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Forensic Science & CSI Schools By State
Find universities, state schools, and community colleges that offer forensics and csi programs in your state, including hybrid and online programs.
FORENSIC SCIENCE SCHOOLS BY STATE
Forensic science and crime scene investigation (CSI) have become popular fields of study in the United States. Several major universities offer degree programs that combine science with criminalistics.
The programs featured here are accredited either by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Committee (FEPAC) or are hosted at an institution of higher education with regional or national accreditation. This is just a sampling of the schools covered at length in the detailed state pages below:Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas offers a bachelor’s degree program in forensic and investigative sciences. This program teaches students to apply life sciences to legal and corporate disciplines such as crime scene investigation. Students in this FEPAC-accredited program learn hands-on skills such as collecting evidence in the form of human hair or clothing fibers and examining them at the molecular level. Through learning how to use specific types of microscopy techniques, students simulate real-world tasks to practice delivering accurate forensic analysis.Pennsylvania State University’s Eberly College of Science in University Park, Pennsylvania offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in forensic science. These two FEPAC-accredited programs provide a strong criminalistics education rooted in science and allow students at the undergraduate level to choose from forensic biology or forensic chemistry. Graduate-level coursework allows students to further their studies with individualized options to research and practice advanced hands-on training at crime scenes and laboratories.Indiana University and Purdue University (IUPUI) in Indianapolis, Indiana offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in forensic and investigative science. Students in these programs learn to assess biological and physical evidence in some of the nation’s leading laboratories. Located in downtown Indianapolis, the hub of Indiana’s state and local crime labs, state police, and other law enforcement agencies, students in these programs gain hands-on experience through internships at state-of-the-art crime laboratories.Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri has an extensive track record of helping local law enforcement solve murder cases. Offering a bachelor’s degree and a minor in forensic science, this program is one of the most well-respected in the midwest and allows its students to specialize in areas such as physical evidence, DNA, trace evidence, toxicology, and more.John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City offers science-based undergraduate forensic science degrees and the opportunity to specialize in one of three tracks: criminalistics, molecular biology, or toxicology. Graduates from this program are prepared for work in forensic science laboratories or advanced degrees in research or practical applications of forensic science. Students accepted to this program take a prescribed schedule of classes and courses related to their chosen specialization in their third or fourth year of studies.
Check out any of the state guides below to learn about how to become a forensics professional, including information on local accredited degree programs and certification.
SCHOOLS BY STATE Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington Washington, D.C. West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming
ACCREDITED FORENSIC SCIENCE & CSI PROGRAMS - WHAT TO EXPECT
Most entry-level forensic science positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that forensic science technicians—one career possibility among many—enter the profession with a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, biology, or forensic science and that on-the-job training is required for professionals investigating crime scenes and working in forensic science laboratories (BLS 2021).
So what kind of coursework is to be expected in a forensic science bachelor’s degree program?
Each school has unique course sequencing and internship opportunities, but typically forensic science programs include extensive coursework in biology, chemistry, mathematics, criminal justice, and experiential learning. Specifically, they can include:
Science courses: modern biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, general physics
Mathematics courses: pre-calculus, calculus, statistics
Criminal justice courses: an introduction to criminalistics, forensic psychology, policing and corrections in America, aspects of the juvenile justice system; deviance and social control, victimology, punishment and social theory
Experiential learning courses often include internships and can be focused on job-shadowing, laboratory research, real-world crime investigation, or related to an area of specialization such as toxicology (studying poisons) or molecular biology (analyzing evidence with specialized microscopes).
Best Colleges for Forensic Science
College Transitions presents the best colleges for Forensic Science. We look at the top forensic science programs in the U.S.
Best Colleges for Forensic Science
Shows like CSI, NCIS, Forensic Files and the proliferation of Making a Murderer-style documentaries and Serial-esque podcasts have led to an explosion of college students pursuing degrees in forensic science. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth in the area of 27% through 2024. However, the number of undergrads pursuing degrees in this field since the turn of the millennium is so great that the job market remains highly competitive. Students who attend schools featured on our Best Colleges for Forensic Science list will hold a significant edge in the search for employment. Perhaps the best news is that the majority of schools on this list are institutions that regularly accept “B” students, which makes the ideal forensic science programs accessible to bright but less-than-perfect applicants.
Click the links below for more information about each college's forensic science program. Click here to read our methodology.
George Mason University
John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
Loyola University of Chicago
Penn State University
Saint Louis University
San Jose State University
Texas A&M University - College Station
University of Central Florida
University of Nebraska
University of Texas at Austin
Virginia Commonwealth University
West Virginia University
25 Best Colleges with Forensic Science Majors
In the era of true crime documentaries, TV series, podcasts, books – essentially every type of entertainment – forensic science has become a fascination for millions. If you are passionate about science or criminal investigation, then forensic science might be a great field of interest to you. Forensic science is not one thing, but an […]
25 BEST COLLEGES
WITH FORENSIC SCIENCE MAJORS
In the era of true crime documentaries, TV series, podcasts, books – essentially every type of entertainment – forensic science has become a fascination for millions. If you are passionate about science or criminal investigation, then forensic science might be a great field of interest to you. Forensic science is not one thing, but an interdisciplinary blend of biology, chemistry, DNA analysis, law, and computer science. Forensic science technicians play a vital role in law enforcement agencies and criminal justice. Today, from chemistry and biology to forensic psychology to digital forensics, it’s one of the fastest-growing and most desirable criminal justice career paths in the US.
GETTING A FORENSIC SCIENCE BACHELOR DEGREE
Making a forensic science definition is very simple: forensic science applies the scientific method to a criminal investigation. Forensic science technicians employ techniques like DNA analysis, fingerprint tracking, computer science, chemistry, and other advanced methods to identify criminals. Thanks to the development of forensic sciences in recent years, investigators are able to track down criminals in a more effective and precise way. But the specialized skill sets that forensic science demands require a lot of specialized schooling.
While forensic science technicians may begin their career in forensic science with an associate’s degree, that will only provide entry-level forensic science jobs. For better-paying jobs with more potential for promotion, a forensic science bachelor degree is the way to go. The best schools for forensic science programs will provide students with not only the coursework they need, but labs, forensic science internships, experiential learning opportunities, and networking for the job market.
METHODOLOGY: HOW WE RANKED THE BEST FORENSIC SCIENCE BACHELOR DEGREE PROGRAMS
To rank the 25 Best Bachelor’s in Forensic Science Degree Programs for 2019, Bachelor’s Degree Center started with programs accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). FEPAC is the foremost standard for forensic science education, so all of the programs featured in the ranking guarantee top-notch training.
From there, BDC editors ranked programs according to 5 factors: Cost, Reputation, Alumni Salary, Graduation Rate, and Job Placement Rate. Data is drawn from IPEDS, College Scorecard, and Niche.
1. TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
Texas A&M University’s BS in Forensic and Investigative Sciences degree programs offers two emphases, Pre-Law and Science. Texas A&M University’s forensic science bachelor degree program is the only degree program in the state of Texas accredited by (FEPAC). A&M’s BS is one of the best forensic science bachelor’s degree programs for those seeking an occupation in the courtroom or criminal justice field with the skills to collect, preserve and analyze evidence. A&M allows up to 65 credits to be transferred upon acceptance.
Texas A&M University was established in 1871 under the Morrill Land-Grants Act. It is also classified as a sea-grant, space-grant, and senior military college. Texas A&M University is home to the George Bush presidential library. Its main campus is 5,300+-acres and is considered one of the largest campuses in the country. Washington Monthly has recognized Texas A&M University among the top institution of higher learning based on the criteria of research activity, social mobility, and service.Degree: BS in Forensic and Investigative Sciences
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2. PENN STATE UNIVERSITY
Penn State University’s BS in Forensic Science is for those students who wish to enter investigative careers. Penn State’s forensic science bachelor’s degree program has been accredited by (FEPAC). FEPAC promotes education quality of forensic science degree programs across the country. The forensic degree programs offer two-degree options — the Chemistry Option or the Forensic Biology Option. Penn State’s forensic science program is nationally recognized.
Penn State University is a flagship university with numerous facilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania. It was established in 1855 under the Morrill Land Act and is currently recognized as a sea-grant, space-grant, sun-grant, and land-grant institution of higher learning. Student enrollment at Penn State nears 100,000. The Center for World University Rankings recognizes Penn State University among the top universities across the globe.Degree: BS in Forensic Science
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3. TOWSON UNIVERSITY
Towson University’s BS in Forensic Chemistry comes from the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics. TU’s forensic science bachelor degree programs are available with three distinct concentrations – the General Track, the DNA track, and the Drug Analysis/Trace Evidence track. Each forensic evidence chemistry track requires 120 credits to graduate. Towson University is one of 38 forensic science programs to be accredited by FEPAC.