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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Mia­mi Dade Col­lege offers the #1 top school for an afford­able online bach­e­lor’s in foren­sic sci­ence.
  • The pro­grams are ranked pri­mar­i­ly by afford­abil­i­ty, pro­vid­ing excel­lent val­ue for those seek­ing to advance with­out sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial burden.
  • All fea­tured pro­grams are from accred­it­ed insti­tu­tions, ensur­ing a rep­utable and impact­ful education.
  • Degrees are designed to enhance career oppor­tu­ni­ties in var­i­ous foren­sic sci­ence fields, prepar­ing grad­u­ates for roles in labs, law enforce­ment, or pri­vate secu­ri­ty.

A career in foren­sic sci­ence can be espe­cial­ly ful­fill­ing to peo­ple who have a pas­sion for these dis­ci­plines: foren­sic sci­ence often com­bines chem­istry, biol­o­gy, com­put­er tech­nol­o­gy, psy­chol­o­gy, anthro­pol­o­gy, DNA sci­ence, and, of course, law and crim­i­nal jus­tice. Of course, such a broad and com­plex field requires a lot of spe­cial­ized train­ing. While many peo­ple start their careers at the entry-lev­el, with an associate’s degree, if you ever want to be the direc­tor of a lab or move into man­age­r­i­al roles, a high­er degree is necessary.

Work­ing pro­fes­sion­als can start that process with a foren­sic sci­ence degree online, which allows them to keep their cur­rent job while earn­ing their degree. It also gives them the chance to apply what they’re learn­ing in their day-to-day work. Online degrees are more con­ve­nient, but for stu­dents look­ing for an online degree in crim­i­nal foren­sics, afford­abil­i­ty may be the biggest sell­ing point. A high­er degree that helps you enhance your career with­out putting you into debt — that’s a real value.

Methodology: Ranking the Most Affordable Forensic Science Degree Online Programs

Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter makes a point of fea­tur­ing col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties that offer accred­it­ed, rep­utable degree pro­grams and make a real, pos­i­tive impact on stu­dents’ careers. All of the schools on the 10 Most Afford­able Foren­sic Sci­ence Degree Bach­e­lor Pro­grams for 2019 have proven their worth, but for order­ing the most afford­able rank­ing, only one thing mat­ters: cost. Schools are arranged from low­est tuition cost to high­est, accord­ing to cur­rent IPEDS data.

1. Miami Dade College

Mia­mi Dade College’s online Bach­e­lor of Applied Sci­ence in Pub­lic Safe­ty Man­age­ment offers a spe­cial­ty in Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion. This foren­sic sci­ence degree online is designed for stu­dents who hold an associate’s degree with a Grade Point Aver­age of 2.0 or bet­ter. Course­work includes Crime Sci­ence Tech­nol­o­gy, Crim­i­nal Evi­dence, Crime Scene Safe­ty, and Fin­ger­print Tech­nol­o­gy. Gen­er­al­ly, typ­i­cal­ly fin­ish the 60-cred­it spe­cial­ty degree in two years. Grad­u­ates are pre­pared to enter the pub­lic safe­ty sec­tor that includes the Secret Ser­vice, the FBI, ICE, and the Mar­shall Service.

Mia­mi Dade Col­lege is a pub­lic school that was estab­lished in 1959. The school oper­ates from eight cam­pus­es in the greater metro Mia­mi area. With more than 165,000, the col­lege holds the dis­tinc­tion of being the largest in the Flori­da Col­lege Sys­tem and the sec­ond largest insti­tu­tion of high­er learn­ing in the coun­try. Mia­mi Dade’s online degree is con­sid­ered one of the most afford­able in the nation.

Degree: Bach­e­lor of Applied Sci­ence in Pub­lic Safe­ty Man­age­ment — Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion

Want to learn more about the afford­able foren­sic sci­ence degree? Click here!

2. University of North Carolina at Pembroke

The Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Pembroke’s Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Stud­ies Bach­e­lor of Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Stud­ies in Foren­sics pre­pares grad­u­ates for careers in the fields of cor­rec­tions, courts or tra­di­tion­al police work. This degree in crim­i­nal foren­sics is divid­ed into 4 edu­ca­tion­al com­po­nents – Gen­er­al Edu­ca­tion, Core Edu­ca­tion­al Require­ments, Elec­tive Require­ments, and Foren­sic Spe­cial­ty Course­work. Stu­dents grad­u­ate with a com­pre­hen­sive edu­ca­tion and prac­ti­cal train­ing that allows for advance­ment in their cho­sen field, or even an oppor­tu­ni­ty to start their own business.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Pem­broke was found­ed in 1887 and remains a his­tor­i­cal­ly Amer­i­can Indi­an lib­er­al arts school. UNCP is one of sev­en­teen mem­ber schools that are orga­nized under the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na sys­tem. The school has ranked nation­al­ly in a num­ber of col­lege cat­e­gories. The school is locat­ed between the North Car­oli­na coast­line and the beau­ti­ful moun­tains in West­ern North Carolina.

Degree: BIS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Stud­ies — Foren­sics

Want to learn more about the afford­able foren­sic sci­ence degree? Click here!

3. Purdue University Global

Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty Global’s online BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree pro­gram pre­pares stu­dents with both nec­es­sary, fun­da­men­tal crim­i­nal jus­tice knowl­edge and the spe­cial­ized train­ing required for foren­sics. Pur­due Glob­al is one of the most afford­able online foren­sic sci­ence col­leges offer­ing two select edu­ca­tion­al paths. The Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion path focus­es on how to man­age crime scene evi­dence in accor­dance with indus­try stan­dards. The Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy path focus­es on how the field of psy­chol­o­gy impacts the peo­ple nav­i­gat­ing the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. Grad­u­ates find suc­cess­ful career oppor­tu­ni­ties in a vari­ety of crim­i­nal jus­tice fields that include counter-ter­ror­ism, pro­ba­tion, and pub­lic safe­ty, among many others.

Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty Glob­al is the dis­tance learn­ing school arm of the Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty Sys­tem. Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty Glob­al was cre­at­ed when Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty pur­chased the pri­vate edu­ca­tion com­pa­ny that was once known as Kaplan Uni­ver­si­ty. PG’s sev­en divi­sions serve more than 30,000 stu­dents. PG’s pro­grams are gen­er­al­ly career-cen­tric and focus on the adult learn­er. Degree options are avail­able for bach­e­lors, mas­ters, and doc­tor­ate coursework.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice — Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion or Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy

Want to learn more about the afford­able foren­sic sci­ence degree? Click here!

4. SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton’s Bachelor’s of Tech­nol­o­gy in Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion pre­pares stu­dents for a career in foren­sics. Grad­u­ates from this foren­sic sci­ence degree online are also required to com­plete a unique and inno­v­a­tive intern­ship with­in a vari­ety of crim­i­nal inves­tiga­tive set­tings. Course­work includes the appli­ca­tion of inves­tiga­tive skills, fin­ger­print tech­nol­o­gy, the man­age­ment of homi­cide inves­ti­ga­tions, and inves­tiga­tive pho­to­graph tech­niques. SUNY Can­ton also offers an associate’s lev­el online crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion certificate.

The State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York (SUNY) at Can­ton was estab­lished in 1906 and is a mem­ber school of the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York sys­tem. SUNY Canton’s cam­pus is locat­ed near the New York — Cana­di­an bor­der, which makes the school acces­si­ble to the Cana­di­an cities of Mon­tre­al and Ottawa. Stu­dents from the School of Sci­ence, Health and Crim­i­nal Jus­tice are home at Cook Hall, which includes cut­ting edge science/medical facilities.

Degree: Bach­e­lor of Tech­nol­o­gy in Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion

Want to learn more about the afford­able foren­sic sci­ence degree? Click here!

5. American Intercontinental University

Amer­i­can Inter­con­ti­nen­tal University’s BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice includes a spe­cial­iza­tion in Foren­sic Sci­ence. AIU’s foren­sic sci­ence degree online is an inte­gra­tive effort that com­bines the dis­ci­plines of law enforce­ment, sci­ence edu­ca­tion, and the prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion of crime scene tech­niques. Amer­i­can Inter­con­ti­nen­tal University’s crim­i­nal jus­tice degree requires stu­dents to com­plete 180-cred­it hours. AIU offers reduced mil­i­tary rats, trans­fer cred­its, schol­ar­ships, and grants. Stu­dents can opt to com­plete the pro­gram as a part-time stu­dent or a full-time student.

Amer­i­can Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Uni­ver­si­ty was estab­lished in 1970 in Lucerne, Switzer­land. The school oper­ates as a for-prof­it school offer­ing degrees on a doc­tor­al, mas­ters and bach­e­lors lev­el. AIU’s branch cam­pus­es include Atlanta, Los Ange­les, Hous­ton, Lon­don, and Dubai. Amer­i­can Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Uni­ver­si­ty serves more than 15,000 stu­dents each semes­ter. The school has been rec­og­nized as a ‘best col­lege’ by Mil­i­tary Times.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice — Foren­sic Sci­ence

Want to learn more about the afford­able foren­sic sci­ence degree? Click here!

6. Arizona State University

Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty Online’s BS in Psy­chol­o­gy degree pro­gram offers with a con­cen­tra­tion in Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy that can be com­plet­ed in 120-cred­it hours. Class­es are offered in sev­en and a half week terms for quick com­ple­tion. The New Col­lege of Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary pro­vides the plat­form on which a stu­dent can com­plete ASU blends course­work from the fields of men­tal health and crime. Each class con­tributes to the student’s com­pre­hen­sive edu­ca­tion and applied real-world skills.

Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty is a pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty that was found­ed in 1885 as a land grant school; 27 years before Ari­zona became a state. The school oper­ates sev­er­al region­al learn­ing cen­ters through­out the state in addi­tion to its 5 cam­pus­es locat­ed across the greater Phoenix area. In 2017, US News and World Report ranked ASU 61st, among 1,800 pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties. By enroll­ment, ASU is one of the largest uni­ver­si­ties in the country.

Degree: BS in Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy

Want to learn more about the afford­able foren­sic sci­ence degree? Click here!

7. Portland State University

Port­land State University’s online BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice includes a Cer­tifi­cate in Advanced Crime Analy­sis. PSU’s online crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion cer­tifi­cate (with­in the bac­calau­re­ate degree pro­gram) devel­ops each student’s prac­ti­cal skills in the realm of foren­sics. PSU’s BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree can be earned exclu­sive­ly online. Stu­dents grad­u­ate with the com­pre­hen­sive knowl­edge and know-how to man­age a crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion appropriately.

Port­land State Uni­ver­si­ty was estab­lished in 1946 as a pub­lic insti­tu­tion of high­er learn­ing in Portland’s uni­ver­si­ty dis­trict. The school con­sists of sev­en affil­i­at­ed col­leges that offer more than 120-degree options. The school’s 50-acre urban cam­pus is home to near­ly 30,000 stu­dents. Port­land State Uni­ver­si­ty is rec­og­nized nation­al­ly for its online crim­i­nal jus­tice bachelor’s degree. Port­land State Uni­ver­si­ty adheres to a cam­pus-wide stu­dent-cen­tric philosophy.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice — Cer­tifi­cate in Advanced Crime Analy­sis

Want to learn more about the afford­able foren­sic sci­ence degree? Click here!

8. Florida State University

Flori­da State University’s online BS in Pub­lic Safe­ty and Secu­ri­ty includes a Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion con­cen­tra­tion. This associate’s degree pro­gram is com­plet­ed in 2 years with all class­es offered online, except lab work is done on cam­pus in the sum­mer semes­ter. Stu­dents grad­u­ate with the skills required suc­ceed­ing in the fields of law enforce­ment, cor­rec­tions, tech­nol­o­gy, and the law.

Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty was estab­lished in 1851 and is a mem­ber school of the State Uni­ver­si­ty of Flori­da. The school holds the dis­tinc­tion of being the longest con­tin­u­ing insti­tu­tion of high­er learn­ing in the state. US News and World Report rec­og­nize FSU as a top pub­lic school in the coun­try. Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty is a land grant, space-grant, and sea-grant uni­ver­si­ty that is accred­it­ed by the South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools.

Degree: BS in Pub­lic Safe­ty and Secu­ri­ty – Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion

9. CSU-Global Campus

The Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty-Glob­al Cam­pus BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice offers an advanced focus in the area of Crim­i­nal Foren­sics. This foren­sic sci­ence degree online is an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach that includes the fields of social work, pub­lic safe­ty, and law enforce­ment. This foren­sic spe­cial­ty requires 30-cred­it hours of core spe­cial­ty cours­es with­in a 120 cred­it hour bac­calau­re­ate pro­gram. Stu­dents grad­u­ate ready for gain­ful employ­ment as a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tor, med­ical exam­in­er, or crime analyst.

Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty-Glob­al was found­ed in 2007 and oper­ates as the dis­tance-learn­ing arm of Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty. The school is affil­i­at­ed with Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty and has been accred­it­ed by the High­er Learn­ing Com­mis­sion, Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty-Pueblo. The school offers its online pro­grams using the ‘School­o­gy’ plat­form. Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty offers a tuition guar­an­tee for stu­dents who remain con­tin­u­ous­ly enrolled.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice — Crim­i­nal Foren­sics

Want to learn more about the afford­able foren­sic sci­ence degree? Click here!

10. Kent State University

Kent State University’s online foren­sic sci­ence bac­calau­re­ate degree pro­gram offers two tracks. The school’s Bach­e­lor of Tech­ni­cal and Applied Stud­ies in Fraud Exam­i­na­tion read­ies grad­u­ates for com­plex work in the business/financial sec­tor regard­ing fraud and finan­cial abuse. Kent States’ BS in Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy with a focus in Applied Com­put­er Secu­ri­ty and Foren­sics pre­pares grad­u­ates to suc­ceed in the field of com­put­ing infra­struc­ture and appli­ca­tion development.

Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty is a pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty that oper­ates sev­en cam­pus­es in the North­east por­tion of the State of Ohio. The school was found­ed in 1910 and is one of the largest insti­tu­tions of high­er learn­ing in Ohio with an over­all stu­dent enroll­ment near­ing 40,000. Kent State is one of the most afford­able online foren­sic sci­ence col­leges. Kent State took home first prize for the dis­tin­guished Healthy Cam­pus Award. Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty is home to the country’s first gluten-free cam­pus din­ing hall.

Bach­e­lor of Tech­ni­cal and Applied Stud­ies — Fraud Exam­i­na­tion
BS in Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy — Applied Com­put­er Secu­ri­ty and Foren­sics

Want to learn more about the afford­able foren­sic sci­ence degree? Click here!

What Kind of Education Do I Need to Become a Crime Scene Investigator?

One of the most daunt­ing tasks in pur­su­ing foren­sic sci­ence is the edu­ca­tion­al aspect, par­tic­u­lar­ly the cost­li­ness of it. So you are look­ing to get an edu­ca­tion in foren­sic sci­ence but are wor­ried about mon­ey. If that is the case, you’re not alone; col­lege tuition in Amer­i­ca has become an extreme­ly expen­sive prob­lem and many stu­dents are want­i­ng to avoid a mas­sive amount of debt. Afford­able high­er edu­ca­tion is out there, you just need to know where to find it.

Becom­ing a gen­er­al foren­sic sci­en­tist or a foren­sic sci­ence tech­ni­cian isn’t the only avail­able option to you. There are var­i­ous areas of con­cen­tra­tion with­in the field of foren­sic sci­ence and crime scene foren­sics is one of those con­cen­tra­tions. Crime scene foren­sics is appeal­ing to those who are inter­est­ed in comb­ing actu­al crime scenes to col­lect and pre­serve evi­dence. Think of the TV series CSI. In order to spe­cial­ize in this area, the stu­dent will need a crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor edu­ca­tion and training.

Crime scene inves­ti­ga­tor require­ments include the fol­low­ing: a bach­e­lor’s degree (usu­al­ly in foren­sic sci­ence, foren­sic anthro­pol­o­gy, or foren­sic biol­o­gy), on-the-job train­ing under a super­vi­sor, and a crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion cer­tifi­cate. It also helps if the aspir­ing inves­ti­ga­tor has strong ana­lyt­i­cal skills and an eye for detail. Online crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion cer­tifi­cates are avail­able to foren­sic sci­en­tists who work best under a vir­tu­al pro­gram. It’s com­mon for peo­ple already work­ing in the field of foren­sic sci­ence to also be pur­su­ing an edu­ca­tion in spe­cial areas like crime scene investigation.

Can I Get a Forensic Science Degree Online for Free?

No. In fact, it’s pret­ty unlike­ly to get a free degree any­where. There are free non-cred­it cours­es and edu­ca­tion­al resources that teach cer­tain areas of foren­sic sci­ence. While these online cours­es won’t go toward a degree, aspir­ing foren­sic sci­en­tists can take the cours­es to test whether a career in this field is right for them. For instance, some­one inter­est­ed in crime scene foren­sics could find an online course in it.

How­ev­er, to receive a full online degree in foren­sic sci­ence, the career seek­er will need to earn an edu­ca­tion from a FEPAC accred­it­ed foren­sic sci­ence pro­gram. It also helps to have a bach­e­lor’s degree from an accred­it­ed university.

On aver­age, tuition for a foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor’s degree can cost around $4955 to $9,232 a year. Tuition tends to be more expen­sive for peo­ple who attend col­lege out of state. Online guides are avail­able to list the most afford­able col­leges and pro­grams. Cer­tain guides will do com­par­isons of foren­sic sci­ence pro­grams for you. You can also look into schol­ar­ships and orga­ni­za­tions ded­i­cat­ed to pro­vid­ing stu­dent finan­cial aid.

What’s the Return on Investment for an Online Crime Scene Investigation Degree?

Accord­ing to the Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tor EDU, the medi­an annu­al salary for crime scene inves­ti­ga­tors is between $51,100 to $94,800. Mean­while, the aver­age foren­sic sci­ence tech­ni­cian earns about $57,850 per year, accord­ing to the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics. Out­look is also great for this field, with job growth expect­ed to grow by 17 per­cent in the next decade. While foren­sic sci­ence isn’t easy to learn, lovers of both sci­ence and crim­i­nal jus­tice find its pur­suit to be worth­while in the long term.

Relat­ed Rankings:

25 Best Bach­e­lor’s in Foren­sic Sci­ence Degree Pro­grams
15 Best Online Foren­sic Sci­ence Degree Bachelor’s Pro­grams
10 Fastest Online Foren­sic Sci­ence Degree Bachelor’s Programs