Online Forensic Science Degree Programs

Crime scene investigation and forensic psychology by distance learning

An online forensic science degree program provides ideal preparation for law enforcement careers such as: crime scene investigator (CSI), forensic toxicologist, forensic computer specialist, forensic psychologist, or forensic accountant.

Online forensic science programs enable you study flexibly and conveniently, to gain the necessary training needed to succeed in a forensic science career, such as how to apply investigative methods to criminal investigations, and gather evidence from crime scenes.

This includes securing the scene, as well as gathering and preserving forensic evidence collected on site. You will also develop your observational skills by learning how to record small details found at crime scenes and tie them back to the crime.

Forensic science sits at the intersection of law and science. Drawing on many disciplines, forensic scientists work alongside law enforcement and criminal justice personnel to solve crimes and bring the responsible parties to justice. As advances in technology have filtered throughout the profession, the need for highly qualified forensic science specialists has grown.

If you choose a graduate program in forensic science, you will immerse yourself even more fully in the scientific tools, techniques, methods, and theories of forensic science. You will learn in-depth about chemistry and biology as it relates to forensic evidence, and explore other areas such as toxicology and forensic research.

Accredited online colleges and universities offer forensic science degrees online by allowing you to choose your own working pace and hours. Courses are available at the associate's, bachelor's, masters, doctoral and certificate level in various forensic science specializations.

Featured Online Colleges offering Forensic Science Degrees & Programs

Walden University

  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology - Forensics and the Law
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology - Leadership and Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology - Self-Designed
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology - Victims and Justice
  • Masters in Forensic Psychology
  • Masters in Forensic Psychology - Forensic Psychology in the Community
  • Masters in Forensic Psychology - Mental Health Applications
  • Masters in Forensic Psychology - Program Planning & Evaluation in Forensic Settings
  • Masters in Forensic Psychology - Psychology & Legal Systems
  • Masters in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling - Forensic Counseling
  • Ph.D. in Psychology - Forensic Psychology

Kaplan University

  • BSA - Auditing/Forensic Accountancy
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Computer Crime
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Corrections
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Crime Scene Investigation
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security

American InterContinental University

  • Bachelors in Information Technology - Computer Forensics
  • Bachelors in Criminal Justice - Forensic Science

DeVry University

  • Bachelor's - Computer Information Systems - Computer Forensics

Connecting your online forensic science degree to the real world

In order to succeed in a career in forensic science you will need hands-on experience. This helps you understand how forensic science applies to the real world of crime scenes, evidence, suspects, specialized equipment, and laboratory tests. Each program takes a different approach to providing students with practical experiences.

  • Online forensic science degree programs offer the convenience and flexibility of online learning, but some programs do have a on-campus component. This may be no more than one week a year, and will involve laboratory workshops, lectures, and examinations.
  • Online schools that do not have a campus facility may partner with other schools or forensic laboratories. Before deciding on a program, you should check out the reputation and accreditation of these partner organizations, since many of your skills will be learned through them.
  • If you are pursuing an online graduate degree in forensic science, programs may require you to be currently working in the field. This enables you to conduct research or observations related to your degree in your workplace, under the supervision of one of your managers.
  • If the school that you choose does not offer practical experiences, you can search for these on your own. You may be able to arrange an internship or observation period through local law-enforcement agencies, forensic laboratories, or universities.

Forensic science degree coursework and licensure

An online program in forensic science trains you to undertake forensic investigations and analysis. The courses are structured so you can apply your skills to the wide range of situations typically encountered in the field or laboratory.

If you're thinking about becoming a licensed psychologist, it's worth to note that most of the online forensic psychology programs do not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology professional.

There are no mandatory licensing requirements for forensic scientists, but you can obtain certifications that demonstrate your competencies in the field of forensic science. Certifications can be obtained from the American Board of Criminalistics, the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, and others.

Because forensic science positions involve handling crime scene evidence, you will usually need to undergo criminal background checks, including fingerprinting. If you will be working in the field, many positions require you to have a valid drivers license.

In addition to a college’s regional or national accreditation, online forensic science programs, or their schools, can be further accredited by a forensic organization such as the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

Career opportunities in Forensics

Forensic science degrees prepares you to work in forensic laboratories and environmental monitoring agencies, toxicology laboratories, drug assessment agencies, and forensic pathology laboratories. You can find positions with job titles such as Forensic Science Technician, Crime Scene Investigator, or Criminalist. A graduate degree in forensic science is designed for existing forensic science professionals, especially those interested in management or research positions.

As a forensic science professional, you can work in private, state, and federal agencies. Local and state governments are the largest employers of forensic science technicians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries for technicians, however, are highest in the federal government, although that sector employs less than one percent of all forensic technicians.

Related degree options

Forensic Psychology: Focuses the tools of psychology on areas related to legal systems. If you choose this type of program, you will develop skills that enable you to assist lawyers with jury selection, testify as an expert witness, and deal with issues related to child custody and sexual harassment.

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