, Missouri
Website

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Emphasis in Forensic Science

  • Forensic Science
  • Forensic Accounting

Bachelor of Science in Biology/Biological Chemistry with Minor in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $109,260
Accredited by HLC

  • Strong experiential learning emphasis includes everything from developing your creative expression to leadership skills in real world exercises
  • A 12/3 semester calendar gives you fewer classes to focus on in a given semester and a more intensive learning environment
  • The school works with large numbers of outside agencies to provide a multitude of internship possibilities
  • Service learning has a real emphasis at C-SC, teaching the importance of excellence not only in the technical elements of forensic science but the service and safety aspects as well
  • Travel study opportunities are enhanced by the school’s semester structure, allowing extended field experiences
  • Criminal justice faculty collectively have more than 40 years of in-the-field experience as well as strong academic qualifications

Practical, field-tested, proven techniques and lab processes are emphasized in the Culver-Stockton College forensic science bachelor’s options. Whether you opt for the BSCJ with a forensic science emphasis or the BS in chemistry with a forensic science minor, the entire structure of the learning experience here is set up to deliver hands-on, experiential lessons that will stick with you through your entire career. A service-oriented attitude starts with instructors and is instilled in students so that you absorb not only the technical aspects of modern forensic analysis, but also the importance of the work in the context of public safety and society. An added specialization in forensic accounting offers the kind of forensic investigation training in financial crimes that few other programs in the country can deliver.

 

Western Carolina University
College of Arts and Sciences
Cullowhee, North Carolina
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

Bachelor of Science in Anthropology – Forensic Anthropology concentration

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $27,616 (in-state)
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Graduates have found employment as analytical chemists, forensic research assistants, forensic technicians, and molecular biology technicians
  • Students are encouraged to conduct independent research and present findings at forensics conferences
  • Cutting-edge research and teaching facilities have been specially designed to mimic crime laboratories nationwide
  • Student organizations like the Anthropology Club offer outside study and networking opportunities during your time at WCU

The hard sciences are firmly in focus in the WCU forensic science bachelor’s programs. Whether you are taking advantage of the school’s concentrations in biological or chemical forensic science in the BSFS or drilling down into human osteology and bone trauma analysis by adding the forensic anthropology concentration to the BS in Anthropology, a strong, hands-on approach to basic analytical lab work will underly your studies. With the option to conduct your own research activities and present your findings at conferences, you’ll get an opportunity to get your name out in the community before graduation while developing first rate investigative and communication skills through a comprehensive education in forensic science.

 

Pfeiffer University
Division of Arts and Sciences
Misenheimer, North Carolina
Website

Bachelor of Science in Biology – Forensic Science Concentration

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $119,200
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Pfeiffer recognizes the value of real-world experience and offers experiential learning opportunities to give you an edge in the job market
  • Internships and externships are available, as well as off-campus volunteer opportunities that combine service with learning

By avoiding law enforcement and criminal justice courses entirely, Pfeiffer University takes a non-standard approach with the forensic science concentration offered with their Bachelor of Science in Biology. This exceptional program provides the perfect hard-science focus for anybody serious about a career with a dedicated focus on the purely scientific aspects of forensic investigations. That means its all-science, all the time, allowing you to devote more lab time to subjects like biological anthropology, quantitative analysis, and cell and molecular biology. You’ll come out of this program with both the scientific knowledge and the lab skills you need to step into any crime lab in the country and get to work.

 

William Peace University
Department of Culture & History & Politics
Raleigh, North Carolina
Website

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with Minor in Forensics Science

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $124,800
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Focus on experiential learning offers many opportunities to apply classroom learning in real-world settings
  • With 150 years of local engagement in the community, the CJ program has strong ties to local law enforcement agencies and a strong track record for placing graduates in positions they love
  • An interdisciplinary approach to forensics education has you taking courses from diverse departments including anthropology, chemistry, psychology, and more

The forensic science minor at William Peace gives you the core skills in forensic chemistry and anthropology that you need to be comfortable in the lab, but also offers you a lot of options when it comes to customizing your education to line up with your career goals. Interested in forensic psychology? You can complete the minor with courses in abnormal psych and legal psychology. Want to be a body hunter? Practice archaeological field work and learn more about anatomy and physiology. This minor is packed with a comprehensive curriculum that rivals some full degrees in forensic science, and results in a diploma from a well-respected university that any employer in the country will recognize and respect.

 

Gardner-Webb University
Department of Natural Sciences
Boiling Springs, North Carolina
Website

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration with Minor in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 128
Estimated Program Cost: $124,880
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • You’ll benefit from mentorship from professors with extensive real-world professional experience and strong academic qualifications
  • Field experiences and internship opportunities are complemented by study-abroad options that offer perspectives on international forensic investigations

Gardner-Webb offers a strong course in criminal justice administration with a strong overview of the science behind forensic investigations. Classes in microbiology, crime scene investigation, and forensic chemistry give you a broad exposure to forensic science, while your major courses dive into the aspects of criminology, ethics, and legal procedure that give you a strong law enforcement base from which to practice. The availability of electives in forensic accounting and cybercrime allow you to further tailor your degree toward forensic studies, opening up a world of opportunities in two of the most high-demand areas in the field.

 

Methodist University
Department of Criminal Justice/Department of Chemistry & Physical Science
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry – Forensic Science Concentration

Bachelor of Science in Digital Forensics & Cybersecurity

Semester Credits: 124
Estimated Program Cost: $136,592
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • School has community affiliations with the AAFS, Fayetteville PD, the NC Homicide Investigators Association, and the FBI National Academy Associates, among others
  • Digital forensics program is CompTIA-certified in cybersecurity
  • On-campus resource centers like the Center for Excellence in Justice Administration offer specialized expertise and learning resources as well as research opportunities for students
  • The Criminal Justice/Forensic Science Association is a student group that provides extracurricular learning opportunities and networking through service events and trainings

You can hit the cutting edge of forensic science in at least three different parts of the field at Methodist University. Through the traditional BSFS, you will hit all the standard skills required in generalist forensic investigations labs, including forensic firearm identification, tool mark and fingerprint studies, forensic photography, crime scene reconstruction, and more. For a more chemistry-focused course of study, the chemistry degree’s forensic concentration takes you through lab work in environmental chemistry, molecular genetics, and spectroscopy to build your science skills. And, finally, the BS in digital forensics branches out into the realm of virtual crimes, developing your talents in data recovery, digital crime investigation, and the legal constructs governing cybercrime investigations. All of it comes with strong backing in ethics and legal procedure that will ensure you have the full range of tools to detect crimes and convict criminals.

 

University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Lincoln, Nebraska
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

  • Forensic Biology
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Chemistry

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $30,240 (in-state)
Accredited by HLC

  • Expert faculty members are often called on by law enforcement to consult in active cases
  • An emphasis on research involves students in long-term studies, including a forensic entomology study on insect succession in which students presented findings
  • An online Forensic Science Library offers a unique resource to students for either research or study
  • Opportunities for community outreach and volunteer work strengthen connections with the local area and offer networking and learning opportunities outside of class

The UNL BS in Forensic Science has something for everyone… in addition to a CSI track aimed at on-scene investigators, the program delivers two lab-centric tracks, in biology and chemistry, that give you both the hard science background and the hands-on skills required to build a career in forensic laboratory science. You have the option to expand your understanding and skills in DNA analysis and matching through the biology program, or to delve more deeply into chemical analysis and toxicology through the chemistry track. These options allow you to tailor your degree to your personal preferences and your career goals. Both routes offer opportunities to expand your knowledge with courses like human remains analysis, forensic taphonomy, and pollen analysis.

 

College of Saint Elizabeth
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Morristown, New Jersey
Website

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry/Biochemistry – Forensic Science concentration

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $129,000
Accredited by MSCHE

  • Newly remodeled lab facilities offer state-of-the-art instrumentation
  • Guaranteed independent research opportunities offer plenty of hands-on experience
  • A capstone requirement helps integrate and cement all the various elements of your education into a cohesive experience prior to graduation

In a program rooted in a liberal arts tradition, you’ll get both scientific rigor and an ability to research natural phenomena in either the chemistry or biochemistry options at the College of Saint Elizabeth. With the interdisciplinary studies offered in the bachelor’s program along with a concentration in forensic science, you’ll learn about how the U.S. criminal justice system works while studying the methods and protocols of forensic laboratory investigations. Strong analytical and organic chemistry courses back up your investigative acumen with solid science, while research projects offer the ability to expand your perspectives in the field.

 

Centenary University
Science Department
Hackettstown, New Jersey
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

Bachelor of Science in Biology – Forensic Science concentration

Semester Credits: 124/128
Estimated Program Cost: $130,288
Accredited by MSCHE

  • A hands-on, learning-by-doing philosophy ensures that you get plenty of scientific laboratory experience under your belt
  • All students participate in direct research projects that focus on current issues in the field
  • Strong internship programs are available to further your experiential learning opportunities

Although Centenary offers separate BS degrees in biology and forensic science, the forensics course closely tracks the biology program for the first two years. This means the comprehensive core science education is very similar in both programs. A particular emphasis in analytical and bio analytical chemistry covers explosive and arson residue analysis, identification of illicit drugs (both internally and externally), biochemical toxicological assays, and DNA analysis. A healthy dose of criminal procedure and ethical considerations are included to put it all in proper context.

 

Daemen College
Natural Sciences Department
Amherst, New York
Website

Bachelor of Science in Natural Science – Forensic Science specialization

Semester Credits: 127
Estimated Program Cost: $115,320
Accredited by MSCHE

  • Small class sizes, with a 10 to 1 student/teacher ratio offer personalized attention from dedicated faculty members
  • Learn in state-of-the-art teaching laboratories on campus
  • Field study experiences open in locations like Florida and Costa Rica
  • Students have the opportunity to participate in innovative, faculty-led research projects on campus

In the Daemen College BS in Natural Science – Forensic Science specialization, general biology and chemistry courses are complemented by classes in psychological science and criminal justice through a forensic science program firmly rooted in the natural sciences. A course in forensic physics delivers an unusual area of training not found in many other forensic science programs, while studies in biostatistics improve your ability to judge evidence in perspective and spot anomalies in the course of your analyses.

 

Tiffin University
School of Arts & Sciences
Tiffin, Ohio
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 127
Estimated Program Cost: $108,840
Accredited by HLC

  • Instructors are recognized academic leaders in diverse fields like biology, chemistry, and law
  • Senior-level options in either an internship or a course in experimental research design allow you to tailor your curriculum around real-world practice and advanced lab skills

Building on top of introductory courses in forensics and evidence law and ethics, you’ll quickly find yourself diving into the hard science side of forensic lab work with the Tiffin University BS in Forensic Science. Courses ranging from microbiology to genetics to human anatomy and physiology give you the basic grounding in a wide array of important scientific fields, while courses in instrumental analysis help develop your familiarity with the technology, equipment and processes forensic scientists use in the lab every day. Most classes involve lab work, giving you plenty of hands-on time with the tools and techniques you need to master to be successful in the field of forensic science.

 

Muskingum University
Chemistry Department
New Concord, Ohio
Website

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry – Forensic Chemistry track

Semester Credits: 124
Estimated Program Cost: $114,800
Accredited by HLC

  • Certified by the American Chemical Society since 1966
  • Special emphasis on communication proficiency builds your report-writing and testimonial skills
  • Students are frequently able to secure summer fellowships and internships in prestigious programs like the NSF Summer Research Experience or the Muskie Fellowship program
  • Program boasts a 100% placement rate for graduates in either advanced studies or employment in the field
  • Modern instrumentation and research equipment provide plenty of hands-on, in-depth experience in practical laboratory skills

An interdisciplinary approach to chemistry education undergirds the Muskingum BS in Chemistry – Forensic Chemistry track, with mathematics, physics, engineering, and biology all playing a role in your education. One of the key strengths of an interdisciplinary education like this is how it can develop your critical thinking skills, which in turn helps develop your lab and communication skills, giving you complete preparation for the investigative work and courtroom testimony a career in forensic investigations will entail.

 

Oklahoma Baptist University
James E. Hurley College of Science and Mathematics
Shawnee, Oklahoma
Website

Bachelor of Science in Biology – Forensics emphasis

Semester Credits: 128
Estimated Program Cost: $111,648
Accredited by HLC

  • Strong emphasis on experimentation and research skills both in and outside the laboratory
  • Students have the opportunity to participate in scientific meetings and attend seminars presented by internationally-recognized scientists
  • An independent senior research project will help cement your lab and documentary skills while enhancing your expertise in an area of your choosing
  • Field trips can include travel to destinations like Hawaii and Costa Rica

The Oklahoma Baptist University James E. Hurley College of Science and Mathematics strives to combine cutting-edge knowledge in biology and forensics with hands-on technical proficiency, all in one degree program that offers academic excellence in a framework of Christian faith. Your preparation for a career in fields involving biological investigative analysis includes courses in genetics, microbiology, and instrumental analysis, all of it delivered by world-class professors with highly-respected credentials and advanced research skills.

 

Southern Wesleyan University
Division of Science
Central, South Carolina
Website

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $99,704
Accredited by SACSCOC

  • Graduates have gone into careers specializing in drug and firearm forensic analysis in law enforcement as well as with private sector companies handling chemical and forensic analysis
  • A required internship opportunity will take you into a crime lab at the local, state, or federal level of law enforcement
  • Campus labs offer a wide array of highly specialized tools to master, such as IV-VIS and FTIR spectrophotometers, electrophoresis apparatus, and high-performance liquid chromatographs

You’ll pick up the knowledge you need to think outside the box here at SWU, an invaluable asset when it comes to forensic investigations, where finding evidentiary pieces to the puzzle is only the first step in the longer process of building a case. That knowledge includes chemical, biological, and law enforcement subjects taught by faculty with advanced degrees and years of experience working in actual forensic science laboratories. You’ll learn how to use the techniques and tools you study here to investigate crimes ranging from arson to shootings to narcotics, building rock-solid cases from physical evidence and learning to present it clearly in court.

 

Dakota Wesleyan University
College of Leadership and Public Service
Mitchell, South Dakota
Website

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with Minor in Forensic Science

Semester Credits: 120
Estimated Program Cost: $110,800
Accredited by HLC

  • The school Academic and Career Services Center not only offers assistance in finding jobs after graduation, but also provides critical connections for landing hot internships at agencies like the SD Division of Criminal Investigation, as well as sheriff and police departments across the state
  • Students have the opportunity to become research assistants working with professors seeking an in-depth understanding of criminal justice and forensic topics

By integrating studies of chemistry and criminal investigation, including those in both the physical and social sciences, you can use the BA in Criminal Justice with a minor in Forensic Science at Dakota Wesleyan to build a curriculum that will qualify you for employment in crime labs as well as in more field-oriented criminal investigations. Your quantitative and qualitative analysis skills will allow you to assess physical evidence, while forensics studies emphasize the importance of subjects like preservation and chain of custody. It’s the total package for anybody serious about a career in law enforcement and criminal investigations.