If you love shows like Forensic Files, How to get away with murder, CSI, NCIS, and the conception of Making Murderer-style documentaries and Serial-Esque podcasts, then you are at the right place.
This is one of those careers that help law enforcement agents answer some of the craziest questions of ‘what exactly happened’ and ‘who is responsible’ is Forensic Science.
Suppose you want to be the one who likes to do digging for tiny pieces of detail and solving dark puzzles. So, you need to attend the best Forensic Science college.
Serial killers perpetrate many strange deaths and horrifying acts of violence, disorder.
So the duties of Forensic scientists have helped the police, detectives, and other law enforcement bureaus track, understand and arrest these villains.
This chapter will guide you to know the top forensic science colleges you may consider to become a crime scene investigator.
How we rank the forensic science colleges
We know there are many options available to students who wish to pursue a career in forensic science. It becomes confusing for students to know which is the best from the numerous options. To help you make your most suitable choice from this list, we have separated these schools to meet your personal education needs.
After analysis, we created this ranking system, and thus we found these schools deserving to be listed here. The ranking system is based on the following indicators:
Various programs offered:
Students want to attend schools where they can find as many programs as possible.
We consider if the school has been accredited to offer the programs.
Acceptance rate: The lower the acceptance rate, the better the school
The student-to-teacher ratio: We also examined the number of students allocated to one teacher in our ranking method—the lesser the number of students to a teacher. These more results will be recorded.
Graduation rate: We analyze the percentage of students who start and complete their degrees.
Employability Index: We also recognize how valuable the graduates of the schools are in the job market after graduation.
What is Forensic Science?
Forensic science is applying scientific principles and techniques to matters of criminal justice which usually involves the collection, examination, and analysis of physical evidence at crime scenes. In layman’s terms, it is applying the processes of the natural and physical sciences to matters of criminal and civil law.
Forensic science combines two different Latin words: ‘forensic, ‘ which essentially means a public debate or discussion often done in law courts. The second word is the Latin word ‘Scientia’ which means “knowledge.”
Generally, Forensic science is utilized in the investigation and prosecution of crimes such as rape, kidnapping, murder, and drug trafficking. This can also be applied not just in matters in which a crime has been perpetrated but in conditions in which someone is charged with a civil wrong, such as willful air or water pollution or causing industrial injuries, or illegal dumping of refuse.
Types of Forensic Science:
As I mentioned earlier, forensic investigators will look at samples like hair, blood, fingerprints, fluid, residues, any electronic device, hardware to establish how a crime took place. This is a universal definition, though there are several different types of forensics. Students who wish to pursue degrees in forensic sciences have many choices available to them to choose from. Below I’ve listed the various types of forensic sciences you may consider.
- Document examination
- DNA analysis
- Digital/ Cyber Forensics
- Crime Scene Forensics
- Autopsy techniques
Who is A Forensic Scientist?
A Forensic scientist has been prepared to gather, preserve, and analyze samples of evidence of crime from crime scenes to ascertain the cause of possible deaths and who may have been responsible for it. While some forensic investigators travel to the crime location to obtain the evidence themselves, others just do their part in the laboratory, performing analysis on objects brought to them by colleagues from the field.
Aside from accumulating those samples from crime scenes, forensic scientists also stand before courts to interpret their test results and testify as expert witnesses to either defend or prosecute the accused.
Why study Forensic Science?
Some people were driven out of passion and personal love for the job. Else, you may have a hard time in the career.
This is a harsh truth you may not want to hear. Genuinely speaking, though rewarding, criminal and forensic science is not nearly as fascinating as it appears on TV; instead, it is depressing. You would require a different set of mind and emotions to cope with it.
Yes, though quite tricky, forensic science is rewarding mainly. Due to the increase in crimes around the cities, the services of forensic experts have increased. Forensic experts help police, investigators, criminologists, and other law enforcement agencies find perpetrators of crimes.
Forensic science programs will educate you on how to “listen to the dead.” Both crime scenes and crime victims can give you clues about what happened, how it happened, when it happened, and most importantly: who did it.
You will learn how to examine trace details such as blood, hair, skin, and clothing fibers, as well as DNA and fingerprints and, in the case of a murder investigation, scars, patterns of blood loss, and the amount of decay.
You will learn how to investigate all of these to reconstruct an exact scenario and determine the crime. However, remember that forensic science is not just about murder investigations; the skills you learn will also help you determine whether a crime was committed in the first place.
What do Forensic Scientists do?
The work of a forensic scientist is essentially done at the place of a crime, where they gather samples of evidence of a crime and help determine what happened and how it happened.
In simple words, I’ve listed below some things forensic scientists do;
- Contribute and collaborate with federal and state law enforcement
- Secure crime scenes to assure that the evidence is not tampered with or infected
- Take precise measurements of each scene they come across
- Photograph all items of physical evidence, making sure to include a scale to know the exact size of the object being photographed
- Document and preserve all pieces of physical evidence
- Attend and photograph autopsies
- Maintain lab equipment and field equipment
- Testify in court regarding the evidence they collected at the crime scene
- To learn more about what forensic scientists do, read our article on crime scene investigator education.
List of Best Forensic Schools
Here are some of the best forensic science colleges in the United States. Many of these schools offer degree programs in forensic sciences. You will be able to find bachelor’s programs, master’s and doctoral programs in almost all of these schools.
- Boston University
- University of Pennsylvania
- George Washington University
- Saint Louis University
- Texas A & M
- Loyola University
- Syracuse University
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Drexel University
- George Mason University
- CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- St. Mary’s University
- University of Texas
- Ohio University
- Hofstra University
A career in forensic sciences will enable you to find career paths like crime scene investigators or detectives. Continuing your program in any of these schools listed above will give you the best training you would require for your practice as a top-notch forensic scientist.
Frequently Asked Questions on Forensic Science Schools
Is a forensic science degree necessary to work as a crime scene investigator or in a crime lab?
Educational requirements for CSI profession range from high school diploma plus job experience to bachelor’s degree. A degree in any field is often accepted (however degrees in job-related fields like forensics or criminals justice are preferred). Most crime labs will accept applicants with degrees in chemistry, biology, or other natural sciences, as well someone with a forensics degree.
Do law enforcement officers or federal agents require a forensic science degree?
No (or not necessarily). Most law enforcement agencies – whether local, state, or federal – require a four-year degree of some kind, but not precisely a forensic science degree. If you have a specific agency in mind, it is highly recommended you check their website about what type of degree they might require.
What classes should I take in high school to prepare myself for this major?
Science and mathematics courses will be the best preparation for students interested in the forensic science major. Chemistry, biology, physics, anatomy, and physiology courses give a solid foundation for students interested in this study. Algebra, advanced algebra, statistics, trigonometry, and pre-calculus also provide superb preparation. When available, advanced placement (AP) science, mathematics courses, and calculus courses are also strongly recommended.
How do I become a forensic scientist?
If it is your dream to work in a crime laboratory, you must secure a degree where you have a sound understanding in the basic sciences of chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics. For most jobs, you must also have a master’s degree in biology or chemistry. A major in criminal justice is not enough preparation for a career in forensic science.
I'm in high school; how can I work myself up to be a forensic scientist?
If you want to start your preparation for this career starting in high school, you should take as many mathematics and science courses as possible, develop public speaking skills, enhance your writing skills.
What career opportunities will be available with a forensic science undergraduate degree?
There are several career opportunities for graduates with a forensic science degree. Graduates of this major could pursue employment as a scientist in a federal, state, county, city, or private crime laboratory in public or private toxicology or other science (Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, particle analysis, etc.) laboratories with insurance companies, intelligence, or homeland security agencies, scientific supply companies, or the judicial community. One could also choose to pursue graduate study in criminalistics or forensic science, forensic DNA analysis, forensics chemistry, molecular biology, chemistry, or toxicology or attend medical or law school.