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Think­ing about begin­ning the search for accel­er­at­ed CSI degrees? You’re in good com­pa­ny. Many peo­ple who already work in law enforce­ment choose to get accel­er­at­ed CSI degrees to allow them to advance in their career field fast. When you choose an accel­er­at­ed degree, you’re going to have to work hard, but you’ll get the degree that you want in much less time than if you went with a tra­di­tion­al degree pro­gram option.

Many accel­er­at­ed degree pro­grams offer blend­ed learn­ing for­mats, allow­ing you to do some of your work in the class­room set­ting and oth­er work in an online set­ting. This can make an accel­er­at­ed degree pro­gram doable for some­one who is also work­ing to advance their career while advanc­ing their edu­ca­tion. You’ll want to check in with your aca­d­e­m­ic advis­er about the aver­age time com­mit­ment for your accel­er­at­ed pro­gram to make sure you’re not overex­tend­ing your­self if you choose to work while also earn­ing your degree.

How We Ranked the Best Accelerated CSI Degrees

Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter edi­tors begin the process by research­ing accred­it­ed, rep­utable online pro­grams in crim­i­nal jus­tice and foren­sics that offer an accel­er­at­ed option. Then, we ranked pro­grams accord­ing to alum­ni salary, rep­u­ta­tion, and tuition rate, using Niche and IPEDS data.

1. Florida State University

Flori­da State University’s Pub­lic Safe­ty and Secu­ri­ty Pro­gram offers a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence (BS) degree pro­gram in Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion. It is rec­og­nized as one of the best accel­er­at­ed CSI degrees avail­able in Flori­da by the BestSchools.com. Stu­dents enrolled in Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty’s CSI degree pro­gram can fur­ther refine their aca­d­e­m­ic choic­es by adding a cer­tifi­cate in under­wa­ter crime inves­ti­ga­tion or law enforce­ment intel­li­gence. Stu­dents attend­ing FSU’s CSI degree pro­gram must com­plete 120 cred­it hours in course­work that includes crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion, evi­den­tial rea­son­ing, foren­sic sci­ence, pat­tern evi­dence, foren­sic death inves­ti­ga­tion, and crime sci­ence pro­fes­sion­al­ism, to name a few.

Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty was found­ed in 1851. FSU is a sea-grant and space-grant insti­tu­tion of high­er edu­ca­tion and a mem­ber school of the State Uni­ver­si­ty Sys­tem of Flori­da. The university’s cam­pus in the state’s cap­i­tal is home to more than 41,400 students.

What We Like: Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty oper­ates the Rin­gling Muse­um of Art.

Degree: Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion, BS

Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion, BS

2. Baker College

Bak­er Col­lege offers an accel­er­at­ed BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice. Course­work for Bak­er College’s best accel­er­at­ed CSI degrees includes crim­i­nal jus­tice con­cepts, vic­ti­mol­o­gy, crim­i­nol­o­gy, inequal­i­ty and crime, law and soci­ety, and youth and crime, to name a few. Stu­dents may take the pro­gram online with a two-year com­ple­tion date antic­i­pat­ed if a stu­dent takes one course each semes­ter. Stu­dents must com­plete 33 cred­it units in the crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion cur­ricu­lum to grad­u­ate with a Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion major. Bak­er Col­lege is rec­og­nized among the mil­i­tary-friend­ly schools in the Unit­ed States.

Bak­er Col­lege was found­ed in 1911. The college’s main cam­pus cov­ers more than 50 acres and serves more than 34,000 stu­dents. Bak­er Col­lege was vic­to­ri­ous in the 2008 and 2009 nation­al Cyber Defense Com­pe­ti­tion for colleges.

What We Like: Bak­er Col­lege oper­ates a dozen cam­pus­es through Michigan’s low­er penin­su­la, includ­ing a culi­nary institute.

Degree: Crim­i­nal Jus­tice, BS

Bak­er Col­lege BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

3. Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University’s Depart­ment of Ento­mol­o­gy offers a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence (BS) degree pro­gram in Foren­sic & Inves­tiga­tive Sci­ences that can be com­plet­ed as accel­er­at­ed CSI degrees. Texas A&M University’s CSI degrees have received accred­i­ta­tion from The Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Foren­sic Sci­ences’ Foren­sic Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion Pro­grams Accred­i­ta­tion Com­mis­sion (FEPAC). Stu­dents can opt for a FEPAC accred­it­ed track with a sci­ence empha­sis or a pre-law track that is not-accred­it­ed b FEPAC. Course­work for this pro­gram includes biotech­nol­o­gy and foren­sics, prob­lem-solv­ing case stud­ies, foren­sic impli­ca­tions, prin­ci­ples of sci­ence and law, and applied foren­sic ento­mol­o­gy, to name a few.

Texas A&M (A&M) Uni­ver­si­ty was estab­lished in 1871 as the Agri­cul­tur­al and Mechan­i­cal Col­lege of Texas. The university’s cam­pus in Col­lege Sta­tion cov­ers more than 5,100 acres and serves more than 69,500 students.

What We Like: Texas A&M Uni­ver­si­ty holds the dis­tinc­tion of being the first insti­tute of high­er learn­ing in the Lone Star State.

Degree: Foren­sic and Inves­tiga­tive Sci­ences, BS

Texas A&M Uni­ver­si­ty Foren­sic and Inves­tiga­tive Sci­ences, BS

4. Florida International University

Flori­da Inter­na­tion­al University’s Green School of Inter­na­tion­al and Pub­lic Affairs offers a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence degree in Crime Sci­ence (BSCS). FIU’s pro­grams offer stu­dents accel­er­at­ed CSI Degrees with course­work that includes crim­i­no­log­i­cal the­o­ry, crime map­ping, sta­tis­tics, courts, and foren­sic sci­ence and cyber­crime, to name a few. Crime scene majors at Flori­da Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty must com­plete core cur­ricu­lum cours­es that total 40 cred­it hours. This pro­gram is avail­able online and through the Modesto A Maid­ique Cam­pus in the west­ern por­tion of Mia­mi-Dade Coun­ty in South Florida.

Flori­da Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty was estab­lished in 1965. FIU is orga­nized into eleven schools/colleges that serve near­ly 59,000 stu­dents. The school also oper­ates cam­pus­es in Down­town Mia­mi and Bis­cayne Bay.

What We Like: Flori­da Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty is a research, mem­ber school of the State Uni­ver­si­ty Sys­tem of Florida.

Degree: Crime Sci­ence, BS

Flori­da Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty Crime Sci­ence, BS

5. American InterContinental University

Amer­i­can Inter­Con­ti­nen­tal Uni­ver­si­ty offers a BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice with an empha­sis in Foren­sic Sci­ence that is con­sid­ered one of the top accel­er­at­ed CSI degrees locat­ed in the mid­west­ern por­tion of the Unit­ed States. Stu­dents enrolled in Amer­i­can Inter­Con­ti­nen­tal Uni­ver­si­ty CSI degree pro­grams must com­plete 180 cred­it units to grad­u­ate. This pro­gram is avail­able in Hous­ton, Atlanta, and through the school’s dis­tance learn­ing pro­grams. Course­work for this CSI degree pro­gram includes foren­sic biol­o­gy, crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions, medicole­gal death inves­ti­ga­tion, foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy, psy­chopathol­o­gy, and cyber­crimes, to name a few.

Amer­i­can Inter­Con­ti­nen­tal Uni­ver­si­ty was estab­lished as a for-prof­it in 1970. The school’s cam­pus­es ‑both vir­tu­al and on-cam­pus, serve more than 15,000 stu­dents. Branch cam­pus­es of Amer­i­can Inter­Con­ti­nen­tal Uni­ver­si­ty are locat­ed in Atlanta, Flori­da, Texas, Lon­don, and Los Ange­les, among others.

What We Like: Amer­i­can Inter­Con­ti­nen­tal Uni­ver­si­ty was estab­lished by an Amer­i­can cou­ple in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Degree: Crim­i­nal Jus­tice: Foren­sic Sci­ence, BS

Amer­i­can Inter­Con­ti­nen­tal Uni­ver­si­ty Crim­i­nal Jus­tice: Foren­sic Sci­ence, BS

6. Troy University

Troy Uni­ver­si­ty offers a bachelor’s degree in crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­gram that pre­pares stu­dents for careers as a bailiff, emer­gency man­age­ment direc­tor, patrol offi­cer, secu­ri­ty guard, rail­road police or detec­tive, among oth­ers. These accel­er­at­ed CSI degree pro­grams from Troy Uni­ver­si­ty are avail­able online and six on-cam­pus options through Troy Uni­ver­si­ty. Stu­dents enrolled in Troy Uni­ver­si­ty’s CSI degree pro­gram must com­plete 120 cred­it units to grad­u­ate, includ­ing course­work like law enforce­ment, con­sti­tu­tion­al law, cor­rec­tions, vic­tim advo­ca­cy crim­i­nal research meth­ods, and crim­i­nol­o­gy, to name a few.

Troy Uni­ver­si­ty (Troy) was estab­lished in 1887 as a teacher train­ing school. The school’s cam­pus cov­ers more than 800 acres and is locat­ed in Troy, AL. Troy Uni­ver­si­ty oper­ates more than 50 aca­d­e­m­ic sites in the Unit­ed States.

What We Like: Troy Uni­ver­si­ty is a con­glom­er­a­tion of sev­er­al schools, Troy State in Mont­gomery, Phenix City, Troy and Dothan, AL.

Degree: Crim­i­nal Justice

Troy Uni­ver­si­ty Crim­i­nal Justice

7. West Virginia University

West Vir­ginia University’s Depart­ment of Foren­sic and Inves­tiga­tive Sci­ence offers a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence degree pro­gram in Foren­sic and Inves­tiga­tive Sci­ence that offers stu­dents three aca­d­e­m­ic tracks in Foren­sic Chem­istry, Foren­sic Biol­o­gy or Foren­sic Exam­in­er. WVU man­ages more than 200 intern­ships sites through­out the coun­try for stu­dents enrolled in their pro­grams – includ­ing an ongo­ing agree­ment with the crim­i­nal jus­tice divi­sion of the Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion (FBI). WVU’s accel­er­at­ed CSI degrees offer stu­dents tremen­dous research oppor­tu­ni­ties and an ear­ly col­lege program.

West Vir­ginia Uni­ver­si­ty was found­ed in 1768 under the Mor­rill Land Grant Act. The school is also a space-grant and flag­ship insti­tu­tion of high­er edu­ca­tion. The main cam­pus in Mor­gan­town is orga­nized into four­teen colleges/schools and serves near­ly 30,000 students.

What We Like: West Vir­ginia Uni­ver­si­ty oper­ates aca­d­e­m­ic out­reach cen­ters in each of West Virginia’s fifty-five counties.

Degree: Foren­sic and Inves­tiga­tive Sci­ence, BS

West Vir­ginia Uni­ver­si­ty Foren­sic and Inves­tiga­tive Sci­ence, BS

8. Lamar University

Lamar Uni­ver­si­ty offers accel­er­at­ed CSI degrees through the school’s online divi­sion. The Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence (BS) degree pro­gram in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice is offered with rolling admis­sions. Course­work for Lamar Uni­ver­si­ty’s accel­er­at­ed CSI degree pro­gram includes 120 cred­it units, includ­ing eth­i­cal issues in crim­i­nal jus­tice, deviant behav­ior, social the­o­ry, orga­nized crime, inter­net secu­ri­ty, police prob­lems, response to crime and law, and ethics in crim­i­nal jus­tice. Stu­dents com­plete 45 cred­it hours cho­sen from the advanced CSI elec­tive cur­ricu­lum. Stu­dents at Lamar Uni­ver­si­ty have mul­ti­ple oppor­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in intern­ships through­out Texas.

Lamar Uni­ver­si­ty (Lamar) was estab­lished in 1923 as South Park Junior Col­lege. Lamar Uni­ver­si­ty oper­ates as a mem­ber school of the Texas State Uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem since the mid-1990s. The school’s 285+ urban acres in Beau­mont, Texas, serves more than 15,000 students.

What We Like: Lamar University’s name hon­ors the sec­ond pres­i­dent of the Texas Republic.

Degree: Crim­i­nal Jus­tice, BS

Lamar Uni­ver­si­ty Crim­i­nal Jus­tice, BS

9. University of Maryland — Universities at Shady Grove

The Uni­ver­si­ties at Shady Grove offers a BS in Inves­tiga­tive Foren­sics that requires enrolled stu­dents to com­plete 120 cred­it hours to grad­u­ate. The Uni­ver­si­ties at Shady Grove’s accel­er­at­ed CSI degrees may approve up to 90 trans­fer cred­its for incom­ing stu­dents. Class­es for this CSI degree include inves­tiga­tive foren­sics, dig­i­tal analy­sis, crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion, cyber­crime, fin­ger­print analy­sis, and firearms analy­sis, to name a few.

The Uni­ver­si­ties at Shady Grove began as a part of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land but became reformed and reestab­lished in 2000. The Uni­ver­si­ties at Shady Grove offers learn­ers an oppor­tu­ni­ty to enroll in nine pro­grams from nine high­er edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions on one sin­gle campus.

What We Like: stu­dents attend class­es at the Uni­ver­si­ties at Shady Grove, but earn aca­d­e­m­ic degrees from the school offer­ing the actu­al program.

Degree: Inves­tiga­tive Foren­sics, BS

Uni­ver­si­ties at Shady Grove BS in Inves­tiga­tive Forensics

10. Sam Houston State University

Sam Hous­ton State University’s Col­lege of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice offers a Bach­e­lor of Arts (BA) or a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence (BS) degree pro­gram in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice that is rec­og­nized among the old­est and most pre­em­i­nent accel­er­at­ed CSI degrees. Both of the accel­er­at­ed CSI degree pro­grams offered by SHSU are avail­able through the school’s online divi­sion. Stu­dents enrolled Sam Hous­ton State University’s CSI degree pro­grams have the option of com­plet­ing an intern­ship for course cred­it dur­ing their senior year at SHSU. Stu­dents grad­u­ate ready for careers as police or pro­ba­tion offi­cers, fire inspec­tors, or social work­ers, to name a few.

Sam Hous­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty (SHSU) was found­ed in 1879 as a teacher’s train­ing insti­tute called the San Hous­ton Nor­mal Insti­tute. Sam Hous­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty is rec­og­nized as the third old­est pub­lic insti­tu­tion of high­er edu­ca­tion in the Lone Star State. Sam Hous­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty serves more than 21,100 stu­dents as a mem­ber school of the Texas State Uni­ver­si­ty System.

What We Like: Sam Hous­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty was the first school in the Texas State Uni­ver­si­ty Sys­tem to receive clas­si­fi­ca­tion as a doc­tor­al research school.

Degree: Crim­i­nal Jus­tice, BA/BS

Sam Hous­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty Crim­i­nal Jus­tice, BA/BS

What are the Advantages of an Accelerated CSI Degree Program?

When you choose an accel­er­at­ed CSI degree pro­gram, you’re not just accel­er­at­ing your edu­ca­tion — you’re like­ly accel­er­at­ing your career as well. By get­ting the edu­ca­tion you need to move up fast, you’re mak­ing it easy for your super­vi­sors to see that you’re will­ing to put in the hard work nec­es­sary to suc­ceed in your career. If you need to alter your sched­ule you accom­mo­date your edu­ca­tion, be sure to talk with your super­vi­sor before com­mit­ting to a degree program.

Can I Become a Crime Scene Investigator with a Bachelor’s Degree?

Won­der­ing what degree do you need for CSI work? Curi­ous about what degree is need­ed to be a crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor? Won­der­ing whether your bach­e­lor’s can help you get a CSI job? Yes, you can use your bach­e­lor’s degree for crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor posi­tions. While there are CSI degrees that are spe­cif­ic to crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion careers, you do not nec­es­sar­i­ly need a CSI degree to work with­in the crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion depart­ment of a law enforce­ment agency.

Many peo­ple who want to even­tu­al­ly earn an accel­er­at­ed degree in CSI start out with a dif­fer­ent degree. Whether degrees for CSI were unavail­able when they went to col­lege, or they weren’t sure which career path they even­tu­al­ly want­ed to pur­sue, many peo­ple who work in CSI have degrees in psy­chol­o­gy, biol­o­gy, chem­istry, physics, soci­ol­o­gy, and more. There’s no one degree need­ed for CSI. If you’re won­der­ing what degree do you need to be a CSI offi­cial, the news is good: many CSI depart­ments hire appli­cants from a vari­ety of aca­d­e­m­ic backgrounds.

What Kinds of Jobs are in Crime Scene Investigation?

When you’re look­ing for jobs in CSI, it’s impor­tant that you ful­ly under­stand the dif­fer­ent spe­cial­ties that fall under the crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor job umbrel­la. While some peo­ple assume that all CSI jobs involve deal­ing with blood and oth­er evi­dence from vio­lent crimes, the truth is not always quite so sen­sa­tion­al. Some peo­ple who gain CSI employ­ment work as gath­er­ers of evi­dence for all types of crimes. This could mean work­ing with finan­cial firms to seize assets after a fraud con­vic­tion, or it could mean going to the scene of a traf­fic acci­dent and tak­ing mea­sure­ments of skid marks to deter­mine who is at fault. Oth­er types of CSI jobs include crime scene pho­tog­ra­phy, detec­tive work, super­vis­ing oth­ers, and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with police offi­cers and lawyers regard­ing the evi­dence found at the crime scene.

As with most jobs in law enforce­ment, it’s key for peo­ple who work in CSI to have strong team­work and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills. Peo­ple who work in CSI need to be able to work quick­ly under pres­sure, and must be able to cope with a sched­ule that is not always reg­u­lar. When a crime occurs, crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion pro­fes­sion­als may need to go to work right away, even if it’s the mid­dle of the night or on a week­end. While the job is stress­ful, it can be incred­i­bly reward­ing for peo­ple who love the work.

What If I Don’t Want a Bachelor’s Degree?

If you’re inter­est­ed in work­ing in CSI but don’t want to get a bach­e­lor’s degree, you may be able to get an entry lev­el posi­tion in crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion pro­gram with a CSI cer­tifi­cate. A crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion cer­tifi­cate online can be espe­cial­ly valu­able if you already have expe­ri­ence work­ing in law enforce­ment and would like to tran­si­tion into the depart­ment of crime scene investigation.

If you’re already work­ing for a law enforce­ment agency, talk with your crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion depart­ment about the type of expe­ri­ence and edu­ca­tion required to earn a job in their depart­ment. You may also want to ask about tuition assis­tance for CSI cer­tifi­cate pro­grams. Your orga­ni­za­tion may pay for part or all of your tuition. You may also have the option to earn your crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion cer­tifi­cate now, and go on to get your bach­e­lor’s degree lat­er, with tuition assis­tance from your law enforce­ment organization.

Relat­ed Rankings:

25 Best Bach­e­lor’s in Crime Scene Investigation

15 Best Online Bach­e­lor’s in Crime Scene Investigation

10 Most Afford­able Bach­e­lor’s in Crime Scene Investigation