The Best Colleges for Forensic Science

December 18, 2022
By AdmissionSight

The Best Colleges for Forensic Science

Earning a degree in one of the best colleges for forensic science can pave the way for professional opportunities in an intriguing and rapidly expanding field. You’ve probably seen crime dramas on television that depict groups of law enforcement officers working together to solve cases and keep the public safe.

It is true that in order to examine a crime scene, carry out laboratory testing, and create evidence, a group of trained specialists who are professionals in their field is required. Forensic scientists are a vital component of criminal investigative teams, even if their work is not always as glamorous as it appears on television.

In this article, we will provide an in-depth look at the field of forensic science, including a description of what forensic science degree programs are like, the best colleges for forensic science, and the different types of jobs that are available to people who have completed forensic science degree programs.

Because many people are unaware that forensic science encompasses a wider range of specializations than is commonly believed, we will discuss some of the more obscure parts of this highly gratifying, rapidly expanding, and scientific field.

What is Forensic Science?

To begin with, what exactly is the field of forensic science? The application of scientific methods to the process of law enforcement is known as forensic science. Forensic scientists and forensic science technicians collaborate in order to provide evidence that may be utilized by legal and law enforcement authorities in a manner that is objective, and scientifically sound.

As a diverse area, forensic science makes use of information gathered from a broad variety of other fields and disciplines, including the social sciences, chemistry, physics, biology, psychology, information technology, and geology.

Crime laboratories are typically where forensic scientists get employment. A typical forensics laboratory will have sections for things like the physical sciences, the biological sciences, firearms, documents, and photographic evidence. Analysis of fingerprints and voiceprints, together with toxicological testing and evidence gathering, are just some of the additional services that a forensic laboratory might offer.

What do Forensic Scientists do?

So, what responsibilities do forensic scientists have? A forensic scientist is someone who conducts investigations, examines physical evidence, and either writes reports or testifies as an expert witness in legal proceedings.

There are a lot of forensic scientists working in crime labs, and some of them may collect physical evidence at crime scenes.
For instance, forensic chemists examine non-biological trace evidence found at crime scenes in order to determine the identity of unknown compounds and compare samples to those of recognized substances. While DNA analysis is often the area of concentration of a forensic biologist and in the course of criminal investigations, a forensic geologist will conduct a soil examination.

How do you become a Forensic Scientist?

With this regard, how does one get into the forensic science field? Well, a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as forensic science or a scientific degree that includes courses in chemistry, biology, and physics is often required of forensic scientists.

Students could also find it beneficial to take classes in mathematics, statistics, biostatistics, genetics, general and organic chemistry, and courses that teach writing, in addition to classes in these subjects. Classes in criminal justice could perhaps teach you some valuable information.

Experience working in a laboratory setting is required for forensic technicians. Certain occupations in the field of forensic science require higher degrees, such as those in the fields of psychiatry, pathology, and anthropology.

Moreover, if you want to work in a crime lab as a forensic scientist or criminologist, getting a master’s degree in forensic science can be helpful in advancing your career to a leadership position.

What do you study in a Forensic Science program?

What kind of subjects are covered in forensic science programs? Students of forensic science will focus their studies on the following subfields of forensic science:

  • Ballistics
  • Chemical Trace Evidence
  • Computer Forensic Examination
  • Criminalistics
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Digital & Multimedia Sciences
  • DNA Profiling
  • Drug Analysis
  • Facial Identification
  • Fingerprints
  • Firearms and Toolmarks
  • Fire Debris & Explosives Analysis
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Biology
  • Forensic Engineering
  • Forensic Photography and Electronic Digital Imaging
  • Handwriting, Information Security
  • Jurisprudence, Microscopy
  • Mobile Phone Forensic Examination
  • Paternity Testing
  • Questioned Documents
  • Toxicology

What are the best colleges for Forensic Science?

Below are the best college for Forensic Science that you can consider joining:

Pennsylvania State University | Penn State

The Forensic Science program at Penn State is an inter-college collaboration between several different academic units. It provides a foundation in areas such as the biological, physical, and mathematical sciences, as well as topics in criminalistics, forensic chemistry, forensic biology, crime scene investigation, and social sciences.

Penn State main building view

Students have the option of concentrating their studies in either biology or chemistry as part of their degree. They also have access to a crime laboratory that is on the cutting edge of technology as well as training facilities for crime scenes.

Saint Louis University | SLU

For students with a comprehensive understanding of the intersection of law and science, Saint Louis University’s forensic science major makes use of the methodologies, instruments, and points of view of the fields of biology, chemistry, anthropology, sociology, physics, mathematics, and medicine. When they graduate, students will have a comprehensive understanding of scientific technique as it relates to a wide variety of businesses.

Saint Louis University main entrance made of bricks.

Students can participate in fieldwork internships and/or independent research at different sites thanks to the department’s contacts with forensic science laboratories in the metropolitan area of St. Louis. Moreover, in this facility, students can take a class on crime scene investigation, and the Forensic Science Club meets here.

George Mason University

The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science degree program at George Mason University provides students with the opportunity to investigate a variety of subfields within the larger field of forensic science. These subfields include both field and laboratory applications and may include topics such as crime scene investigation, forensic DNA, forensic chemistry, trace evidence, firearms examination, fingerprints, arson, and drug analysis.

George Mason UniversitY signage

Students have the option of specializing in either Forensic Biology or Forensic Chemistry, both of which provide an engaging and practical education. Because the university maintains partnerships with a variety of forensic science agencies and labs, including the FBI, its students are allowed to obtain practical experience in contemporary settings.

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

There are three subfields that can be pursued within the Forensic Science major: Molecular Biology, Criminalistics, and Toxicology. Students, regardless of the area in which they choose to concentrate, acquire abilities in a variety of areas, including research, scientific communication, data collection and interpretation, concepts in the physical and biological sciences, and more.

View of John Jay college entrance

As a component of the educational curriculum, students are expected to participate in an internship. In addition to this, they will have access to a wide variety of chances for learning through experience.

University of Central Florida | UCF

Students who enroll in the Forensic Science program at UCF can choose to focus their studies on either biochemistry or chemistry, providing them with two distinct perspectives from which to approach the field. Students are taught how to write scientifically, how to undertake and assess scientific investigations, as well as the function that they will play in the judicial system when they graduate. In addition to that, they will acquire practical experience through working in cutting-edge laboratories.

View of University of Central Florida

Hofstra University

The fundamentals of chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, the legal system, psychology, and even photography are taught to students in Hofstra’s Forensic Science department, which is an interdisciplinary study.

Hofstra University signage
Students have hands-on experience with tools that are used in contemporary forensic laboratories thanks to the university’s laboratories that are equipped with cutting-edge technology. Students are also allowed to participate in research, internships, and peer teaching, among other experiences.

Loyola University Chicago

Students in the Forensic Science program at Loyola will acquire a breadth of knowledge in a variety of scientific disciplines, including chemistry, biology, mathematics, and physics, as well as an awareness of the structure of the legal system, technological ability, and a variety of other abilities.

The University of Chicago signage and one the university buildings is visible in the background

Students learn about patterns, biology-DNA, and chemistry in laboratories that are up to date with the latest technology. The Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission has conferred its seal of approval upon the program (FEPAC).

Syracuse University

Students at Syracuse University can earn an Integrated Learning Major (ILM) in Forensic Science. This major is designed to supplement a variety of other majors by introducing students to the field from a variety of perspectives and challenging them to apply their knowledge to a variety of academic fields.

Syracuse University building on top of a hill

Students will benefit from comprehensive lab resources while engaging in a variety of academic activities, including real-world field experiences and diverse coursework. The Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute calls this particular educational establishment its home. Students majoring in forensic science are strongly encouraged to pursue their education in another country.

University of Texas at Austin | UT Austin

Students at UT Austin who are interested in pursuing professions in forensic science can gain an interdisciplinary perspective by earning a certificate in forensic science from the university. All undergraduate students are entitled to participate.

Front view of a building in the University of Texas with a male statue at the very front

Moreover, students also have the opportunity to participate in the debate and forensics program, which was first established in 1883 as the Athenaeum Literary Society.

Texas A&M University

Students in the Forensic and Investigative Sciences program at TAMU, which is one of only two bachelor’s degree programs in the state of Texas to hold national accreditation from FEPAC, receive an education with a focus on the life sciences.

Main entrance of Texas A&M University

This education helps students develop concrete skills and makes use of cutting-edge technology to learn the ins and outs of the field. Students have the option of pursuing either a Science Emphasis track or a Pre-Law Emphasis track at their educational institution (non-FEPAC accredited).

What are some Forensic Science careers?

So, what kinds of jobs are there in the field of forensic science? Many forensic scientists find employment at laboratories that are dedicated to the study of crime. There are around 4000 crime laboratories in the United States, which are managed by either the federal government, state or municipal governments, or the private sector. The fields of forensic chemistry, forensic biology, and criminalistics are all studied and practiced by scientists in many different crime labs.

Students who complete a bachelor’s degree program in forensic science are qualified candidates for entry-level careers in a variety of fields, including those working in crime labs. Career options in forensic science include the following:

Crime Laboratory Analysts

The precise scientific understanding that crime laboratory analysts possess is utilized in the process of evaluating the physical evidence that was gathered. Examiners that specialize in digital forensics are the professionals who look for evidence of a crime on the hard drive or cell phone of a suspect. They frequently carry out this activity in close conjunction with various authorities in the legal system.

Forensic Pathologists

Autopsies are performed on deceased victims so that forensic pathologists can determine the cause of death. Forensic Science Technicians are employed in crime labs, where they are responsible for conducting analyses of the physical evidence that has been gathered from crime scenes. To determine whether or not a person used chemicals, drugs, or poisons in their final moments of life, forensic toxicologists analyze the chemical makeup of deceased individuals.

An important part of investigating a crime scene is piecing together what took place during the criminal act. Investigators will collect evidence and investigate the physical evidence, which will include an examination of trace evidence.

DNA Analysts

DNA analysts assist in analyzing DNA evidence and making connections between that evidence and potential criminals.
On the other hand, the following is a list of occupations in forensic science that do not involve working in a crime laboratory:

  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Engineering
  • Forensic Entomology
  • Forensic Odontology
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Forensic Psychiatry

If you attend one of the best colleges for Forensic Science and pursue a profession in forensic sciences, you will have the opportunity to pursue many career paths, such as those of a crime scene investigator or a detective. If you wish to become a forensic scientist of the highest caliber, you should continue your education at one of the institutions listed above because it will provide you with the most advanced training available.
Should you have any challenges with your application, AdmissionSight got you covered! Over the past decade, AdmissionSight has become an industry leader in helping students gain admission to selective institutions throughout the world. We have one of the best success rates in the business, with 75% of our students being accepted to elite institutions. Please feel free to contact us right away to schedule your preliminary consultation.

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