Fancy yourself as some Sherlock Holmes type character who enjoys finding the tiny details to help solve crimes? A program in forensic science may just be the perfect place to pursue your interests.
Forensic science, at its core, is an all-inclusive discipline that avails students with all the skills and scientific tools they need to fit into the crime-solving process in a wide variety of roles.
The multifaceted field draws from traditional disciplines like mathematics, chemistry, biology, and criminal law, as well as more contemporary areas like digital analytics and cybercrime, creating comprehensive curricula that equip the student to fit into any aspect of the crime-fighting machine.
Furthermore, forensic science students often specialize in more specialized sections of the field like ballistics, toxicology, forensic anthropology, crime scene photography, forensic accounting, or handwriting analysis to further enhance the depth of their knowledge and their value to the marketplace.
However, we don’t all have to be at the center of active crime scenes, and thankfully forensic science degrees afford access to other job paths like becoming a paralegal, lab technician, or a teacher.
If you are ready to take the plunge into this exciting field, one of the best ways to get started is with a related college degree, and there is nowhere better to start working on that than at these 30 best forensic science colleges.
30 Best Forensic Science Colleges
#30: Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Forensic science is a broad discipline that draws concepts from a wide range of fields, and a great way to a career started in this line is to take a general course that incorporates a bit of everything. The Bachelor’s in forensic science from Miami University is just that.
This program is markedly interdisciplinary, featuring classes from criminal justice to the natural sciences. Furthermore, you also get comprehensive instruction in the latest crime scene techniques and related computer technology.
#29: University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma
The forensic science program on offer at the University of Central Oklahoma is a general course in the field that introduces you to evidence analysis and management and methods to effectively communicate forensic information.
At OCU, you get the choice to either specialize in chemistry, molecular biology, or digital forensics. Alternatively, you can choose to take the Major standalone.
#28: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is an old, reputable university with more than 100 research facilities, and is a great place to study any practical course. With their forensic science program, you can concentrate on biochemistry or crime scene investigation or even pair your degree with a pre-law program.
#27: Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico
If you are not decided on your prospective specialty in forensic science and want an interdisciplinary course that provides you with a framework that will integrate smoothly in any career path, Eastern New Mexico University may be the perfect school for you.
Their Bachelor’s in forensic science offers a general curriculum that covers everything from human anatomy to evidence management. While you can specialize in chemistry, biology, or anthropology, you still get more broad coverage of forensic science compared to programs at other colleges.
#26: American InterContinental University, Schaumburg, Illinois
The American InterContinental University offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice paired with a minor in forensic science that prepares you for any career in the field. At AIU, you learn all the basics of crime analysis and crime scene management to ensure you get a head start in real-life situations.
However, the program has a strong focus on the legal side of things and maybe a bit ill-suited for students whose primary focus is scientific analysis.
#25: St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas
St. Mary’s University is a Catholic institution in San Antonio that provides a cross-disciplinary program in forensic science that gives students a solid foundation on which they can build their careers in forensics.
With this major, you get a broad education in many aspects of forensic science as well as in-depth instruction in your chosen specialization. Furthermore, the program allows you to gain significant real-world experience via its internship scheme.
At St. Mary’s, you can specialize in any of three disciplines: Biology, Chemistry, or Criminology, in addition to your major in forensic science.
#24: Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia
At Marshall University, their Bachelor’s degree in digital forensics and information assurance offers students a perfect entry into the digital sphere of forensic science. If fighting cybercrime and tracking forensic information on the web is your thing, this is a program for you.
During this degree program, students receive comprehensive instruction in all aspects of information technology as well as critical digital security themes like network penetration and attack, network defense, and digital evidence management.
#23: George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
George Mason is a great place to kickstart your forensic science career, as the school offers a comprehensive program in the field with their Bachelor’s degree in forensic science.
Here, you get access to high-end research facilities as well as a detailed curriculum that prepare students for career roles as investigation specialists, forensic anthropologists, forensic photographers, or private lab examiners.
#22: Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Boston University is a well-rounded university that provides excellent programs in many fields, but their forensic science programs deserve a special mention on any list. At Boston, you get an up to date education in biomedical forensics and forensic anthropology that few colleges can match.
Their forensic science program is one of the few ones in the country that is domiciled in a department of anatomy that includes a major medical center, giving it unmatched access to extensive resources for thorough forensic lab work.
#21: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
While forensic science has provided immense help to crime fighters for hundreds of years, the field is currently facing an unprecedented bout of constant disruption, and the University of Pennsylvania is at the edge of this metamorphosis.
UPenn is one of the few schools that incorporate all the recent advances in DNA technology and forensic methodology into its bachelor’s and master’s programs in forensic science.
#20: George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
George Washington University was one of the first schools to create a department of forensic sciences and offer programs in the field. Consequently, the school has one of the most prestigious standings in the area.
At G.W., you can choose from up to six programs that instruct in advanced skills for crime scene analysis and forensic investigation. These challenging courses offer comprehensive curricula in all aspects of forensics, as well as the opportunity to participate in hands-on projects, varied lab work, and mentorship under active forensics experts.
#19: Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri
The crux of any program in forensic science is to ensure you can function on the field and provide reliable crime scene analysis. Few schools can match Saint Louis University when it comes to preparing you for active duty.
The university’s campus is home to a 1000 square foot research laboratory that features all of the latest and greatest in forensic science equipment. If your school here, you can rest assured that you can handle whatever the world throws at you at the start of your career in forensic science.
#18: Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Texas A&M University understands that students who study forensic science eventually go on specialized in a wide variety of fields. Hence, their Bachelor’s program in forensic and investigative science gives you the option to niche down into a science alternative or a pre-law one to help better adjust your school to match your future career.
The school provides top-notch facilities for practical work and imbibes all the latest research and scientific discoveries in the field to guarantee that you are prepared for any career in this field.
#17: Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
The Loyola University in Chicago offers a bachelor of science program that gives you one of the best ways to launch a career in this field. Here, the emphasis is on promoting the skills that you need to function in real-life forensic organizations.
Hence, throughout the program, you get access to world-class facilities as well as a barrage of expert faculty members with experience from actively practicing forensic science. The program also provides intense instruction in critical organizational skills like communication, analytical thinking, and ethics.
Consequently, the school has an excellent employability index, with about 40% of its graduates going on to work in forensic science and criminal justice.
#16: Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Forensic science is a very diverse field that covers a broad range of disciplines and areas of application in real life, and one program that reflects this ideally is the forensic science major at Syracuse University.
The school takes an interdisciplinary approach to their program that schools you in everything from anthropology, biology, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, and even sociology.
The breadth of the school’s curriculum pairs nicely with the intense practical work at the Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute on campus, providing students a solid base to launch a career in any aspect of forensic science.
#15: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
A significant portion of practical forensic science is understanding biology and medicine, and Virginia Commonwealth University is an excellent place to get detailed schooling in both disciplines. The school was first founded as a medical college, a fact that still reflects in many of its programs.
The Bachelor’s and Master’s in Forensic science program at the university offers an in-depth curriculum that focuses on the medical side of things, including courses on DNA analysis, drug analysis, and trace evidence. You also get world-class tutorship in legal forensics and criminalistics.
#14: George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
Few schools can match George Mason University when it comes to the depth and extent of their research facilities. Thanks to its strong focus on research and its in-depth curriculum, the school is renowned as a high starting point for any forensic scientist.
Participants of their Master’s and Bachelor’s programs in Forensic Science get unrivaled access to some of the best forensic labs in the country. You also get to visit forensic corporations, non-profits, and government agencies, providing some of the best first-hand learning experiences you can get in the field.
#13: John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City, New York
The John Jay College of Criminal Justice offers one of the most comprehensive assortments of forensic science degrees available at any institution in the country. While the school carries two main courses: a bachelor’s and master’s program, students can choose to focus on more than 13 areas of study.
At John Jay’s forensic programs, you get schooling in both basic and advanced science courses as well as specialized courses depending on your area of focus. Furthermore, all participants get practical experience through participating in research projects or by performing a laboratory internship at an external site.
#12: Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York
The legal side of forensics offers one of the best prospects in the field, and one of the colleges that can prepare you for a role in this area is this small, private university on Long Island. Hofstra University is a non-profit institution that grounds students in the legal system and how forensics factor into the crime-fighting process.
In addition to having one of the most comprehensive legal forensics curricula, Hofstra University has a renowned internship program that regularly places students in high-brow outfits like the CSI, FBI, and CIA.
#11: Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
One of the best schools for forensic science in the country and arguably the best in the southeast is Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. The public university offers a forensic science program that instructs students in criminal justice, biology, and chemistry.
Participants of the programs get a highly specialized curriculum that prepares students for roles in law enforcement, specialized private laboratories, and public crime labs.
#10: Long Island University, Brookville, New York
For those whose primary attraction to this discipline is fieldwork, the Bachelor’s program in Forensic Science at Long Island University will serve you well. The Brookville-based school offers one of the practical, hands-on programs in the niche.
Here, students gain a varied portfolio of experiences in forensic applications like human genetics, molecular pathology, and criminalistics by practicing and interning at the crime laboratories, medical examiners’ offices, and health departments in Manhattan and Long Island.
#9: Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
One of the best schools in the country for a start in forensic chemistry is Temple University in Philadelphia. The University’s College of Science and Technology hosts a master’s program in forensic chemistry that is arguably the best you will get anywhere.
Here, students gain practical skills in all aspects of forensic chemistry, including toxicology, applied biopharmaceutics, and chemical analysis. Furthermore, the program also provides all the conceptual knowledge needed to practice effectively.
Throughout the program, you also get schooling in the legal aspects of forensics.
#8: Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
The school of criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University provides students with an avenue to develop competencies in both practical and theoretical aspects of both forensic science and criminal justice.
With their Professional Science Master’s in Forensic Science program, the school grounds you in all you need to get started with your forensic science careers with avenues for rapid career advancement. The program covers courses in toxicology, DNA forensics, ethics, and law.
You also get comprehensive practical experience with varied lab work and an applied project and internship at the end of the program.
#7: Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
The school of criminal justice at Michigan State University offers one of the best ways to kickstart your forensic science career with their Bachelor’s program in forensic science. With this program, you partake in a combinatory curriculum that instructs in both legal leadership, criminal justice, and practical forensics.
Here, you get all the latest research as well as access to cutting edge technology with a forensic program that focuses heavily on forensic chemistry.
Furthermore, participants in this program get ample support in the pursuit of their research through research funding, the opportunity and funding to present this research at local and national conferences, and sponsored internships.
#6: Columbia College, Colombia, South Carolina
At Columbia College, their Bachelor and master of art in criminal justice offers one of the best ways to get started in forensic science. These programs come with a forensic science minor as well, providing the student with a broad foundational knowledge of criminal justice paired with a handy knowledge base of forensic science.
Here, students cover everything from criminology theory, ethics, leadership, to the court system. Also, the program includes sufficient practical instruction in core areas of forensics like toxicology, DNA analysis, and fingerprint recognition.
#5: Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey
Whether you are considering a career in the legal aspect of forensics, or just looking to get a start to your varied forensic science career, the B.A. in Justice Studies at Montclair State University will set you on the right foot.
This program is a multifaceted course that takes you through all the aspects of the justice system, including law enforcement theories and the process of justice administration. Furthermore, you get schooled in core forensic science topics like crime scene investigation, evidence management, and forensic psychology, plus, you get to cap the program with some real-world experience from a mandatory internship.
#4: University of Pittsburgh, Bradford, Pittsburgh
One of the best starter programs for any aspiring forensic scientist is the Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science available at the University of Pittsburgh. In this program, students enjoy an in-depth curriculum that grounds them in the ins and outs of forensic investigation as well as the operation of courts and police agencies.
To participate in this program, students must complete course work in forensic science, a minor in either biology and chemistry, as well as lab work in a practical crime scene unit that takes you through the process of analyzing forensic evidence like DNA, hair, fiber, and drugs.
#3: Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Our pick for forensic biology is the Ohio State University in Columbus. While the college does not have a forensic science major on offer, if you plan to venture into forensic biology, their Biology Major paid with a forensic science minor is hard to beat.
With this combination course, you get an introduction to forensic science, forensic anthropology, Anatomy, Human Osteology, as well as thorough fieldwork.
The forensic science minor comes from the school’s Department of Anthropology, which hosts a comprehensive field school where students gain access to all types of realistic crime scenes to further their knowledge of forensics.
#2: New York University, New York, New York
If your focus is on forensic medicine, the best school you can attend in the country is New York University. The School of Medicine at New York University is one of the oldest in the country and has a rich history of leading in the field.
The department of Forensic Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine offers two forensic medicine programs in partnership with the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Here, students get grounded in theoretical and practical knowledge while also sitting in on medicolegal autopsies, death scene reviews, court testimonies by expert witnesses, and police department conferences.
#1: University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut
If you want the best start you can get in forensic science anywhere in the country, look no further than the University of New Haven in Connecticut. This university is home to the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science, one complete forensic science school.
The college offers three intensive degrees in the field, including a master of science in forensic science. Here, students get instruction in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the discipline, while learning from faculty members with work histories in the FBI, CIA, state police departments, and even the United Nations.
Plus, throughout your program, you get access to the Henry C. Lee Institute for Forensic Science, a state-of-the-art forensic facility with active crime scene labs and advance tech equipment, including biometric devices, ground-penetrating radar, and laser scanners.