Masters Degree in Forensic Science: Program Overviews

Ger information on master's degree programs in the forensic sciences. Learn about prerequisites, course requirements, job growth predictions and average salary information.

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Essential Information

A forensic scientist uses scientific means to investigate crimes, yielding information that is legally admissible in court. The master's degree program in forensic science is the most common educational course for aspiring forensic scientists. These programs provide students with the technical proficiencies and theoretical knowledge necessary to perform in-depth crime scene analysis.

Forensic science is a multidisciplinary field, incorporating areas of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology and law. Applicants to a master's program in forensic science must hold a bachelor's degree, generally in a science. Master's degree students may be required to choose a concentration, such as forensic biology, forensic chemistry or forensic anthropology.

Through master's degree programs in forensic science, candidates learn how to use laboratory equipment to perform blood analyses and toxicology procedures. Graduate forensic science programs also emphasize academic research; therefore, each candidate must complete a thesis project under the supervision of a professor. The length of these programs varies from school to school and depends on if the student is full- or part-time, but the degree can often be completed in about two years of full-time study.

Education Prerequisites

Entrance to a master's degree program in forensic science usually depends on the submission of an application along with previous college transcripts. Many programs require the applicant to have maintained a 3.0 grade point average during undergraduate study. Undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry, physics or other sciences are often common precursors to master's degree programs in forensic science.

Program Coursework

Graduate forensic science degree programs balance scientific courses with courses that cover criminal law and the inner workings of the justice system. Courses may include the following:

  • Analytical chemistry
  • Law and forensic science
  • Forensic analysis of drugs
  • Forensic serology
  • DNA profiling
  • Forensic chemistry
  • Microscopic evidence analysis
  • Medical anatomy
  • Forensic anthropology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The number of forensic science technician jobs is expected to increase by 19% between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); this represents job growth about as fast as the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The ever-expanding number of forensic science technological breakthroughs in the areas of DNA analysis and a growing awareness of these techniques among potential jurors should drive the need for forensic science experts. Competition for these jobs is expected to be great. As of May 2012, the BLS reported the median annual wage for forensic science technicians at $52,840.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
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    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
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    Online Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
        • Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
        • Forensic Science
        • Law Enforcement Administration
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
        • Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
        • Forensic Science
        • Law Enforcement Administration
        • Police Science and Law Enforcement
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Northeastern University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework, Diploma
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
        • Corrections, Probation, and Parole
        • Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
        • Forensic Science
        • Law Enforcement Administration
        • Police Science and Law Enforcement
        • Security and Theft Prevention Services
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services
  • School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Alabama include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
        • Forensic Science
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Florida International University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
        • Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
        • Forensic Science
        • Law Enforcement Administration
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics