Top Forensic Programs

College forensic programs prepare students to investigate crime scenes.
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Graduate from a forensic program and you’ll be ready to collect evidence, dust for fingerprints, search for blood stains and analyze DNA evidence. A growing number of women enroll in forensic programs, according to Jeni Smith, a forensic science professor at Pennsylvania State University and retired DNA analyst and FBI special agent, because they want to do just that while helping victims of crimes. Although the American Academy of Forensic Sciences doesn’t rank colleges or forensic programs, it offers accreditation to universities and colleges that meet a range of requirements.

Marshall University, which collects and provides information about forensic science education and training programs, ranks the forensic program at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, as the best in the country. Not only is the school located in the same building as a paternity and federal DNA lab, but it lets students survey a range of forensics courses during their first semester. Graduates have also historically performed extremely well on the American Board of Criminalistics’ Forensic Science Assessment Test.

Pennsylvania State University

    The Eberly College of Science at Pennsylvania State University offers programs for students interested in earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in forensics. The forensics program includes classes in biological and physical sciences and also covers forensic chemistry, forensic anthropology, forensic biology and related social sciences. In 2013, "U.S. News & World Report" ranked Pennsylvania State University as the 46th best college in the United States. The Princeton Review also included Penn State in its Best Colleges list in 2014. ranks the forensic program at Penn State as the ninth best in the country.

University of California, Davis

    If you’re interested in applying to the forensic science graduate program at the University of California, Davis, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a physical or natural science, such as biochemistry, chemistry, molecular biology, generics or engineering. The college gears the program to students who want to work as forensic scientists or criminalists in crime labs. U.C. Davis is the only college in the University of California system to offer this type of forensics degree program.

Syracuse University

    Syracuse University offers undergraduate and graduate forensics programs. Its Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute works with federal, state and local organizations to develop real-world solutions to complex threats, such as bioterrorism and direct criminal actions. Students learn how to collect and analyze evidence and detect and monitor threats.

UAB College of Arts and Sciences ranks the forensic program at The University of Alabama at Birmingham as the sixth best in the country. It also credits the school for “doing forensics before forensics was cool.” The school offers a summer program for high school students interested in learning more about working as forensic scientists and crime scene investigators.

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