2022 Best Online Master's in Forensic Science
A forensic science master's degree is a critical stepping stone for students wishing to advance their career in this field. These online programs explore this specialization by melding scientific analysis with an understanding of criminal scenarios. Online students are conveniently positioned to study at their own pace, which allows them to work at an entry-level job in a law enforcement organization, law office, or private laboratory as they study. Upon graduation, advanced roles as consultants, analysts, or investigators may be achieved through the connections earned in their online master's degree program.
2022 Best Online Master's in Forensic Science
|Rank||School||Salary Score||Median Starting Salary|
|# 1||Champlain College||$76,851|
|# 2||Concordia University - Saint Paul||87||$69,006|
|# 3||West Virginia University||81||$59,928|
|# 4||Carlow University||77||$56,682|
|# 5||Stevenson University||77||$56,472|
|# 6||Michigan State University||74||$53,283|
|# 7||Arizona State University||73||$53,158|
|# 8||Nova Southeastern University||71||$51,292|
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2022 Online Colleges Offering Master's Degrees
#1 Champlain College
Champlain College is a medium-sized, nonprofit institution with designations of academic excellence from top government organizations, including the US National Security Agency. They offer a Master of Science in Digital Forensic Science that's aimed at turning students into scientists using hands-on investigative techniques focused on real-world scenarios. They also teach over 30 scripting languages and cloud and software applications. Career outcomes include digital forensics examiner, analyst, or consultant.
The program is 100% online using Canvas, a distance learning platform. Classes include Mobile Device Analysis, Scripting for Digital Forensic, and The Practice of Digital Investigations. Up to 36 credit hours are required including a capstone research thesis, which invites students to develop their own investigative methodology. Students may take two to three years to complete the program on a part- or full-time schedule.
#2 Concordia University - Saint Paul
The Master of Arts in Human Services - Forensic Behavioral Health from Concordia University - Saint Paul (CSP) is a full-time, 100% online program — where students learn how mental health interacts with forensics and how intervention can improve the lives of those caught in the criminal justice system. Students will engage with coursework such as Risk Assessment in Human Services and Forensic Behavioral Health Law for the Human Service Professional. The program requires 36 credit hours and generally takes two years to complete. A capstone project is mandatory in which students create a 50-page thesis on a behavioral topic related to forensics. Students can explore careers as a correctional caseworker, crisis intervention specialist, or detoxification specialist, among others.
As a medium-sized, nonprofit college, career services and tutoring are included for all of CSP's online students, as well as access to the distance learning program known as Blackboard.
#3 West Virginia University
West Virginia University's (WVU) Master of Science in Forensic and Fraud Examination takes on the study of financial crimes through the lenses of business, law, taxation, and data technology. The program consists of 30 credit hours, where students encounter core classes such as Fraud Data Analysis, Advanced Fraud Investigation, and Private Company Valuation. The final project asks students to study two real-life cases and present their findings in written and oral formats. Students may complete the entire program in around two years, with post-graduation career opportunities — including specialized accountants for government agencies or auditors for private firms.
WVU is a large, public university with academic advisors ready to help students navigate their fully online education process. All online coursework is taught through the Blackboard learning management system.
#4 Carlow University
The Master's in Forensic Accounting & Fraud Investigation from Carlow University is a fully-online 14-month program where students will learn to conduct digital financial investigations. Over the course of 30 credit hours, the program will explore White Collar Crime, Fraud & Forensics Community Experience, and Anti-Money Laundering. All coursework can be completed in two years on a full-time schedule. CelticOnline is used for all distance learning courses.
Carlow also has a Master of Business Administration in Fraud and Forensics, which teaches aspiring business leaders how to investigate and prevent fraudulent activity. While each program differs slightly, career outcomes remain similar with many students going on to become financial fraud investigators or forensic audit experts. Although Carlow is a small, nonprofit institution, they still manage to offer 24/7 online tech support for all distance learners.
#5 Stevenson University
Stevenson University is a medium-sized, nonprofit institution offering a comprehensive Master of Forensic Science that delves into the tools, technologies, and laws surrounding forensic evidence. Students can choose from a biology or chemistry concentration, with core classes such as Physical Evidence at Crime Scenes, DNA Analysis, and Toxicology. Coursework can be tailored to fit a working individual's schedule, with most students completing the program in one to two years. Stevenson uses Blackboard for their fully online classes.
Similar programs in forensics include the Master of Science in Forensic Studies and Master of Science in Forensic Investigation. Forensic studies focuses on the legal processes as they relate to forensic evidence, while the investigatory program involves analyzing, evaluating, and documenting criminal evidence. Each program has a slightly separate career avenue, although students from each program will be prepared to enter the public or private sector as forensic specialists.
#6 Michigan State University
The Master of Science in Cybercrime and Digital Investigation from Michigan State University is a 30-credit hour program focused on cybercriminology through detailed coursework in Crime Causation, Prevention and Control, Design and Analysis in Criminal Justice Research, and Legislative and Policy Responses to Cybercrime. The program will culminate in a capstone project on Analysis of Contemporary Cyberthreats, where students will complete a research brief on a specific threat. Students can reach graduation in two years on a full-time schedule, leading to advanced placement as a forensic detective, financial investigator, or cybercrime investigator.
MSU uses a flexible online format, with Brightspace operating as their primary learning platform. This large, public institution offers 24/7 tech support and career advisors.
#7 Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU) provides 100% online coursework through their Professional Science Master's in Forensic Science. Exploring the intersection of forensic lab work, scientific ethics, and the medicolegal fields, this master's degree is meant to elevate working professionals to the next level in their forensic science careers. The 36-credit course load includes Forensic Science and Governance, Applied Biostatistics in Medicine and Informatics, and Advanced Forensic Psychology — all culminating in a final scientific presentation.
ASU is a large, public university that uses LearnX to operate its fully online program, which can take two years to complete. Resources for distance learning students can be accessed on the student portal and include career advice, counseling, health webinars, and crisis intervention. Students could see career advancement as forensic nurses, laboratory managers, or forensic anthropologists.
#8 Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University's (NSU) Master of Science in Criminal Justice program features a concentration in Investigative Forensic Technology. The core coursework delves into the intricacies of the criminal justice system as a whole, while the concentration provides specialized training in forensic tools, procedures, and new technologies. Classes include Firearm, Fingerprints and Other Impression Evidence, DNA Technology, and Crime Scene. Many graduates go on to become forensic specialists at law enforcement agencies.
NSU is a medium-sized, nonprofit institution with a student support center dedicated to technical support services. Canvas is NSU's digital learning management system for online students. Students can earn their degree in around two years on a full-time schedule via mostly online coursework. Overall, thirty credits are required alongside a field-based practicum and thesis project.