Best Forensic Science Colleges in the US 2024: Top 10 Picks!

Forensic science colleges
June 25, 2024
5 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 6/25/24

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! 

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 to help you become a forensic scientist

Best Colleges For Forensic Science

The best colleges for forensic science in the US are:

  • ​​George Mason University 
  • Hofstra University 
  • Penn State University
  • Loyola University of Chicago
  • Texas A&M University 
  • Towson University 
  • Saint Louis University 
  • West Virginia University
  • San Jose State University 
  • University of New Haven

While there are countless schools for crime scene investigators (CSIs) in the making, a select few offer programs that are above and beyond the average. 

For aspiring forensic scientists seeking a top-notch education, practical aspects like student accommodation in the US near the best forensic science colleges are also essential. The schools listed below offer accredited programs with higher education degrees, optimal research opportunities, and distinctive courses. 

Below is a table that explores each of these schools. 

School Location SAT Score Range ACT Score Range Cost
George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia 1140-1350 25-31 $13,812 in-state; $37,976 out-of-state
Hofstra University Long Island, New York 1190-1370 26-31 $55,450
Penn State University State College, Pennsylvania 1210-1390 26-31 $19,835 in-state; $38,651 out-of-state
Loyola University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 1190-1370 27-32 $51,706
Texas A&M University College Station, Texas 1150-1390 25-31 $12,413 in-state; $40,607 out-of-state
Towson University Towson, Maryland 1010-1230 19-25 $11,306 in-state; $28,326 out-of-state
Saint Louis University St. Louis, Missouri 1210-1400 26-31 $53,244
West Virginia University Morgantown, West Virginia 1000-1220 20-26 $9,360 in-state; $26,568 out-of-state
San Jose State University San Jose, California 1070-1370 21-29 $7,992 in-state; $19,872 out-of-state
University of New Haven West Haven, Connecticut 1090-1270 25-29 $45,730

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

1. George Mason University

George Mason University
U.S News Ranking #105 in National Universities
Acceptance Rate 73%
Average GPA 3.69
Average SAT Score 1215
Average ACT Score 27
In-State Tuition $13,812

In Virginia's Fairfax, this university offers robust forensic science education led by faculty with practical expertise. 

Its top-notch program offers 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.

As a result, it offers one of the best forensic science programs. 

2. Hofstra University 

Hofstra University
U.S News Ranking #185 in National Universities
Acceptance Rate 62%
Average GPA 3.7
Average SAT Score 1230-1410
Average ACT Score 27-33
In-State Tuition $53,310

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. It is considered one of the most robust schools for forensic investigators.

3. Penn State University

Penn State University
U.S News Ranking #60 in National Universities
Acceptance Rate 58%
Average GPA 3.15-3.81
Average SAT Score 1120-1340
Average ACT Score 24-31
In-State Tuition $19,672

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. 

4. Loyola University of Chicago

Loyola University of Chicago
U.S News Ranking #142 in National Universities
Acceptance Rate 81%
Average GPA 3.77
Average SAT Score 1160–1360
Average ACT Score 29
In-State Tuition $26,115

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. This school has a 81% acceptance rate and tuition costs of $26,115. 

5. Texas A&M University

Texas AM University
U.S News Ranking #47 in National Universities
Acceptance Rate 63%
Average GPA 3.68
Average SAT Score 1140–1380
Average ACT Score 29
In-State Tuition $9,809

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. 

6. Towson University 

Towson University
U.S News Ranking #21 in Regional Universities North
Acceptance Rate 79.3%
Average GPA 3.84
Average SAT Score 1130
Average ACT Score 22
In-State Tuition $11,728

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. 

7. Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University
U.S News Ranking #105 in National Universities
Acceptance Rate 81%
Average GPA 3.91
Average SAT Score 1220–1430
Average ACT Score 28
In-State Tuition $26,130

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. 

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. 

8. West Virginia University

West Virginia University
U.S News Ranking #116 in Top Public Schools
Acceptance Rate 90%
Average GPA 3.63
Average SAT Score 1030–1230
Average ACT Score 23
In-State Tuition $10,104

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. 

9. San Jose State University

San Jose State University
U.S News Ranking #3 in Top Public Schools
Acceptance Rate 80%
Average GPA 3.57
Average SAT Score N/A
Average ACT Score N/A
In-State Tuition $8,410

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. 

San Jose's cultural, political, and forensic intersections set it apart. It is known as a strong choice for those interested in culturally focused forensics. 

10. University of New Haven

University of New Haven
U.S News Ranking #87 in Regional Universities North
Acceptance Rate 81%
Average GPA 3.5
Average SAT Score 1100–1280
Average ACT Score 26
In-State Tuition $22,050 per semester

The University of New Haven offers unique programs, such as Animal Cruelty Investigations, Forensic Genetic Genealogy, and Healthcare Fraud Investigations. These distinctive options attract students seeking non-traditional forensic routes. 

If you’re interested in forensic science but don’t know where to start, check out this webinar on how to get into a STEM program! Here our experts discuss STEM program options and college admissions advice and answer popular related questions in our Q&A portion.

How to Choose Which Forensic Science Colleges to Apply

Consider your career goals and interests when choosing which forensic science university to apply to. Look for programs that offer specialized courses or concentrations that match what you want to pursue. Here are other things you should consider:

  • Research the faculty's expertise
  • Look into the college's facilities, such as labs and equipment, to ensure they provide hands-on learning opportunities
  • Check the accreditation of the program to ensure it meets industry standards
  • The college's location, size, and campus culture to see if it fits your preferences
  • Cost of tuition and the availability of financial aid

Also, review the program's job placement rates and connections with potential employers to gauge future career prospects. 

If you need help finding the right college for you, check out our What College Should I Go to? quiz

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 13% within the next ten years. These professionals are also paid well, with an average salary of $64,940 per year. 

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 

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

Texas has a number of great colleges for forensic science, such as Texas A&M. This college is a top choice for environmental and ecological forensic science. Texas State is great for specialized tracks, UT Arlington is known for forensic science and genetics, and St. Mary's University is a noteworthy option for biology-focused programs. 

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. 

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. Fortunately, if you go with any one of these top-rated colleges for forensic science, you’re guaranteed to get a quality education!

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