Best Forensic Science Colleges In The US

Forensic scientist holding caution tape
August 29, 2023
8 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 8/29/23

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. 

Forensic scientists at a scene

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! 

Now, let’s get into information on each college’s acceptance rates, tuition fees, and the average SAT score needed for admission into each college.

Best Colleges For Forensic Science

Below is a table of the best schools for Forensic Science. 

School Location SAT Score ACT Score Cost
George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia 1215 27 $13,400
Hofstra University Long Island, New York 1250 27-31 $49,410
Penn State University State College, Pennsylvania 1265 28 $17,900
Loyola University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 1215 27-32 $24,000
Texas A&M University College Station, Texas 1275 25-31 $12,783
Towson University Towson, Maryland 1060 21-26 $10,198
Saint Louis University St. Louis, Missouri 1274
West Virginia University Morgantown, West Virginia 1150 21-27 $10,000
San Jose State University San Jose, California 1145 23 $8,000
University of New Haven West Haven, Connecticut 1110 25-29 $40,170

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

In Virginia's Fairfax, this university offers robust forensic science education, led by faculty with practical expertise. Its top-notch program offers has two graduate program pathways for Master’s and certificates, featuring standout courses like Forensic Photography. As a result, it offers one of the best forensic science programs. With an 88% acceptance rate and an SAT average of 1215, tuition is approximately $13,400 in-state. 

Hofstra University 

Hofstra’s Forensic Sciences program offers rich opportunities for undergraduates, featuring advanced labs, research, and student groups for industry connections. The Dr. Bruce and Doris Lister Endowed Fellowship provides a $4,000 stipend and extra funds for living expenses.

Hofstra graduates excel in public and private sectors, including hospitals and labs. With an acceptance rate of around 70%, in-state tuition at $49,410, and an average SAT score of 1250, the Fellowship and research make the higher cost worthwhile.

Penn State University

At Penn State, students choose between Biology or Chemistry tracks and can study at various campuses. Accredited by  Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), Penn State proves to be one of the best schools for forensic science. 

Penn State is competitive with a 56% acceptance rate. In-state tuition is $17,900, and a 1265 SAT score is typical for admitted students. With its flexibility and academic quality, 

Loyola University of Chicago

Like Penn State, Loyola prioritizes quality and has an Advisory Board  ensuring program standards. A minor in “Computer Crime and Forensics” adds a tech perspective. With a 71% acceptance rate, in-state tuition is $24,000+. Aim for a 1215 SAT score for admission to Loyola’s program.

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M’s unique focus on environmental and ecological forensic science stands out. Two Bachelor’s pathways exist: science-focused and pre-law forensic degrees. The school offers diverse courses like Biotechnology and Forensics. Acceptance rate is 63%, in-state tuition is $12,783. Aim for a 1275 SAT score, the highest on this list.

Towson University 

Towson University in Maryland offers three unique tracks: General Forensic, Trace Evidence and Drug Analysis, and DNA. These options suit diverse interests and career goals, making Towson a top choice. With smaller classes and internships, Towson is a top college for forensic science. 

The Forensic Science program has a high 78.8% acceptance rate, and in-state tuition is lower at $10,198. If you scored lower on the SAT, Texas A&M with an average 1060 SAT score might be a good alternative.

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis’s Forensic Science program is accredited by FEPAC, ensuring high quality. Students can engage in internships and independent research at local labs, even on regional, national, and international levels. 

The program covers chemistry, biology, history, and English for a comprehensive understanding of forensics. With a 56% acceptance rate, in-state tuition is about $47,000. The average SAT score for admission is 1274. 

While admission is more competitive, the program offers valuable research and internship opportunities in advanced labs. 

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

West Virginia University

West Virginia University uniquely provides a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD in forensic science. Mentorship assists first and second-year students in adjusting to college. With an 84% acceptance rate, in-state tuition is under $10,000 annually. Accepted applicants average 1150 SAT score. The Ph.D. program and high acceptance rate make West Virginia a compelling choice.

San Jose State University

San Jose offers human rights-focused forensic programs at undergraduate and graduate levels. Courses include Digital Forensic Analysis, Human Rights Investigation, Critical Justice Issues, and more. 

If interested, visit the university website for application details. San Jose's cultural, political, and forensic intersections set it apart. Acceptance rate is 67%. In-state tuition is just under $8,000, with an average SAT score of 1145. San Jose is a strong choice for those interested in culturally focused forensics. 

University of New Haven

The University of New Haven offers unique programs like Animal Cruelty Investigations, Forensic Genetic Genealogy, and Healthcare Fraud Investigations. These distinctive options attract students seeking non-traditional forensic routes. With a 94% acceptance rate, in-state tuition is $40,170. 

The average SAT score for acceptance is 1131. Many schools offer affordable in-state tuition, and scholarships help out-of-state students. If you are interested in forensic science, many schools provide comprehensive programs.

FAQs: Forensic Science Colleges

Still have questions about majoring in forensic science? Look no further! Below, We review 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 essential factors to take into consideration while making your decision. 

For example, if you 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 demand increase and much higher than 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: 

  • Arson Investigator 
  • Computer Forensics Examiner 
  • Crime Scene Investigator 
  • Criminalist 
  • DNA Analyst 
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Forensic Autopsy Technician 
  • Forensic Biologist 
  • Forensic Chemist 
  • Forensic Nurse
  • Toxicologist 
  • Forensic Sketch Artist 

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. What Are the Best Colleges for Forensic Science in Texas? 

Texas has a number of great colleges for forensic science, including Sam Houston State and University of North Texas. Texas A&M is a top choice for environmental and ecological forensic science, Texas State for specialized tracks, UT Arlington for forensic science and genetics, and St. Mary's University for a biology-focused program. 

4. 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, including archaeology, accidents, medicine, and man-made catastrophes. With so many career paths, it is no surprise that forensic science is in high demand. 

5. 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. If you go with one of these top-rated colleges for forensic science - you’ll be sure to get a quality education. 

Good luck!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Thanks ! You're now subscribed!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get A Free Consultation

Speak to a college admissions expert about how we can help you get into your dream school
Schedule a Call

You May Also Like

Before you go, here are a few facts about us!
The Quad Factor: Working with us can increase your chances of admission by 7x!

The Best of the Best: Our team comprises of only 99th percentile tutors and admissions counselors from top-ranking universities, meaning you work with only the most experienced, talented experts.

The Free Consultation: Our experts would love to get to know you, your background, goals, and needs. From there, they match you with a best-fit consultant who will create a detailed project plan and application strategy focused on your success.