A Master’s degree in Forensic Science prepares students for a career in a forensic science laboratory or crime scene investigations. Maybe you are looking for a career change and want to pursue a degree path that you can accomplish while working full time? Maybe you are already working in the field and want to advance your options while using your day job as a practicum? If that is the case, studying online might be the perfect way to meet your goals and not disrupt your life too much.
We have found some of the best forensic science master’s degree programs online, and we made a list for you to study. You have already taken the first step on your journey by reading about these advanced online programs. Good luck with the rest of your adventure.
How We Ranked the Best Online Master’s in Forensic Science
The editors at Online Schools Guide found schools offering online master’s degrees in forensic science. Then, based on cost and reputation, we ranked the programs.
|1. Florida International University||PSM in Forensic Science|
|2. University of New Haven||Masters in Investigations|
|3. University of Central Florida||MS in Forensic Science|
|4. DeSales University||MACJ in Investigative Forensics|
|5. National University||Master of Forensic Sciences|
|6. Saint Joseph’s University||MSCJ Intelligence and Crime Analysis|
|7. Oklahoma State University||MS in Forensic Science|
|8. Stevenson University||MS in Forensic Science|
|9. Saint Leo University||MSCJ in Forensic Science|
|10. Emporia State University||MS in Forensic Science|
1. Florida International University
The International Forensic Research Institute at Florida International University and the School of Integrated Science and Humanity have collaborated on an innovative degree program geared towards training leaders in forensics. The online Professional Science Masters in Forensic Science program synthesizes coursework in the two disciplines: management/ leadership skills and forensic science.
All of the courses are online. However, there are also workshop-style lab requirements in their state-of-the-art research facilities. Students will also participate in a culminating internship that engages the skills they learned from the program. The entire course of study is 16 months in length, and it is cohort-based. Because all of the classes (not including workshops and capstone) are online, students can work full time while completing their coursework. Excellent candidates for the program include professionals already working in the industry, including people working in state, federal, or private crime labs or law enforcement agencies.
Program Duration: 16 months
2. University of New Haven
|Degree: Masters in Investigations|
The University of New Haven offers a fully online Masters in Investigations program that brings together a variety of related disciplines. The subjects in this course of study include digital forensics, criminal investigations, and financial crimes. In addition, students will have the opportunity to specialize in an area that piques their specific career interests. Areas of choice include healthcare fraud, money laundering, and transnational crime.
Students can complete the entire program can be completed in one year. The curriculum consists of ten classes, all available in an online format. Furthermore, the program faculty are some of the best in the field. Additionally, there are tuition discounts. For example, the school offers 50% off for law enforcement.
Program Duration: 12 Months
3. University of Central Florida
|Degree: MS in Forensic Science|
The University of Central Florida offers a Master of Science in Forensic Science program. The only caveat to this immersive online experience is that this degree path requires several prerequisites for the program. Additionally, there are elective opportunities students must complete in person. Finally, there are two options for the program. The thesis option requires a research component. Students can complete it in either a lab where they already work or under the direction of a faculty member.
The second path is the non-thesis option for the student already a professional in a forensic laboratory. Additionally, the school offers a Forensic Professional Concentration, which requires a capstone project that a faculty member oversees. The program has different tuition rates for in-state versus out-of-state students, even though it is online.
Program Duration: 30-32 Credit Hours
4. DeSales University
DeSales University offers an in-depth online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, Investigative Forensics program. This concentration engages with the legality of criminal investigations and focuses specifically on violent crime. The entire course of study includes ten required classes that students must complete to graduate.
The subject matter of the coursework centers on the ways professionals in the forensics field collect and analyze information. Some of the distinct topics include forensic pathology, advanced crime scene investigation, advanced criminology, and forensic science. Additionally, students can choose to complete the program on a full or part-time basis. For those already working in criminal justice, DeSales University will give you 20% off of tuition for the program.
Program Duration: 30 Credits/ 10 Classes
5. National University
|Degree: Master of Forensic Sciences|
National University offers a Master of Forensic Sciences Program that is entirely online. This program is beneficial for professionals already working in the criminal justice field and want to gain more well-rounded skills or for students who wish to work in forensics specifically. Participants in the National University forensic science program will learn in-depth about human anatomy and investigate death and its nuances. Additionally, they learn to understand trauma and disease and how to investigate an unknown dead person.
Additional skills that the curriculum covers include crime scene photography, courtroom presentation of evidence, and ethical issues related to forensics. Students will have the opportunity to specialize in the investigation if they choose. To qualify for this program, students must have achieved an undergraduate degree in laboratory science. The classes are four weeks long and can be completed either online or in-person at their San Diego campus. National University is proudly veteran founded.
Program Duration: 54 Quarter Units
6. Saint Joseph’s University
Saint Joseph’s University offers a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice with an Intelligence and Crime Analysis concentration. This course of study is congruent with their 20-year record of excellence in teaching intelligence-led policing. Developed for law enforcement team members, the program prepares students to understand current crime analysis methodologies. Additionally, the schedule is flexible, so those already working on this career path can continue in their full-time jobs while enhancing the skills that will bring them into leadership roles.
The curriculum teaches students to analyze criminal trends, data, and patterns effectively. They also learn to use that information to stop crime from occurring in the first place. In addition, students will get to engage with technologies that support the field of criminal justice. Specialized courses are available in homeland security, financial crimes, and terrorism. The entire program is 30 credit hours, including four core courses, two electives, and four specialized courses. This program qualifies for federal financial aid when applicable.
Program Duration: 30 Credits
7. Oklahoma State University
|Degree: MS in Forensic Sciences|
Oklahoma State University has an in-depth Center for Health Sciences with an excellent Master of Science in Forensic Sciences. The majority of the coursework is elective-based. So, each student works closely with a faculty member to create a program in line with their academic and career goals. Additionally, students can complete the program online or in-person, depending on their needs.
The entire course of study consists of 39 credits. Coursework foundations engage with forensic science and forensic pathology, including forensic victimology and forensic toxicology. In addition, some of the classes cover the theory of practice of forensic handwriting, document analysis, ethics of forensic leadership, the chemistry of explosives, and so much more. Students must maintain a 3.0 to remain in good standing in the program.
Program Duration: 39 Credit Hours (self-paced, but must be completed in 7 years)
8. Stevenson University
|Degree: Master of Forensic Science|
Stevenson University offers an Online Master of Forensic Science Program geared expressly toward adult professional learners. The faculty has a plethora of experiences that relate to the disciplines at hand. One of the reasons people pick this program, in particular, is the resulting personal attention that each participant receives. In addition, it is known for offering an intimate community feel that is supportive and easy to work within. Students will choose between chemistry or a biology focus as they relate to DNA analysis and chemical analysis of evidence.
Some course requirements include Physical Evidence at Crime Scenes, Serology and Immunology, and Crime Scene Investigation. Additional classes cover the underpinnings of the court of law. There will also be many opportunities for students to study in laboratories and on crime scenes to gain hands-on experience. Possible career options for graduates include Forensic Chemist, Crime Scene Investigator, and Forensic Toxicologist. The courses are in accelerated 8-week sessions (Spring, Summer, and Fall). Students can take one class per session and graduate in two years.
Program Duration: Two years Average
9. Saint Leo University
|Degree: MSCJ in Forensic Science|
Saint Leo University offers a Criminal Justice Forensic Science Master’s Degree Program offered entirely online. This option is through the distinguished College of Education and Social Services. Some of the coursework includes recognition, protection documentation, the gathering of physical evidence, courtroom acceptance of new forensic technologies, crime scene investigation management, the history of criminology and forensic science, laboratory analysis of physical evidence, death investigation, and ethical and legal issues.
Degree completion requires students to complete five courses in criminal justice, four courses in forensic science, and two additional electives. In addition, the nationally-recognized program director has 30 years of investigative experience.
Program Duration: 18 Credits
10. Emporia State University
|Degree: MS in Forensic Science|
Emporia State University offers a Master of Science in Forensic Science with a Concentration in Biology through their College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Biological Services Department. The Prerequisite for this program is an undergraduate degree in Forensic Science or Natural Sciences and preferably some relevant life experience. One of the benefits of this particular program is how customizable it is. Students can easily tailor the coursework to meet their academic and career goals with the appropriate mentorship to be successful.
Students in the program will gain hands-on experience using analytical techniques in forensic chemistry, forensic biology, toxicology, and trace evidence. They will also learn how to conduct research in their chosen related path with the mentorship of practitioners in the field and faculty members. Another critical component of the coursework is learning effective communication styles related to sensitive forensic and legal findings. Students in this program have presented their research in various settings and have shown successful outcomes following graduation.
Program Duration: Varies
Is it Worth Getting a Master’s in Forensic Science?
Why get a master’s degree in forensic science? A bachelor’s degree in the field is an excellent choice if you want to work as an assistant or a forensic technician. If you, however, are interested in a leadership role that can include the facilitation of teams, a master’s degree in forensic science online might be the best fit for you.
What is the Forensic Science Coursework
Is forensic science hard to study? Generally, a program like those on our list begins with a series of core courses. Topics include serology, toxicology, data interpretation, and applied statistics. In addition, candidates for this degree path gain extensive laboratory experience providing hands-on leadership skill-building.
However, even though all courses are online, there are additional practicum or internship requirements. The fieldwork component will train students to gather and make sense of physical evidence and learn the ins and outs of smoothly facilitating a team on a crime scene. Students will also learn about topics such as economic crime and digital forensics.
Is Forensic Science In Demand?
The field of forensics is on the rise. There are so many new developments in DNA analysis technology and the science behind the law that experts in forensic science are more necessary than ever. The projection from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is that from 2020 to 2030, positions in forensic science will grow by 16%. So, jobs are abundant for individuals with a master’s in forensic science.
Is Forensic Science a High-Paying Job?
Do forensic scientists get paid well? Another interesting statistic is that professionals in this field make more than $20,000 beyond the average worker in the United States. For example, the current BLS annual wage is $61,930 for forensic science technicians with a bachelor’s degree.
Many people already working in forensics want to take their degree to the next level to advance their skills, income possibilities, and ability to have a more significant impact on the field. So, a master’s in forensic science salary will be more for individuals with an advanced degree.