A Forensic Scientist Aims to Apply Scientific Analysis to Matters of Law.
Some of the most frequently watched TV dramas in recent history revolve around the messy details of criminal investigation—and if you’re interested in a career in forensics then you probably are no stranger to these. While a heavy dose of fiction is mixed in with reality, these shows do give an idea of the complexity of evidence collection and analysis.
Many of us shy away from the gory details of crime fighting. But if you have a good scientific mind are intrigued by investigative processes, then a degree in Forensic Science might be a great option for you. It will help you start or boost a career solving crimes, studying the causes and theories of crime, and conducting crime scene investigations.
What kind of Bachelor’s in Forensic Science degree should you get?
First, you’ll need to decide on a course of study. Most online undergraduate Forensic programs are concentrations nested within a Criminal Justice major. To make your program as relevant as possible, you’ll want to include as many courses in the natural sciences as your electives and general education requirements allow you.
You’ll also have to decide between an online or a campus-based program. When most of us think of attending college, it tends to be on a traditional campus—but not everyone is able to pack up their lives to attend school. Fortunately, there are plenty of high-quality, accredited online programs for those who need the flexibility and affordability online education provides.
For more information, check out our list of Best Online Colleges and Universities.
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How much money do people make with a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science?
The truth is that most people—if they’ve done even a minimal amount of research—do not go into criminal justice careers to get rich. Of course, salaries vary widely depending on your job experience and education, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median pay of a Forensic Science Technician at a respectable $56,750 per year. The median pay for Criminal Investigators is $81,490.
If you’re looking for a job that isn’t likely to disappear in the near future, the job outlook is promising too. The BLS sites a 17 percent job growth through 2026 which is much faster than average.
What can you do with a degree in Forensic Science?
You’ll have plenty of options open to you with a degree in Forensics. Depending on your interests, your work experience, and whether you’re willing to pursue graduate studies, you’ll find jobs in laboratories, at crime scenes, and in offices, classrooms, and coroners’ offices. You may work for federal, state, or local governments—as well as private organizations. Job titles include:
- Crime Scene Technician
- Crime Scene Investigator
- Senior Forensic Analyst
- Forensic Project Coordinator
What are the requirements for a degree in Forensic Science?
Entrance requirements vary depending on the school—some have open enrollment, while others have higher academic standards for admission. Also, some programs offer the entire degree program online, while some are completion programs. Completion programs usually require you to have completed a certain number of transferable credits from an accredited institution to begin work in the major.
Before you begin upper-level courses in Criminal Justice and Forensics, there will be a number of General Education requirements—as well as electives—that you’ll need to complete. Make sure you use your electives to include as many relevant courses in the sciences as you can!
What are the best Bachelor’s in Forensic Science degrees?
At College Choice, we know a thing or two about investigation—we may not be forensic specialists, but we do know how to hunt down the best programs and present them in a readable manner.
We’ve waded through data sources, assessing program websites, tuition costs, accreditation, and reputation scores to come up with a score that reflects both academic excellence and the ever-important return on investment. And we only list schools that are regionally accredited, so you know that programs in our ranking are reputable.
We hope this ranking helps you find a great program!
Best Online Forensics Degrees 2022
See our rankings methodology page.
#1 Most Affordable Online Forensic Science Degrees
American InterContinental University
- Chandler, AZ
- 4 years
A Chandler, Arizona, school, American InterContinental University provides premier online programs for students seeking competitive study. The bachelor's in criminal justice with a specialization in forensic science program provides a balanced education in law enforcement practices, science, and investigation methodologies.
Enrollees benefit from a supportive virtual learning community. Degree-seekers complete coursework covering foundational and advanced topics to gain knowledge relevant to the field. Experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and research projects, give learners hands-on practice to develop their skills for a future profession. Throughout the program, degree-seekers can access institutional resources geared toward student success, such as career and academic advising.
A financial aid officer can work with learners to explore funding opportunities to defray degree costs. The college's funding opportunities include numerous scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid. Some kind of financial aid is provided to 93% of enrollees at the institution.
Percent Online Enrollment
Higher Learning Commission
#2 Most Affordable Online Forensic Science Degrees
University of Maryland Global Campus
- Adelphi, MD
- 4 years
Interested in a flexible education that prepares you for a career in the forensic science field? Check out the master of science in digital forensics and cyber investigation at the University of Maryland Global Campus. The 52,298 online learners at the public college receive a premier education, choosing from dozens of programs.
Master's degree-seekers gain the tools needed for a successful career in forensic science. Enrollees benefit from many different types of classes, covering both foundational and advanced forensic science topics. Hands-on learning experiences let degree-seekers deepen their industry knowledge to help their career aspirations. Learners can also complete internships, externships, or industry-specific research projects to gain valuable knowledge. Guidance is available to students throughout the duration of the program by talking with an academic advisor or career counselor.
Eligible applicants can pursue scholarships, fellowships, or other funding opportunities from within or outside of the school to help lower degree costs. An online education leader, the college connects degree-seekers with financial aid to support their academic journey, awarding aid to 46% of all enrollees.
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education