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

December 15, 2020

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Forensic science and crime scene investigation are vital aspects of successful criminal investigations. Fingerprints and bullet casings may seem like foolproof evidence on TV, but it takes a trained eye to analyze and match evidence found at a crime scene and then skillfully prepare that evidence for trial.

Crime scene investigation involves working in the field, while forensic science typically takes place in a laboratory. Graduates in these fields can find work as forensic medical examiners, crime scene investigators, and crime laboratory analysts. This page covers common career paths, degrees and requirements, admissions information, and the best forensic science colleges. Read on to learn more.

What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation Programs? Here Are Our Top 3:

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#1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
#2 Colorado State University-Global Campus Aurora, CO
#3 Columbia College Columbia, MO
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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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

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Liberty University View School Profile Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University is an evangelical liberal arts college that has offered online classes since 1985. The school's bachelor's in criminal justice - crime scene investigator degree is a 120-credit program that is offered completely online. Students can graduate in less than four years.

This online program consists of eight-week courses. Participants take classes such as crime scene photography and criminal investigations. Distance learners have access to online student communities as well as an online writing center. Transfer applicants can transfer up to 75% of their total degree credits.

Having frozen tuition costs for the last six years, Liberty offers an affordable college degree. The cost of tuition during fall 2021 was $390 per credit. Prospective students can also receive discounted tuition if they are current or former military or emergency response personnel.

Liberty is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Colorado State University-Global Campus View School Profile Aurora, CO

Colorado State University Global provides several online degree options, including a bachelor's in criminal justice degree. Students in this program can complete a 15-credit crime scene investigation specialization.

A total of 120 credits are needed to graduate with a bachelor's in criminal justice degree. Notable courses include investigative and forensic interviewing and an introduction to forensic psychology.

CSU offers low tuition rates for online courses: $350 a credit as of fall 2021. Online tuition has not increased in almost 10 years. Military discounts are available, as well as discounts for employees of corporate partners, including companies such as AT&T, Pfizer, and Capital One. Prospective students can enroll in accelerated courses and transfer in up to 90 transfer credits.

CSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Columbia College View School Profile Columbia, MO

Students who want to obtain a bachelor's in forensic science degree online may be interested in attending Columbia College. Graduates of this BS program can pursue many careers, including forensic toxicologist, fingerprint specialist, and crime scene technician.

In total, students must complete 120 credits, including 65 credits of core requirements and 25 elective credits. Participants also choose to pursue a chemistry emphasis or a biology emphasis. Major-related classes include statistics for the behavioral and natural sciences, principles of biology, and laws of criminal evidence.

Faculty deliver online courses through eight-week sessions. As of fall 2021, online tuition was $375 per credit. CC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation Program?

Online bachelor's in forensic science and crime scene investigation programs may appeal to individuals who enjoy using the scientific method to analyze minute details and articulate their findings.

A web-based experience can provide the same coursework as an in-person program.

Students learn about the U.S. criminal justice system, crime resolution procedure, police accountability, and legal processes, while also taking courses in core subjects such as biology, chemistry, and psychology.

Programs are generally 120-134 credits, and full-time students typically take four or five years to complete their degree. Students can also expect a capstone experience in their final semester. A web-based experience can provide the same coursework as an in-person program, making this option suitable for students who are working or have additional commitments. Students can also take part in virtual labs and crime scenes. These programs typically award a bachelor of science.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation Program?

Depending on a student's chosen concentration, a bachelor's in forensic science and crime scene investigation program has a wide variety of possible courses. Students may focus on the minutiae of crime scenes themselves or work on laboratory analysis. Courses can expand beyond science to cover government policy and even photography.

Fingerprint Analysis

Students learn about latent fingerprints. Coursework covers different methods used to lift prints effectively to analyze and prepare them for a forensic setting. Additionally, students learn about various factors that can affect fingerprint analysis.

Forensic Chemistry

Forensic chemistry courses introduce students to the basic chemical principles used to apply forensics for criminal investigations and litigation. Students learn about fundamental statistics, chromatography, instrumentation used to examine evidence related to substances, volatiles, and debris found at a crime scene.

Criminal Investigation

This course covers constitutional requirements for investigations and techniques used for crime scene analysis, including the use of subpoenas and interviews to collect evidence. Students learn the proper steps to take to document and preserve evidence, as well as the continuum of force officials use to arrest suspects.

Crime Scene Photography

Photographic evidence is essential to the field, and students in this course learn to apply photographic principles to forensic science. Coursework focuses on aerial, macro, and underwater photography, as well as the function and use of digital cameras. Students need to have their own cameras for online courses.

Forensic Biology

Courses in forensic biology teach students about the proper procedures used to analyze biological evidence, either at a crime scene or in a lab. Students discuss the ethics of forensic science and learn how to be an expert witness in legal cases. Coursework may also cover toxicology, bone and DNA analysis, and working with blood spatters.

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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation?

With a projected increase of 14% from 2019-2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of forensic science technicians to grow much faster than the average occupation in the U.S. These workers make a median annual salary of $59,150.

However, the field is fairly small, currently employing about 17,000 workers. Despite the rapid projected growth rate, only about 2,400 new jobs are projected to be added to this field between 2019 and 2029. Therefore, graduates should expect competition for most jobs. Individuals who go on to earn a master's degree in crime scene investigation can improve their marketability to employers.

Learn more about forensic science careers and see where an online bachelor's in forensic science and crime scene investigation degree can take you.

true Forensic Science Technician

Forensic science technicians collect and analyze evidence used for criminal investigations. They may work in laboratories or at crime scenes. Professionals often work regular business hours, though crime scene investigation may involve unusual hours and require travel to various locations.

Forensic Medical Examiner

Also called forensic pathologists, these individuals are medical doctors who perform autopsies on deceased individuals to determine the cause of death, as well as any other evidence that might be present in the deceased's cells, tissues, or fluids. To qualify for this position, individuals must first earn a bachelor's degree, followed by a medical degree and residency, and then additional certification.

Blood Splatter Analyst

These individuals often work on cases featuring violent crimes. They focus on the small details of particular blood splatters, sometimes working with very little blood or evidence. They analyze and collect evidence at a crime scene, and take samples back to a lab for further study.

Forensic Ballistics Expert

Ballistics experts examine guns and bullet casings during criminal investigations, collecting and analyzing evidence. They may need to search for tiny details or imperfections in a weapon or its ammunition. Experts also work out bullet shots, their angles, and gunpowder stains. They must then prepare their findings in reports and potentially act as expert witnesses.

Polygraph Examiner

Polygraph examiners assess the credibility of individuals tested with a polygraph machine. Graduates may be able to work for the CIA, but they need to become federally certified. Examiners must have excellent social and interpersonal skills and prove that they are trustworthy.

Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation not for you? Check out these related careers.

Criminal Justice Careers Behavioral Psychology Careers Chemistry Careers

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation Programs

Is an online forensic science degree worth it?

Forensic science technicians earn a median pay of $59,150 annually, and the field is projected to grow more than three times faster than average. If you enjoy problem-solving and engaging in critical thinking, a forensic science degree could be well worth your investment.

What can I do with a bachelor's in forensic science?

A bachelor's in forensic science can lead to many different careers. Graduates can pursue work as forensic scientists, analytical chemists, toxicologists, and more. Jobs are available with a variety of employers, in both the private sector and with government agencies.

How many forensic science majors get jobs?

According to the BLS, the role of forensic science technician has a projected growth rate of 14% from 2019-2029 — much faster than the national average for all jobs. Police and detective positions are projected to grow 5% within the same time frame, and these jobs are expected to be less competitive.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in forensic science degree?

According to PayScale, graduates with a BS in forensic science make an average annual salary of $55,100. It is possible to earn over six figures in this field, although these jobs may require further education in the form of a master's degree.

What are the highest-paying jobs you can get with a bachelor's in forensic science?

Some of the highest-paying positions that require a bachelor's in forensic science are intelligence analyst ($70,470 annually), and laboratory manager ($70,350 annually). Additionally, policemen and detectives earn a median annual salary of $65,170.

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