Top Forensic Science Colleges in the U.S.

Find information about top forensic science colleges, including levels of study, internships and relevant student organizations. Get an overview of the programs offered by three high-ranking universities, and use the table at the end of the article to see what other schools in the United States offer formal training in forensic science.

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School Information

Forensic science programs teach aspiring professionals how to use specialized equipment and laboratory tests to analyze evidence, a vital part of any criminal investigation. The programs at Pennsylvania State University in University Park and the University of California at Davis, two of the schools profiled below, have been approved by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). Pennsylvania State is the only one of the three schools listed to below to offer an undergraduate program in forensic science. All three of the schools offer master's degree programs in the same field of study.

Top U.S. Schools with Forensic Science Programs

1. Pennsylvania State University in University Park

In 2011, Pennsylvania State University was ranked as the nation's 47th best college by U.S. News & World Report. Penn State also earned a spot on the Princeton Review's 2011 best northeastern colleges list. Through the Eberly College of Science, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Forensic Science with a focus in biology or chemistry. Penn State also offers a Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Forensic Science. Students can participate in on-campus organizations, including the Penn State Forensic Science Club.

2. Syracuse University in New York

Listed as a 2011 best northeastern college by the Princeton Review, Syracuse University features degrees in many fields of science, including forensic science. Syracuse's forensic and national security sciences department offers a number of master's degrees, including a Master of Science (M.S.) in Forensic Science and a combined M.S./Juris Doctor (J.D.) in Forensic Science and Law.

Although Syracuse doesn't offer a major in forensic science at the undergraduate level, students can still explore this field as a minor or an Integrated Learning Major. The latter requires 25-26 credits to complete, in addition to a major in chemistry, sociology or another related area. Students can take part in internships offered by various organizations, including the FBI, CIA, New York State Police and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

3. University of California - Davis

The University of California - Davis (UC Davis) was named a top public university by U.S. News & World Report in 2011. UC Davis also made the Princeton Review's lists of best western colleges and best value in public colleges in 2011. The forensic science faculty at UC Davis consists of engineers, psychologists, scientists and doctors, as well as faculty who work with the California Criminalistics Institute. At UC Davis, students can pursue an M.S. in Forensic Science with a specialization in criminalistics or DNA analysis. Students take classes in forensic science instruments and methods, identification and DNA typing, arson inspection, courtroom testimony and forensic science research methods.

List of Ten Good Forensic Science Colleges in the U.S.

School Name Distinction Location
Boston University Only graduate forensics program offered through a school of medicine's anatomy department Boston, MA
Drexel University Offers forensics graduate program for science majors and a master's for working professionals without a science background Philadelphia, PA
George Washington University Master's degrees in crime scene investigation and high technology crime investigation Washington, D.C.
Michigan State University Offers three concentrations in forensic anthropology, biology or chemistry East Lansing, MI
Ohio University - Main Campus The oldest forensic chemistry program in the country Athens, OH
Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus Offers forensic science workshop and short course series University Park, PA
Syracuse University Features Dialogues in Forensic Science program Syracuse, NY
State University of New York at Albany The DNA Academy at the Northeast Regional Forensic Institute is located at this university Albany, NY
University of California - Davis Forensic science students won a national grant award in 2011 Davis, CA
Virginia Commonwealth University Lab courses taught in the state of Virginia's Department of Forensic Science Lab Richmond, VA
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