Best Online Bachelor’s in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation Programs

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Excelsior College 78.13 3/5 40% Albany, NY

At Excelsior, students have access to an online forensic science degree that prepares them for a career in law enforcement and that’s completely online. The program is designed for working adults and includes a core set of criminal justice courses and a variety of investigative forensic subjects. Subjects include forensic pathology, computer forensics, and forensic psychology. Students may choose to focus their studies on elective areas such as drug crimes, domestic violence and family issues, and cultural diversity. Learners must earn 120 credits to complete the degree, which also includes a capstone project. The major consists of 33 credits; at least 18 credits must be upper-level courses. Students must earn a 2.0 GPA or higher in courses that pertain to their major.

Excelsior is located in Albany, New York. The school has a generous credit transfer policy. There are opportunities for students to earn credit for military experience and previous professional accomplishments.

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2 Liberty University 73.75 4/5 46% Lynchburg, VA

Liberty, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, is a nonprofit, private Christian institution of higher learning. The school’s forensic science online degree program offers students a foundational understanding of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Students gain skills in forensics and criminal law that they will be able to use in their careers. This bachelor of science in criminal justice focuses on crime scene investigation and requires 120 credit hours, at least 30 credits of which must be taken through Liberty. Current law enforcement professionals may qualify for academic credit toward their degree if they have completed all the requirements of an accredited police academy. Graduates are prepared for a variety of professional roles, including crime scene technicians, senior forensic analysts, criminalists, and crime scene investigators. Courses include crime scene photography and management, computer and cyber forensics, terrorism, criminal investigation, and more. Full-time students complete the program in about four years.

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3 University of Maryland-University College 68.13 3/5 4% Adelphi, MD

The University College is located in Adelphi and has one of the region's top online forensic science degrees, allowing students to learn the skills necessary to become successful crime scene investigators for local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies. The program, available completely online, includes 120 total credits, and the university lets students transfer up to 90 credits from any accredited college. Courses include firearms and toolmarks analysis, fingerprint analysis, and cyber crime and security.

Students learn how to apply the scientific method to the field, take into account legal precedents, and use best practices in crime scene investigation. Students will be able to access, interpret, and apply criminal justice research and use ethical principles related to investigations. The program can prepare students for the Bloodstain Pattern Analyst Certification, the Crime Scene Certification, and the Latent Print Certification. This program is also available as a minor.

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4 National University 63.13 4/5 23% La Jolla, CA

National’s forensic science degree online gives students the skills they need to be successful in a career in law enforcement. The program prepares students for careers as forensic investigators at the local, state, and federal level, while also training them to effectively analyze and reconstruct crime scenes. Problem solving, critical thinking, ethics, and the integration of science and technology are all key aspects of the program and its coursework.

The college's tuition and fee structure is straightforward, with students in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean paying $170 per undergraduate credit and students outside the region paying $300 per credit. Discounts are available to some members of the U.S. military. The program requires students to earn 120 credits. National is a private university located in Puerto Rico, with campus locations in Bayamon and Ponce.

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