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The 11 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Science Degree Programs

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The 11 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Science Degree Programs
RankSchoolLocation
1Florida International UniversityMiami, FL
2Oklahoma State UniversityStillwater, Oklahoma
3Penn State World CampusCentre County, PA
4University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL
5University of FloridaGainesville, FL
6La Salle UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
7Grand Canyon UniversityPhoenix, AZ
8Emporia State UniversityEmporia, Kansas
9Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo, FL
10Stevenson UniversityStevenson, Maryland, and Owings Mills, Maryland
11DeSales UniversityCenter Valley, Pennsylvania

Successful Student has ranked the 11 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Science Degree Programs in the United States.

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Successful Student ranks schools for the benefit of students, designed to be a road map of the best schools for online Master’s degrees in Forensic Science.

Traditionally, most Forensic Scientists begin with obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Science, or, alternatively, a natural, biological or physical science. Forensic Scientists need a thorough understanding of fundamental scientific principles (since Forensics is a scientific discipline). Bachelor’s degrees provide this foundation. These Master’s degree programs should prepare students for the professional world of Forensic Science careers. Forensic Science disciplines according to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences:

Certain leadership positions in crime laboratories often require an advanced degree in Forensic Science. At the end of the ranking there are schools that offer related online degrees in Forensic Science, such as certificates, that are worth exploring.


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The 11 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Science Degree Programs

1.Florida International University

Miami, FL

The International Forensic Research Institute has a dedication to bring scientific research, education and technology to the forefront in the study of forensic science. Faculty experts work with a range of partners to perform research and provide forensic expertise.

Florida International University includes the Center for the Administration of Justice, and the Global Forensic and Justice Center, and the University serves as a member of the Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science. The Florida International University team includes the National Forensic Science Technology Center.

The Professional Science Master in Forensic Science online degree provides a curriculum in forensic science with coursework in management designed to provide professional development opportunities.

The students have access to laboratory instrumentation and research facilities via their participation in hands-on workshops. The program’s final project is a “real-world” internship in a private-sector or public-sector forensic science enterprise.

Students in the Professional Master in Forensic Science online degree program develop professional skills in areas such as expert testimony, communication, forensic science, leadership, business and management.

Credit requirements: 32 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Forensic Analysis
  • Forensic Biology
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Chemistry and Analysis of Drugs
  • Organization Information Systems
  • Forensic Science Leadership
  • Intermediate Statistics
  • Accounting for Managers

Learning enrollment options: Full-time

Program length: Four Semesters (fall, spring, summer, and fall)

Start dates: Students may apply for admission for Fall Semesters only.

Admissions and transfer credit information:
In order to apply, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree in some form of a natural science or science education and hold a G.P.A. of 3.0 or greater from an accredited college or university.

The online applications require official transcripts. Admissions also require two letters of recommendation and a letter of intent entailing the applicant’s interest in the program and their future career goals.

Accreditation: The Master of Science in Forensic Science degree has accreditation from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and the Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

2.Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, Oklahoma

Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences emphasizes graduate and professional degrees for more than 1,000 enrolled students.

The online Master’s in Forensic Sciences degree provides multiple online paths of study.

The School provides an online track emphasis in the following areas: Arson, Explosives, Firearms and Toolmarks Investigation, Forensic Investigative Sciences, and Forensic Science Administration.

Credit requirements: 39 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Survey of Forensic Sciences
  • Ethical Research and Scientific Writing
  • Quality Assurance in Forensic Science
  • Criminalistics and Evidence Analysis
  • The Law and Expert Evidence
  • Forensic Statistics

Learning enrollment options: Part-time or full-time

Program length: Three to four years

Start dates: Fall and spring

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree. For the AEFTI and FSA tracks, applicants must meet a minimum of one-year professional experience. Applicants must submit official transcripts for evaluation. The admissions team requires three letters of recommendation, standardized test scores, and a statement of purpose detailing academic and professional goals.

Accreditation: OSU’s Master of Science in Forensic Sciences degree has accreditation from the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

3.Penn State World Campus

Centre County, PA

Penn State World Campus, the online division of Penn State University, offers numerous undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security recognizes Penn State as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

The School recommends the online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security with an Information Security and Forensics option for computer and information systems specialists. This degree is a good option, perhaps, for those who seek to move into the public sector of Homeland Security.

The curriculum covers information security and assurance, cyber and network security, cyber threat defense and forensics, security policy development, security audit and compliance, emergency management across multiple venues, and much more.

Credit requirements: 33 credit hours

  • Selection of required courses:
  • Policies and Programs
  • Social and Ethical Issues
  • Violence, Threats, Terror, and Insurgency
  • Computer and Cyber Forensics
  • Information Security Management
  • Network Management and Security
  • Foundations of Information Security and Assurance

Students complete the program with a capstone research project

Program length: One to two years

Start dates: fall and spring

Admissions and transfer credit information:

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in a technical or scientific discipline or must have experience gained through the workforce or profession training in regards to information technologies.

Applicants must submit official transcripts displaying a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students who do not meet the GPA requirements must submit standardized testing scores. The Admissions team also looks for three letter of reference and a professional resume.
Accreditation: Penn State World Campus received accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

4.University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

The University of Central Florida’s online division offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate level degrees.

The online Master in Forensic Science program is available, but not limited to, full-time students and current practicing professionals who seek to further their education in forensic science. The online degree includes three paths of study: Forensic Analysis, Forensic Biochemistry, and Forensic Professional.

Credit requirements: 32-34 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor’s Degree

Selection of required courses:

  • Topics in Forensic Science
  • The Forensic Expert in the Courtroom
  • Quality Assurance for Forensic Scientists

Students seeking to fulfill a masters in Forensic Biochemistry and Forensic Analysis degree, must perform original research and defend their own written thesis. A Master’s in Forensic Professional does not require a written thesis, however it does require considerable coursework and an independent study capstone project.

Learning enrollment options: Full-Time and part-time

Program length: Two years (full-time)

Start dates: Fall (Two application opportunities- Fall Priority: Jan 15 or Fall: Mar 1)

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students with undergraduate degrees in forensic science, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and biology are encouraged to apply. Admissions team requires GRE and bachelor’s degree prior to admissions.

Applicants must also send all official transcripts from accredited institutions.

Admissions accepts up to six credit hours for transfer applicants if credits are from an accredited institution.

Accreditation: The University of Central Florida has accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

5.University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

University of Florida’s College of Pharmacy is the oldest division in the UF Health Science Center, managing five academic departments and five centers of research and collaboration. The College offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees to a diverse student body.

The Master’s in Forensic Science online degree specializes in four different sectors of forensic studies: Forensic Science, Forensic DNA and Serology, Forensic Drug Chemistry, and Forensic Toxicology.

The curriculum provides a comprehensive foundation in knowledge and skills directly applicable to the work field.

Credit requirements: 32 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Biological Evidence and Serology
  • Natural Medicinal Products
  • Forensic Analysis of DNA
  • Toxic Substances

Online instruction style: Asynchronous

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Program length: Two-three years, students have up to seven years to complete all requirements

Start dates: fall, spring, and summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in some form of science from an accredited college or university. The University of Florida, College of Pharmacy requires a GPA of 3.0 or greater, Verbal GRE score of 153 or greater, and a quantitative GRE score of 144 or greater.

Accreditation: The University of Florida received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

6.La Salle University

Philadelphia, PA

La Salle University, a private, Roman Catholic university, provides traditional, online, and hybrid courses and programs. The University has an affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The online Master’s in Economic Crime Forensics program emphasizes areas such as economic crime definition/analysis/prevention, legal/corporate compliance/ethical issues, economic risk analysis/mitigation, and investigative practices/principles/prosecution.

Credit requirements: 36 to 39

Selection of required courses:

  • Fraud Examination: Principles and Practice
  • Computer and Internet Fraud
  • Corporate Ethics and Compliance
  • Criminal Justice and Legal Concepts
  • Litigation Support Practices and Procedures
  • Financial Fraud
  • Occupational Fraud
  • Information Security
  • Leadership Assessment and Evaluation
  • Fraud Detection and Prevention: Special Cases
  • Capstone Thesis

Online instruction style: Synchronous

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Program length: 12 to 14 three credit courses

Start dates: fall, spring, summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Admissions requires a completed application form including an official transcript from all previous accredited colleges and universities. Candidates must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college and or university with a GPA of 3.0 or greater.

Admissions also requires a professional resume and two letters of recommendation from professors at the college level. If an applicant has been “out of school” for two or more years, the University accepts letters of recommendation from current or previous supervisors at the applicant’s place of professional employment(s).

Accreditation: La Salle University has accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

7.Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

Grand Canyon University is one of the leading universities in America for online education. The online Master of Science in Forensic Science is a popular degree option for working professionals.The degree is fully online, and consists of 36 credit hours. Though this is a fully online master’s degree, online students will still get the benefit of hands-on laboratory experience by using at-home lab equipment in coursework. Students gain the theoretical knowledge, and the actual hands-on experience of professional Forensic Science practices.

Course selections include:

  • Crime Scene Processing and Medicolegal Death Investigation
  • General Principles of Drug Chemistry and Forensic Toxicology
  • Applied Statistics for Forensic Science
  • Advanced Topics in Forensic Science

A bachelor’s degree is required for admission.

8.Emporia State University

Emporia, Kansas

The Department of Physical Sciences provides baccalaureate degrees and graduate degrees as well as pre-professional programs and certificate programs.

The School created the Master of Science in Forensic Science program with input from crime lab directors across the Midwest.
Students obtain experience in an array of analytical techniques in forensic biology, forensic chemistry, trace evidence, and toxicology. They learn to effectively communicate their findings to a wide array of audiences
Credit requirements: 40 hours

Selection of courses:

  • Biological & Physical Evidence
  • Molecular Techniques for Forensic Scientists
  • Forensic Science Seminar
  • Criminalistics (and Laboratory)
  • Toxicology

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates need a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Candidates must complete an Emporia State graduate application and an MSFS application.

Candidates must provide three letters of reference and official transcripts of all undergraduate coursework or any graduate courses they have taken.

The Higher Learning Commission provides Emporia State University with accreditation.

9.Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, FL

The College of Education & Social Services combines a liberal arts tradition with highly specialized training in the education and social service fields.
The Master of Science in Forensic Science online program at Saint Leo University covers areas such as ethical and legal issues in criminal justice administration, hostage negations, terrorism, personal law, and many more. The curriculum requires students to complete five courses in criminal justice, four courses in forensic science, and two electives.

Credit requirements: 36 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Legal Issues in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Public Policy Making in Criminal Justice
  • Leadership Applications in Criminal Justice
  • Applied Project in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Advanced Forensic Science
  • Forensic and Medico-legal Death Investigation
  • Crime Scene Investigation and Management
  • Two Elective Courses

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Program length: Two to three years

Start dates: fall, spring, and summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must have some form of a science Bachelor’s degree from an accredited University or College. Applicants must submit all prior official transcripts from all Universities or Colleges attended, and must have earned a 3.0 or greater.

Accreditation: Saint Leo University Online received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

10.Stevenson University

Stevenson, Maryland, and Owings Mills, Maryland

Stevenson University, a private university, provides undergraduate and graduate students a career-focused education.

The online Master of Science in Forensic Studies program prepares students to perform investigations and evaluate evidence to provide their findings in legal proceedings as experts in forensic accounting or digital forensics.

Credit requirements: 36

Selection of required courses:

  • Foundations of Justice
  • Evidence
  • Forensic Journal Research and Review
  • Investigative Techniques/Interviewing
  • Investigative Techniques/Physical Evidence
  • Mock Trial Capstone
  • Five Elective Courses

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Program length: On average, students finish in two to three semesters

Start dates: summer, fall, and spring (actual dates vary by course)

Admissions and transfer credit information:
Candidates must complete the online application form and provide official transcript(s) from all previous accredited colleges and or universities. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college and or university with a GPA of 3.0 or greater.

Candidates must provide a personal statement expressing academic and career goals.

Transfer applicants can transfer up to, but not exceeding, six-credit hours from a four-year institution.

Accreditation: The Stevenson University Online forensic program has accreditation from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Stevenson University has accreditation from the Commission on Higher Education.

11.DeSales University

Center Valley, Pennsylvania

DeSales University, a private Catholic University with a Salesian mission, offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The online Master of Criminal Justice with an Investigative Forensics concentration utilizes science to address legal issues in criminal investigations, with a focus on violent crimes. Students learn how forensic professionals collect and process evidence in crime scene investigations.
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Concentration Courses:

  • Advanced Crime Scene Investigation
  • Behavioral Criminology
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Forensic Science in the Courtroom
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Medicolegal Investigation and Identification

Students can take the courses full-time or part-time.
Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates need a bachelor’s degree from a college or university with accreditation from a regional accrediting organization and a background or interest in the criminal justice field.

Candidates need to submit three letters of recommendation and a personal statement which serves as a demonstration of their ability to write at the graduate level.

DeSales University considers all three-credit courses as eligible for transfer, with the exception of internships, from institutions with accreditation from regional accrediting organizations, if the courses have a grade of C- or higher and are consistent with DeSales University’s mission, philosophy, and liberal arts tradition.

Students can transfer a maximum of 25 courses of three or more credits into DeSales University.

DeSales University has accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


The Best Online Master’s in Forensic Science Degree Programs | Ranking Guidelines

This ranking was formulated for the benefit of students, to help students navigate education in online Master’s Degrees in Forensic Science. As such we chose ranking factors that we decided as being most beneficial to students, which are fully online master’s programs, a comprehensive curriculum in Forensic Science (with an emphasis on teaching the science behind Forensics), variety of courses, awards, and academic reputation. There are different emphases and specialties of Forensic Science in these degree programs written about here, so prospective students are encouraged to find their concentration or subject of interest within these school entries.

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