Prospective students who want to transition to the forensic science field and working professionals who wish to advance their forensic science careers in the area may want to consider earning an online master’s in digital forensics science.
In this online master’s degree, students can expect to tackle basic human anatomy, trace evidence, components of crime investigation, digital evidence, fingerprint analysis, and more. Usually, the program draws on several hard sciences, including organic and physical chemistry, molecular biology, and physics.
The Labor Statistics Bureau says forensic science technicians earn a median pay of $61,930. Their earning potential can increase with a Master’s in Forensic Science, allowing them to advance their career in a dynamic and evolving field.
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The successful completion of an online Master’s in Forensic Science degree will help forensic science graduates in their effort to achieve career advancement. A Forensic master’s degree can prepare them for their future careers as crime scene investigators, forensic scientists, and other positions in a variety of work settings, including entering the law enforcement organization and the criminal justice system. If you are passionate about forensic analysis and other aspects of crime scene investigations, then a Forensic Science online program is an ideal choice.
The field of forensics is expected to grow over the next decade. This field contains a variety of careers that are exciting and challenging, but also serve a vital societal function: that of serving the interests of justice and security. Given its unique pivotal role, those planning to enter and advance in this field need the best and most comprehensive advanced education that they can get.
We’ve got you covered! Check out our list of 10 graduate schools that offer the best online Master’s in Forensic Science degree programs, selected according to the following characteristics:
- Offers their programs online, which presents the least disruption for working professionals’ careers while they take on advanced coursework,
- Feature curriculum designs that are anchored on key content areas in forensic science, including techniques used in investigations, working with evidence, and preparing material for courts,
- Taught and developed by expert faculty with an extensive experience in law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system,
- Readies students for a doctorate in Forensic Science and high-level careers in the field,
- Feature competitive tuition rates as well as various cost-saving measures like federal financial aid,
- Hold the appropriate accreditation credentials.
Check out our Methodology page to explore the details of our ranking process.
Best Online Master’s in Forensic Science
University of Central Florida
Founded in 1963, the University of Central Florida has 13 colleges and more than 240 degree programs to offer. This metropolitan research university leverages innovative learning while fostering social mobility and developing skilled talent for career advancement and beyond. On top of various regional locations, UCF also offers online programs, from bachelor’s degrees to certificates. The university currently enrolls more than 68,000 students.
- The University of Central Florida has an online MS in Forensic Science degree to help students make an impact when it comes to solving crimes and serving justice.
- Diverse and innovative, this forensic science degree program allows students to learn how to understand and harness science and technology in crime resolutions.
- The forensic science online master’s program is specially designed for both practicing working professionals and full-time students under the guidance of internationally recognized experts in the field.
- Students have the option of whether to choose the thesis or non-thesis track, allowing them to complete the program regardless of choice in as little as two years.
Standout Features of the University of Central Florida’s Online MS in Forensic Science Program:
Students can choose a concentration to focus more on the areas of forensic science that they are most passionate about. This includes concentrations such as forensic professional, forensic analysis, and forensic biochemistry. Choosing a concentration allows students to customize their learning in a way that prepares them to meet their career goals.
Did You Know?
Leading in academic, research, and partnership, the University of Central Florida is a recognized institution in numerous fields such as engineering and computer science, modeling and simulation, business, public administration, education, video game design, and hospitality management, among others.
Oklahoma State University
Since its establishment in 1890, Oklahoma State University has been making college education more accessible. Home to more than 35,000 students across five campuses, the university features seven academic colleges along with a veterinary school and an osteopathic medical school. Students can explore 200 undergraduate majors, 79 master’s programs, and 45 doctoral programs. Some of these programs are available online.
- One of the online programs on offer at Oklahoma State University is the Online Master of Science in Forensic Sciences degree.
- This online master’s degree provides students with a solid foundation in specialized topics, including forensic leadership, blast injuries and effects, ethics, law and expert evidence, organizational development, and psychology.
- To get admitted into the program, students are required to hold a bachelor’s degree with a recommended GPA of 3.0 or better.
- Students will need to complete a total of 32 credit hours to earn the forensic science master’s degree.
Standout Features of Oklahoma State University’s Online Master of Science in Forensic Sciences Program:
The online master’s in forensic science degree at Oklahoma State University offers several learning tracks of emphasis. This includes Arson, Firearm and Tool Mark Investigations, Explosives, Forensic Investigative Sciences, and Forensic Psychology.
Did You Know?
This nationally ranked university is recognized for having the most Truman Scholars in Oklahoma. Since the university is a land-grant institution, OSU makes it a point to provide access to affordable education. In fact, more than 50% of Oklahoma State University have graduated with zero student loan debt.
Champlain College has been providing a career-driven approach to higher education since its foundation in 1878. This small, not-for-profit private college emphasizes academic excellence, innovation and leadership, and an ideal learning environment. This regionally accredited higher learning institution is a leader in online education for almost 30 years.
- Champlain College’s Master’s in Digital Forensic Science is a top-ranked, nationally recognized digital forensics degree.
- The online program’s cutting-edge curriculum aligns with emerging technology and new trends in the forensics science field.
- The hands-on digital forensics master’s degree helps students master the skills of gathering and utilizing digital evidence while also applying the investigative techniques they acquired to real-world scenarios.
- The program focuses on both the technical aspect of digital forensics and advanced soft skills encompassing leadership and communication.
Standout Features of Champlain College’s Online Master’s in Digital Forensic Science Program:
The online program in digital forensics requires the completion of 30 to 36 credits. Their rigorous coursework includes Information Technology and Security, Digital Forensic Science, the Practice of Digital Investigations, Scripting for Digital Forensics, Incident Response and Network Forensics, and Mobile Device Analysis, among others.
Did You Know?
Champlain College Online offers more than 80 degrees and certificates that are 100% fully online. These online programs provide students with 24/7 access to coursework. Online students can expect to sign up with the help of dedicated academic advisors to guide them in meeting their academic goals. Champlain College has been designated by the DHS-Department of Homeland Security and the NSA-National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, Florida
Established in 1889, Saint Leo University has always been committed to providing students with a transformative, values-centered education. The university offers more than 40 majors and minors, serving more than 14,000 students in the U.S. and beyond. Online programs are also available at Saint Leo University, aiming to provide high-quality, accessible, and flexible learning experiences and help students get the most out of their education.
- Saint Leo University offers a Master’s in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Science, designed for active and aspiring criminal justice professionals.
- Students can expect to acquire knowledge and skills that will help them understand how to utilize forensic science in the field of criminal justice.
- To earn this online degree specialization, students must complete a total of five core courses, four forensic science courses, and two elective courses.
- Some of the Forensic Science specialization courses include Forensic Science Introduction, Crime Scene Investigation and Management, Forensic and Medicolegal Death Investigation, and Advanced Forensic Science.
Standout Features of Saint Leo University’s Online Master’s in Criminal Justice – Forensic Science Program:
The forensic science program specialization gives students the opportunity to learn how to assist with operations during incidents where forensic science is needed. It uses modern, hands-on instruction, taught by an expert faculty with demonstrated experience in the field of forensic science.
Did You Know?
Recognized as one of the leading providers of higher education to military servicemen and servicewomen, Saint Leo University was one of the five national recipients chosen by the Military Child Education Coalition to receive the Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award in 2014. The award recognizes successful partnerships and projects that can be benefited from by military-connected children.
University of the Cumberlands
In 1913, the University of the Cumberlands was founded. Since then, this higher learning institution has served students from the heart of Appalachia. The university offers more than 40 majors, along with pre-professional, graduate, and doctoral degrees. At present, it has enrolled more than 19,000 students.
- The Master’s in Digital Forensics offered at the University of the Cumberlands equips students with essential skills needed to address the growing cybersecurity concerns in the information technology field.
- Students are expected to identify and preserve the digital evidence of cybercrime and eventually summarize the data before presenting it along with a conclusion.
- This master’s degree program is designed for those who have earned a bachelor’s degree and working in the field of forensic science.
- To earn the program, students are required to complete a total of 31 credits, encompassing courses such as Windows Digital Forensics, Investigation and Triage, Digital Forensics Evidence, Wireless Security and Forensics, and Web Browser Forensics, among others.
Standout Features of the University of the Cumberlands’ Online Master’s in Digital Forensics Program:
In this program, students will be able to choose among two specializations. This includes Cybersecurity and Criminal Justice. The learning tracks will allow online students to focus their degree on their interests and career goals. At the end of the program, students are expected to complete a Digital Forensics Capstone. This capstone project will help them design a cybersecurity incident and create a response plan. Alternatively, students can pursue an applied learning practicum like an internship in lieu of a capstone project.
Did You Know?
The University of the Cumberlands is considered one of the largest and most affordable private universities hailing from Kentucky. It takes pride in providing innovative academic programs that utilize hands-on, experiential learning and research.
University of Florida
The University of Florida (UF) is a public, land-grant, research university located in the city of Gainesville. The university has four predecessor institutions, the oldest being the East Florida Seminary, established in 1853. Currently, the University is composed of 16 colleges, and over 150 research centers and institutes, and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. It is also one of the country’s largest universities in terms of student population, at around 56,500.
- The University of Florida offers a Master’s Degree in Forensic Science, which prepares students for careers in various settings that include crime laboratories, police departments, medical examiner’s offices, attorney’s firms, and more.
- The program curriculum is divided into 18 credits’ worth of core coursework and 14 credits of electives.
- The program covers a wide range of key topics in Forensic Science, with courses that include Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Medicine, Serology, Crime Scene Investigation, Blood Spatter, Laboratory Quality Assurance, DNA Analysis, and more.
Standout Features of the University of Florida’s Online MS in Pharmacy – Pharmaceutical Sciences, Concentration in Forensic Science Program:
Unlike any other Forensic Science master’s program, the UF graduate degree is designed and offered as a Master’s Degree in Pharmacy, and this reflects in the program curriculum, which features a wide range of elective courses on a number of related areas that include Forensic Immunology, Forensic Biochemistry, Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Analysis, and more.
Did You Know?
The University of Florida also offers more focused Master’s Degrees in Forensic Toxicology, Forensic DNA & Serology, and Forensic Chemistry. The university also offers these master’s programs as Graduate Certificates, along with a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Death Investigation.
Florida International University
Florida International University is a public research university in Westchester, part of Miami-Dade County. A part of the State University System of Florida, the university was first founded by the Florida Legislature in 1965, with the first classes being held in 1972. FIU is composed of 23 colleges and schools offering over 190 academic programs, and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. FIU is also among the largest public universities in the country in terms of enrollment, with a population of over 55,600 students.
- Florida International University offers a Professional Science Masters (PSM) in Forensic Science, which is designed to provide supervision and management-related training for forensic organizations.
- The program is cohort-based and takes around 16 months to complete. The program combines online coursework with practical skills, including profession-based exercises.
- The program is designed to develop a wide range of students’ professional skills, particularly communication, forensic science, leadership, business and management, and expert testimony.
Standout Features of Florida International University’s Professional Science Master’s in Forensic Science Program:
This program is ideal for prospective students who are interested in STEM education and are working in federal, state, or private crime laboratories. The program features a multidisciplinary design that augments advanced knowledge of key areas in forensics with skills in business administration and management that prepare them for management roles in their field.
Did You Know?
Florida International University also offers other graduate programs related to the Forensic Sciences. These include the Master of Science in Forensic Science, combined MS in Forensic Science/PhD in Biology Pathway, and the PhD in Chemistry: Forensic Science track.
Owings Mills, Maryland
Stevenson University is a private university with campuses in Owings Mills and Stevenson, both within Baltimore County, Maryland. It was established in 1947 as a one-year school by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur as Villa Julie College and first started offering bachelor’s degrees in 1984. It earned its university status in 2008, along with the change to its current name. Stevenson University is currently composed of seven schools and has a population of around over 3,600 students.
- Stevenson University offers the online Master of Forensic Science program, which is ideal for students coming from the natural sciences to launch new careers in the forensic science field.
- The program contains 36 credit hours and should be completed in as little as 18 months. Coursework is also delivered 100% online.
- The program has a choice of two concentration areas: Forensic Biology and Forensic Chemistry. The concentration in Biology includes coverage of DNA Analysis, Serology, and Immunological Evidence, while the concentration in Forensic Chemistry covers chemical analysis, trace evidence analysis, toxicology, and more.
Standout Features of Stevenson University’s Online Master of Forensic Science Program:
This program was specifically designed with those from the natural sciences looking to enter the field in mind, and aside from building on their foundations in biology or chemistry with other key skills including evidence processing, ethical reporting, communication, forensic evidence standards, as well as quality assurance & quality control.
Did You Know?
Aside from Forensic Sciences, Stevenson University also offers a number of other related online master’s programs, including the MS in Crime Scene Investigation, Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics, Forensic Accounting, Forensic Investigation, and Forensic Studies.
Gannon University is a private university in the city of Erie, Pennsylvania. A Catholic institution, it was first established in 1933 by the Diocese of Erie as Cathedral College, a two-year school. It earned its university status in 1979 and was renamed in honor of Bishop John Mark Gannon, the main proponent of the university’s establishment. At present, Gannon University is made up of three main colleges and has a population of over 4,500 students and over 300 academic staff.
- Gannon University offers a Master of Science in Criminalistics, a program designed to provide theoretical and practical knowledge in applying analytical and scientific methods to criminal investigation.
- The program is offered both on-campus and online. It contains a total of 36 credit hours and can be completed in two years.
- Students enrolled in the program follow a two-courses-per-semester schedule, with each course being 7 weeks in length. The program also has a required week-long summer residency capstone at Gannon University’s Forensic Investigation Center (FIC).
- The program is ideal both for those wishing to enter the field as well as those who seek to advance in it.
Standout Features of Gannon University’s Master of Science in Criminalistics Program:
Gannon University’s MS in Criminalistics is only one of a handful of Criminalistics-focused programs offered throughout the country. The program is focused on training in relevant analytical and scientific methods but also covers other key topic areas, including legal issues, expert testimony, crime mapping, and others.
Did You Know?
Gannon University’s expert faculty includes agents from various government law enforcement agencies including the DEA, ATF, FBI, NCIS, FDLE, and NCSBI, with over 90 years of law enforcement experience between them.
Center Valley, Pennsylvania
DeSales University is a private university in the community of Center Valley, Pennsylvania. It is a Catholic university that the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales first established in 1964. It was then known as the Allentown College of Saint Francis De Sales. Its university status was gained along with the change to its current name in 2000. DeSales University is composed of 6 academic divisions and has a population of around over 2,300 students.
- DeSales University offers a Master of Criminal Justice program with a concentration on Investigative Forensics, which focuses on the application of science to address legal issues in criminal investigations.
- The program comprises 10 courses, for a total of 30 credit hours. There are 6 core courses, as well as room for 4 concentration courses which include courses on forensic psychology, forensic toxicology, forensic anthropology, behavioral criminology, advanced crime scene investigation, and more.
- While the program is primarily offered on-campus, students can still avail of online and hybrid options. DeSales University uses D2L™’s Brightspace as its main online learning management system.
Standout Features of DeSales University’s Master of Criminal Justice: Investigative Forensics Program:
The program has a special focus on violent crimes and covers crucial techniques in gathering and processing evidence in crime scene settings. Also, all professionals from the criminal justice field applying to the program automatically receive a 20% tuition discount.
Did You Know?
DeSales University also offers a Criminal Justice master’s program with a concentration in Digital Forensics. Likewise, DeSales also offers a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, designed for both criminal justice practitioners and academicians.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Digital Forensics and Digital Forensics?
Forensic Science can encompass the traditional methods of gathering physical evidence. It is a critical part of the criminal justice system, responsible for assisting in the investigation and prosecution of criminals and helping absolve the innocent from suspicion. It often harnesses the use of scientific methods to investigate and examine evidence.
On the other hand, digital forensics focuses on recovering and investigating evidence left behind on digital devices. Essentially, Digital Forensics is a branch of forensic science that specifically deals with cyber crimes.
What are the common admission requirements to an online Master’s in Forensic Science program?
Prospective students with a Master’s in Forensic Science degree will need to hold a bachelor’s degree. some universities recommend students to meet a particular grade point average but others are not too strict. Other admission requirements include official transcripts, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and English Language Proficiency for international students.
Does a Master’s in Forensic Science degree require prospective students to have a specific bachelor’s degree?
Not necessarily. Forensics has an interdisciplinary side to it, and while Bachelor’s degrees in Forensic Science are offered in many universities and are generally the ideal starting point, those coming from other fields like chemistry, biology, pharmacy, and even anthropology can comfortably work in the field, as forensic science programs take a lot of their prior knowledge in this fields and re-orient them to analyze evidence in crime scenes.
- The field of forensics is expected to see growth over the next decade, and this presents an interesting opportunity for entry into the field, especially for those coming from the natural sciences like biology & chemistry.
- Master’s in Forensic Science programs are designed to prepare forensic science students for careers in the criminal justice system, primarily as forensic scientists, crime scene investigators, and forensic science technicians who gather, process, and prepare various forms of evidence for use in trials.
- Master’s in Forensic Science programs typically cover a wide range of technical skills, which include gathering and processing specific evidence (trace evidence, biological evidence, physical evidence, digital evidence, etc.), preparing evidence for court, working as expert witnesses, and administrative/managerial tasks specific to forensic settings like laboratories.