Forensic Scientists aid the process of criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence. According to the US bureau of Labor Statistics, Forensic Science Technicians are expected to experience a growth of 14% in the years from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The 2018 median salary for this occupation is listed as $58,230, which roughly translates to $27.99 per hour.
If you want to become a part of this profession, you will need some particular education and experience. To get you started, here is a list of the top 10 schools for forensic scientists. The ranking is based on the list from Niche’s compilation of the ‘2020 Best Colleges with Forensic Science and Technology Degrees in America’. The ranking methodology is provided in detail on their website, and consists of factors such as academics, professors, diversity, campus and student life etc.
The list below provides an overview of the main forensic science programs at the universities discussed. For a detailed look into degrees, admission requirements, curriculum, faculty and campus facilities, visit their individual websites.
1 – University of Texas – Austin
The University of Texas in Austin is a highly rated public university. It has an enrollment of more than 50,000 students in its various programs, with admissions being fairly competitive. The university offers a stellar Forensic Science Certificate that uses an interdisciplinary approach for students interested in this field. Students seeking employment in forensic science labs are encouraged to enroll in this course.
2 – Penn State
Penn State University is a public college in Pennsylvania, with an enrollment of close to 100,000 students. It offers multiple forensic science programs, under its Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in its Eberly College of Science. It offers programs at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels, with an exciting and hands-on curriculum. The university has state-of-the-art lab facilities for criminal studies.
3 – Texas AM University
Located in College Station, Texas, the Texas A&M University is a large institution with an enrollment of more than 69,000 students at its main campus. The Department of Entomology at the Texas A&M University offers a Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program. It offers two degree options for Bachelor of Science in Forensic and Investigative Sciences Degree: Science Emphasis (FEPAC Accredited) and Pre-Law Emphasis (Non-FEPAC Accredited).
4 – Syracuse University
Situated in Syracuse, New York, Syracuse University offers a variety of programs to the nearly 20,000 students enrolled in its different programs. The forensic science program at the university prepares students for careers in crime solving through forensics. The degree would involve studying subjects like chemistry, biology, earth sciences and psychology etc. The university offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree under its forensic science school.
5 – Saint Louis University
Saint Louise is a top-notch private, Catholic university located in St. Louis, Missouri. With an enrollment of close to 13,000 students, the university offers a lot of personalized attention. The university offers a Forensic Science, B.S., which provides a broad understanding of the fields of biology, chemistry, anthropology, physics, medicine and sociology. The department also has connections with various forensic science labs in the St. Louis metropolitan area and provides students the opportunity for practical learning.
6 – Ohio Northern University
The Ohio Northern University is a private, Christian university situated in Ada, Ohio. With an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, the university is rather small. However, it offers a concentrated forensic biology program, with a lot of attention to detail, curriculum and practical studies. Here you will enjoy small class sizes and good, close relations with the professors. The forensic biology program prepares students for careers in forensic labs, performing functions such as DNA investigations, toxicology reports and drug analysis.
7 – University of Nebraska – Lincoln
The University of Nebraska is a public university with an enrollment of nearly 25,000 students. It offers forensic science programs under its Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It offers three paths for students interested in this field – Forensic Biology, Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Chemistry. All of these are 4-year long programs with varying curriculums. Students graduating from these programs usually end up working in crime labs or as crime scene investigators. Some students have also found work in medical and other non-forensic labs.
8 – University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida is a public university located in Orlando, Florida. It has a huge student body with nearly 69,000 students. It offers a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science with two track options – Biochemistry and Chemistry. The Biochemistry track is designed to teach students about DNA and other biochemical evidence. The Chemistry track leads to multiple careers in forensic science and related fields. Students will also be required to meet Departmental Residency Requirements of at least 30 semester hours. Details for this can be found on the website of the university.
9 – University of Scranton
The University of Scranton is a top-notch private, Catholic university, situated in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Even though it is a small institution, with an enrollment of above 5,000 students, it offers a lot of benefits such as a close-knit community, a good student-teacher ratio and small class size. The University of Scranton offers a forensic science program specifically designed for law-enforcement majors. This major covers the study of rules of evidence, along with an in-depth understanding of using chemistry, physics and general science in various phases of investigation.
10 – Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University is a private institution, located in Chicago, Illinois. It has an enrollment of close to 17,000 students and the admission process is somewhat competitive. It offers two programs for those interested in the field of forensic science – a BS in Forensic Science and a Minor in Computer Crime and Forensics. The BS in Forensic Science combines coursework in areas such as biology, criminal justice, mathematics, physics and anthropology. Students enrolled in this program choose from two tracks – the Forensic Biology/DNA track or the Forensic Chemistry track.