Best Forensic Science Colleges In The US

Forensic scientist holding caution tape
November 8, 2022
Best Colleges For Forensic ScienceFAQs: Forensic Science Colleges


Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

Are you interested in forensics and are asking yourself: what are the best colleges for forensic science? Keep reading for a list of the best forensic science colleges, including acceptance rates, SAT score requirements for each college, and some frequently asked questions. 

In recent years, true crime shows have become major streaming hits. Making a Murderer, the popular Netflix docuseries, won four Emmy Awards in 2016. Fictional crime shows have also proven their popularity, with NCIS, Breaking Bad, and Criminal Minds being pop culture hits.

These shows may have been your first introduction to true crime, or maybe you’ve always been fascinated with the genre like many of us are. Either way, these series (and many others!) have introduced forensic science to many people’s radars. 

Whether it's the thrill of solving a true crime case, the unique science of online cybercrime, or the promise of a versatile career field that draws you towards forensic sciences, we’ve got you covered! 

This article will cover the best colleges for forensic science in the US. This list contains information on each college’s acceptance rates, tuition fees, and the average SAT score needed for admission into each college.

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Best Colleges For Forensic Science

While countless colleges offer forensic science degrees, a select few go above and beyond the average program offering. The schools listed below offer accredited programs with higher education degrees, optimal research opportunities, and distinctive courses. 

To help you get the most out of your education, we compiled a list of the best forensic science colleges in the US. 

George Mason University 

Located in Fairfax, Virginia, this university gives its students strong foundational and theoretical approaches to forensic sciences. Students are taught by a team of knowledgeable faculty coming from operational and practical backgrounds in the field. 

Additionally, the school has two graduate program pathways to suit everyone’s needs: a Master’s degree and a graduate certificate. Standout courses include Forensic Photography and Forensic Drone Photography, so students are sure to get a well-rounded and hands-on learning experience. 

The school has a high acceptance rate of 88%, with an average acceptance SAT score of 1215. In-state tuition is about $13,400.

Hofstra University 

Hofstra’s Forensic Sciences program provides various opportunities to its undergrad students. With the state of the art labs, research and publishing opportunities, and student organizations, students will graduate with valuable experience and industry connections. 

The school offers the exceptional Dr. Bruce and Doris Lister Endowed Fellowship, which gives members a $4,000 stipend and additional funds to help cover living expenses. 

If students prefer to enter the workforce right after undergrad, that’s no issue either! Hofstra alumni work in both public and private sectors, including hospitals, labs, and universities. 

Hofstra also has promising acceptance rates at almost 70% (69.1%, to be exact). The in-state tuition is a bit expensive at $49,410, and the average SAT score of admitted applicants is 1250. However, with the Fellowship opportunity and amazing research options, this school is definitely worth the higher price tag. 

Penn State University

Students at Penn State have the option to take a pathway focusing on either Biology or Chemistry and the ability to study at any Penn State campus. If that wasn’t convincing enough, Penn’s Forensic Science programs are accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). 

With its flexibility and academic quality, Penn State proves to be a great choice for students pursuing forensic sciences. 

Penn State is slightly more competitive than the previous two schools. Their acceptance rate is 56%. In-state tuition is $17,900, and make sure to study for the SAT, as most accepted applicants have an SAT score of 1265. 

Loyola University of Chicago

Similar to Penn State, Loyola is committed to academic excellence and program quality. The Advisory Board consists of leaders in forensic sciences that ensure high standards for this program. The school also offers a minor in “Computer Crime and Forensics,” which may be of interest to those who like the tech side of forensics. 

The school’s acceptance rate is 71%, so the outlook of acceptance is high! The in-state tuition cost is just over $24,000. You should aim for an SAT score of 1215 to get admitted into Loyola’s forensics program. 

Texas A&M University

The school’s focus on environmental and ecological forensic science makes this an attractive option for anyone looking for something a bit non-conventional. There are two Bachelor’s degree pathways to choose from: a science-focused forensic degree and a pre-law forensic degree. 

Texas A&M also offers a wide range of distinctive courses to suit students’ interests. Some notable courses include: 

The acceptance rate of 63% is slightly lower than most of the colleges listed so far - but still not bad! The in-state tuition is $12,783. 

If Texas A&M interests you, make sure to study for the SAT. The average SAT score for enrolled students is 1275 - the highest on the list so far. 

Towson University 

Towson University is located in Maryland and offers three distinctive program options. Students can choose from three tracks that include:

These options provide students with a unique learning opportunity that best suits their individual interests and career goals, making Towson one of the best forensic science colleges. Additionally, with smaller class sizes and internship opportunities, Towson fosters an impressive learning environment for students. 

For students hoping to get into Towson’s Forensic Science program, we’ve got good news–Towson has a high acceptance rate of 78.8%, making it one of the less challenging programs to get accepted to. The in-state tuition is much lower than a lot of the other schools as well, at $10,198. 

If you happen to score a bit lower on your SAT, Texas A&M may be a great pathway for you. The average SAT score for accepted applicants is 1060. 

Saint Louis University 

Saint Louis’s Forensic Science program is accredited by the FEPAC, demonstrating the program’s high academic quality. 

Students enrolled in the program have the option to partake in internships and independent research at various laboratories in the Saint Louis area. To make the program even more enticing, the school offers internships at regional, national, and international levels. 

The program includes courses in chemistry, biology, history, and English to give students a well-rounded and in-depth understanding of forensics. 

The acceptance rate is 56%, with tuition costing about $47,000 for in-state students. The average SAT score for acceptance is 1274. 

Saint Louis has slightly more rigid admission requirements than some of the other schools on this list. However, with offerings of research opportunities in state-of-the-art laboratories and internships, this program is definitely worth the extra work!

West Virginia University

West Virginia University is the only university in the country that offers a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD in forensic science. Additionally, the Forensic Science program offers mentorship services for first and second-year students to help students transition into college life. 

The acceptance rate for West Virginia is 84%, and tuition is slightly under $10,000 a year for in-state students. The average SAT score for accepted applicants is 1150. 

The PhD program offering and high acceptance rates make West Virginia a very appealing option. 

San Jose State University 

For students that have an interest in social justice and culture, San Jose’s program has a focus on human rights and its relationship to forensics. These programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Some courses offered include:

If any of these interest you, check out the university’s website for more information on how to apply. San Jose’s courses exploring the intersections of culture, politics, and forensics sets this school’s program apart from others. 

This school is slightly selective, with an acceptance rate of 67%. Tuition is just under $8,000 for in-state students with an average SAT score of 1145. The chances of acceptance are high, and San Jose is definitely worth serious consideration if you’re interested in studying forensics through a social and cultural lens. 

University of New Haven

The University of New Haven offers a plethora of programs for its students. Programs include Animal Cruelty Investigations, Forensic Genetic Geneology, and Healthcare Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Investigations. 

These distinctive programs make the school enticing to students who want to take a non-traditional route into Forensics. 

The University of New Haven has an acceptance rate of 94%. In-state tuition is on the pricier side at $40,170, and the average SAT score needed for acceptance is 1131. With the high acceptance rate and incredible course selection, University of New Haven may make itself a top choice. 

The great news is that many of the best forensic science colleges have fairly low tuition rates for in-state students. If you are out of state to the school you are interested in, don’t stress too much about tuition. There are many opportunities for scholarships geared toward out-of-state students!

If forensic science is something you are interested in, there are tons of great schools with immersive, comprehensive programs. 

FAQs: Forensic Science Colleges

Still have questions about majoring in forensic science? Look no further! We go over some frequently asked questions about the best forensic science colleges below. 

1. Which College has the Best Forensic Science Program?

No one college has the objectively best Forensic Science program, but all of the schools featured on our list have top-notch forensic programs.

Once you’ve narrowed down your top choices, do a bit of research into each school. Look for information on class sizes, faculty profiles, degree options, published research, tuition, and student clubs of each school. These are all important factors to take into consideration while making your decision. 

For example, if you are someone who would thrive in an environment with smaller class sizes and support from faculty, Towson University may be the right fit for you. 

If you are more of a hands-on, independent learner, one of the colleges listed here that offers internships and research opportunities may cater more closely to your learning style and goals. 

It is up to you to pick the school and program that best suits your needs and goals. While your success depends on you, you should definitely consider a school that best supports your education and ultimate goals. 

2. Is a Forensic Science Major Worth it?

Absolutely! The high job market demand makes pursuing a forensic science major worth it. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for Forensic Scientist Technicians will grow 11% within the next ten years. This is a huge increase in demand and much higher in comparison to the overall growth rate in other fields. 

If you don’t want to be a Forensic Scientist Technician, don’t worry. There are still plenty of jobs in the forensic field that are in high demand. Some jobs that are in high demand include: 

With the variety of career paths available and the exponential job demand growth, forensic science degrees are very valuable. 

Additionally, according to a report completed by Encoura, the median salary for forensic occupations starts at over $50,000 a year, with some occupations earning more than $80,000 a year. That’s not a bad salary at all!

With this said, a forensic science degree will be worth it if it is something you are passionate about. A good salary and high job prospects are just added bonuses.  

3. Is Forensic Science in High Demand?

Yes, forensic science is a very desirable degree. New job positions are created in the field each year. The estimated job growth for this field is much higher than others. 

Opportunities within the field of forensics are broader than people may think. Jobs go beyond crime scene investigation and include archaeology, accidents, medicine, and man-made catastrophes. With so many career paths, it is no surprise that forensic science is in high demand. 

4. What GPA Do You Need to be a Forensic Scientist?

The minimum GPA you will need will depend on what college you are applying to. Most colleges require at least a 3.0 GPA score to be considered for admission. 

However, it is always a good idea to try for a competitive GPA score to stand out and impress the admissions committee for the college of your dreams. A higher GPA can also mean qualifying for merit-based scholarships to help you out with your tuition costs.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve outlined some of the best forensic science colleges in the US, you’ll have a better idea of where to attend! 

Each college on our list offers students unique, immersive learning pathways, so there is no wrong choice here. 

If you are more tech-savvy and interested in the technological side of forensics, Loyola University may be the school for you. If you are more interested in the intersections of forensics and society, San Jose may be the school that best suits your needs. 

With so many options, it can be overwhelming to narrow it down. Remember to do some research on class sizes, tuition and fees, and opportunities before you decide which ones to apply to. There is no wrong answer here. 

Good luck!

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