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The Best 16 Colleges for Forensic Science

What’s Covered:

 

Forensic science is an important part of the criminal justice system. It’s also an exciting and rewarding major — a discipline you can pursue at the undergraduate level at many colleges and universities. Here we’ll take a look at the best schools in the country for future professionals in the forensic science field.

 

How We Made This List

 

To create this list, we took into account a number of factors, including:

 

  • Reputation of the program
  • Overall school quality
  • Median earnings of graduates of the major/program
  • Popularity of the major within the school
  • Size of the program relative to school size
  • Student-faculty ratio

 

16 Best Forensic Science Schools

 

1. Pennsylvania State University | Penn State

 

Location: University Park, PA

Undergrad Enrollment: 40,300

Acceptance Rate: 54%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1150-1340/25-30

 

Penn State’s forensic science program is an inter-college collaboration among different academic units, providing a foundation in areas like the biological, physical, and mathematical sciences, along with topics in criminalistics, forensic chemistry, forensic biology, crime scene investigation, and social sciences. Students can choose between two degree emphases: Biology and Chemistry. They can take advantage of a state-of-the-art crime laboratory and crime scene training facilities.

 

2. Saint Louis University | SLU

 

Location: St. Louis, MO

Undergrad Enrollment: 9,700

Acceptance Rate: 56%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1160-1370/25-31

 

SLU’s forensic science major employs the methods, tools, and perspectives of biology, chemistry, anthropology, sociology, physics, mathematics, and medicine to help students gain a solid background in this intersection of law and science. Students will graduate with a deep knowledge of scientific methodology across numerous industries. 

 

The department has connections with forensic science laboratories in the St. Louis metropolitan area, and students have the opportunity to participate in fieldwork internships and/or independent research at multiple facilities. The lab hosts a crime scene investigation course and the Forensic Science Club.

 

3. George Mason University

 

Location: Fairfax, VA

Undergrad Enrollment: 26,100

Acceptance Rate: 89%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1100-1300/24-30

 

George Mason’s Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science offers an exploration into several areas within the discipline, including field and laboratory applications, such as crime scene investigation, forensic DNA, forensic chemistry, trace evidence, firearms examination, fingerprints, arson, and drug analysis. Students may pursue tracks in Forensic Biology or Forensic Chemistry, each offering an innovative, hands-on curriculum. 

 

The university has relationships with many forensic science agencies and labs, including the FBI, enabling students to gain real experience in cutting-edge facilities. 

 

4. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

 

Location: New York, NY

Undergrad Enrollment: 13,300

Acceptance Rate: 37%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1000-1150

 

The Forensic Science major offers three paths: Criminalistics, Molecular Biology, and Toxicology. No matter what their concentration, students gain skills in gathering and interpreting scientific data, concepts in the physical and biological sciences, research, scientific communication, and more. Students are required to complete an internship as part of the program. Additionally, they will have access to a range of experiential learning opportunities.

 

5. University of Central Florida | UCF

 

Location: Orlando, FL

Undergrad Enrollment: 58,800

Acceptance Rate: 45%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1160-1340/25-30

 

The forensic science program at UCF offers two tracks, biochemistry and chemistry, giving students two different lenses through which they can study the discipline. Students learn about the instruments used, scientific writing, how to conduct and evaluate scientific investigations, and the role they’ll play in the judiciary system. They will also gain hands-on experience in a state-of-the-art laboratory.

 

6. Hofstra University

 

Location: Hempstead, NY

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,700

Acceptance Rate: 69%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1160-1330/24-31

 

An interdisciplinary program, Hofstra’s Forensic Science program provides foundations in chemistry, biology, physics, math, law, psychology, and even photography. The laboratories at the university feature state-of-the-art equipment, giving students exposure to tools found in modern forensic laboratories. Students also have access to opportunities such as research, internships, peer teaching, and more.

 

7. Loyola University Chicago

 

Location: Chicago

Undergrad Enrollment: 11,900

Acceptance Rate: 71%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1130-1330/25-31

 

Through Loyola’s Forensic Science program, students will gain broad knowledge related to chemistry, biology, mathematics, and physics, along with an understanding of the criminal justice system, technical expertise, and a host of skills. In state-of-the-art laboratories, students study pattern, biology-DNA, and chemistry. The program is accredited by the Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

 

8. Syracuse University

 

Location: Syracuse, NY

Undergrad Enrollment: 15,200

Acceptance Rate: 69%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1160-1370/25-30

 

At Syracuse, Forensic Science is an Integrated Learning Major (ILM), meant to complement a range of additional majors, exposing students to the field through multiple lenses and asking them to apply their skills to different disciplines. Students will participate in diverse coursework and real-world field experiences while taking advantage of extensive lab resources. The university is home to the Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute. 

 

Forensic science majors are also encouraged to study abroad.

 

9. University of Texas at Austin | UT Austin

 

Location: Austin, TX

Undergrad Enrollment: 40,800

Acceptance Rate: 32%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1210-1470/26-33

 

A Forensic Science Certificate from UT Austin provides an interdisciplinary perspective for students interested in careers in forensic science. All undergraduate students are eligible to participate. Other opportunities related to the discipline at UT Austin include the debate and forensics program, founded in 1883 as the Athenaeum Literary Society. 

 

10. Texas A&M University

 

Location: College Station, TX

Undergrad Enrollment: 53,700

Acceptance Rate: 63%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1160-1380/25-32

 

One of two bachelor-degree programs in Texas that are nationally accredited by FEPAC, TAMU’s Forensic and Investigative Sciences program offers a life sciences-based education, helping students develop concrete skills and used cutting-edge technology to learn the ins and outs of the field. Students may choose between a Science Emphasis track and a Pre-Law Emphasis track (non-FEPAC accredited).

 

11. University of Nebraska–Lincoln | UNL

 

Location: Lincoln, NE

Undergrad Enrollment: 20,800

Acceptance Rate: 78%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1110-1320/22-28

 

UNL’s forensic science program equips students with technical knowledge and hands-on experience, allowing them to apply their skills to a range of relevant scenarios and draw meaningful conclusions. Students benefit from small class sizes, encouraging them to develop relationships with professionals in the field who serve as mentors and leaders. They also have the opportunity to undertake internships, research, and capstone experience.

 

12. Virginia Commonwealth University | VCU

 

Location: Richmond

Undergrad Enrollment: 23,600

Acceptance Rate: 91%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1060-1250/21-28

 

The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science program at VCU provides students with the skills and experiential learning they need to succeed in a career in the field. The program offers Forensic Biology, Forensic Chemistry, and Physical Evidence concentrations. All majors can gain real-world work experience in forensic laboratories through internships while earning academic credit. 

 

13. Towson University

 

Location: Towson, MD

Undergrad Enrollment: 19,800

Acceptance Rate: 79%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1040-1200/20-25

 

Towson’s Forensic Chemistry Major prepares students for positions as working scientists in business, industry, and government careers or advanced graduate work. The program is application-focused, helping majors hone their laboratory skills as they relate to forensic analysis. Students choose among a general forensic science track, a trace evidence/drug analysis track, or a DNA track.

 

14. San Jose State University | SJSU

 

Location: San Jose, CA

Undergrad Enrollment: 27,300

Acceptance Rate: 67%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1030-1260/19-26

 

The Department of Justice Studies’ Forensic Science program offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Forensic Chemistry, Forensic Biology, Digital Evidence, and Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). Each curriculum meets the standards of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Forensic Education Program Accreditation. SJSU also offers a Minor in Forensic Studies, appealing to students across a range of majors.

 

15. West Virginia University | WVU

 

Location: Morgantown, WV

Undergrad Enrollment: 21,100

Acceptance Rate: 84%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: N/A

 

At WVU, students may choose among a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Biology, Forensic Chemistry, and Forensic Examiner. Each path equips students with a strong background in the fundamental science and applied practice associated with forensic science. All programs are  accredited by the Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). As part of their degree, students must complete an internship.

 

16. Rutgers University–Newark

 

Location: Newark, NJ

Undergrad Enrollment: 9,100

Acceptance Rate: 74%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1010-1170/18-23

 

Through the Rutgers–Newark program in Criminal Justice, a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program, part of the School of Arts and Sciences, students can explore topics in forensic science. Relevant courses expose students to theory and practice in scientific methods and techniques applied to criminal investigation. Students will participate in lab work and field trips, along with internships and other opportunities through Criminal Justice.

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance to These Top Forensic Science Schools?

 

What are your chances of getting into top forensics schools? Find out with our free chancing engine. This tool will use your real data to predict your odds of admission to hundreds of colleges and universities around the country — and give you tips on how to improve your profile.

 


Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.