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A bachelor’s degree in crime scene investigation opens the door to a rewarding and in-demand profession. There are many jobs within the CSI career field, from working as a CSI technician to being the director of the criminal investigation department. If you have an eye for photography, you may be interested in a career as a CSI photographer, taking photos of crime scenes and evidence. If you like hands-on work, one of the careers in CSI that may be a good fit for you is an evidence collector, where you’ll work directly with finding and cataloging evidence.

CSI careers are myriad, and it’s likely that you’ll be able to find a career within the field that’s a good fit for your interests and career goals. Most people who work in a career as a crime scene investigator enjoy their job. Satisfaction within the crime scene investigator career field is high, but the stresses of the job can take a toll over time. Working with victims and families can be rewarding, but it can be hard to deal with the stressors of crime day in and day out.

How We Ranked the Best Crime Scene Investigations Degree Programs

To rank the best degrees in crime scene investigation, Bachelor’s Degree Center editors focused on accredited, reputable colleges and universities offering CSI and forensic bachelor’s degrees. With a pool in place, editors ranked programs based on their cost, graduate salary, and student reviews, with data from IPEDS and Niche.

1. Ohio State University

Ohio State University has a Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies, BA. A crime scene investigations degree is based in criminology, a sociology-related study of the criminal justice system. The study of criminology teaches learners different perspectives of the crime and explains the prevalence of different kinds of crime. This includes agencies set up to control and prevent delinquency. These programs include the courts, police, and probation, as well as correctional institutions. Topics include women and crime, youth and crime and how control agencies fit into the larger society.

Ohio State University is a public school with several campuses. Each location has a small number of undergraduate students. It offers all students an opportunity to enroll, and the most popular majors include Elementary and Middle School Administration, Liberal Arts and Humanities, Social Work and Youth Services and degrees in crime scene investigation.

Highlight: 100% of applicants are accepted, giving students an excellent opportunity to pursue higher education, including crime scene investigation degrees.

Degree: Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies, BA

2. George Washington University

Forensic chemists can begin their educations with a crime scene investigations degree from George Washington University. Designed for those with an undergraduate degree in chemistry, GWU’s dual Forensic Chemistry, BS to MFS prepares students for an accelerated track. Class materials incorporate the examination of textile fibers and arson accelerates. Students study the impact of drug abuse, infrared spectrometry, chain of evidence and court testimony.

George Washington is ranked as the second-best university in D.C. This private university is a large school with 11,000 undergraduate students. Less than half of the applicants receive acceptance letters. Popular majors include Medical Laboratory Technician, International Relations and Political Science and Government, as well as degrees in crime scene investigation. More than 82% of freshmen graduate from George Washington.

Highlight: GWU has an extremely high graduation rate among crime scene investigation degrees and other studies due to its competitive acceptance rate and excellent professors, who received an A grade from students bases on reviews and other factors.

Degree: Forensic Chemistry, BS to MFS

3. University of Alabama

The University of Alabama’s Criminology & Criminal Justice, BA is tailored toward students interested in computer fraud investigation, criminal investigation, crime scene analysis, studies in deviance, law and social control and terrorism. This crime scene investigations degree is geared toward students seeking an in-depth study of crime and devious studies as well as broad-based academic courses.

Alabama is a large school with nearly 30,000 undergrads. Admission to the school is competitive, with a 59% acceptance rate. Popular majors include Business, Marketing, Finance and degrees in crime scene investigation. Graduating 72% of students, Alabama provides a solid student experience, with 84% of students rating professor preparedness positively.

Highlight: Social athletes seeking crime scene investigation degrees may appreciate that school’s rankings as the #2 school for athletics and the #2 school for Greek life.

Degree: Criminology & Criminal Justice, BA

4. Towson University

Among the best crime scene investigation degrees, the University of Towson’s Forensic Chemistry, BS gives students the knowledge needed to enter careers as scientists in industry, business and government sectors. Some students go on to pursue advanced degrees. The Forensic Chemistry program incorporates biology, social science, mathematics and chemistry with forensic science coursework to prepare students to investigate crimes. Focused on the development of laboratory skills, this degree prepares learners for a life of crime-busting science.

An above-average public institution, Towson, Maryland has 17,350 undergraduate students. With 79% of applicants welcomed by the university, Townson has a somewhat competitive application process. Popular majors include crime scene investigations degree, Business, and Communications. Graduating 73% of students,

Highlight: Towson ranks #5 among best-value colleges in Maryland, ensuring that students receiving degrees in crime scene investigation and other fields get a quality education at an affordable price.

Degree: Forensic Chemistry, BS

5. East Carolina University

East Carolina University’s Criminal Justice, BS is a competitive crime scene investigations degree. Students majoring in criminal justice can choose a minor worth at least 29 credits or take general electives. Students complete 120 credit hours in the school’s degrees in crime scene investigation. General education courses include studies in national government, psychology, sociology, while core courses include an introduction to criminal justice, crime and criminology, correctional systems, police and society, the juvenile justice system and criminal law.

East Carolina is an above-average public school in Greenville, North Carolina. Besides crime scene investigation degrees, popular majors include nursing, communications and public health education.

Highlight: East Carolina is the #8 ranked university in North Carolina and 82% of students are invited to join the schools nearly 20,000 undergrad student body.

Degree: Criminal Justice, BS

6. Penn State University

Penn State University’s Forensic Science, BS teaches students scientific principles related to criminal and civil litigation and justice. This crime scene investigations degree combines courses across academic units to give students a strong foundation in the mathematical, biological and physical sciences. Learners become familiar with topics in forensic chemistry, forensic biology, criminalistics and crime scene investigation. Graduates go on to entry-level positions in forensic science, the collection of scientific evidence, and the presentation of evidence in court.

Penn State’s main campus in State College, Pennsylvania has over 39,000 undergraduate students. PSU accepts just 56% of freshmen applicants. Popular majors include biology, information science and economics. Although it’s tough to get in, 85% of students complete their undergraduate education to join the Penn State nation, with instant connections to Nittany Lions all over the world.

Highlight: Penn State University is the top-ranked public university in Pennsylvania, giving those who receive crime scene investigation degrees an advantage over grads of lower-ranking institutions.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

7. Cedarville University

Cedarville University’s Forensic Science, BS allows students to learn the skills needed to become forensic scientists. The school’s degrees in crime scene investigation teach learners everything from the chemical composition of substances to high-tech instruments that analyze DNA. Students study in an interdisciplinary program including lab work and internships at crime labs. The program emphasizes advanced science courses and the connection between science and the Christian faith.

Cedarville is a private, Christian school in Cedarville, Ohio. This small school has just 3,278 undergraduates but accepts four out of five applicants, including those seeking crime scene investigation degrees  Other popular majors include nursing, pharmacy and mechanical engineering. More than seven out of 10 students complete their degrees, which is relatively high compared to other major universities.

Highlight: Cedarville University is #31 among top Christian colleges, providing students of faith a chance to attend a conservative college when pursuing a crime scene investigations degree.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

8. Madonna University

Madonna University has a Forensic Science, BS that ranks among just 35 institutions to receive the prestigious accreditation from the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). In fact, it’s a top crime scene investigations degree boasting the only FEPAC Accredited undergraduate program in the state. Students receive hands-on education that familiarizes them with protocols currently employed in the field. Instructors are highly experienced professionals and learners can participate in independent research that may lead to publication opportunities.

Considered an above-average private school, Madonna is a Catholic university found in Michigan’s Detroit area. The undergraduate student body of less than 1,500 has been built up with the school’s generous acceptance rate of 78%. Besides degrees in crime scene investigation, students here often choose majors in international business and nursing.

Highlight: Approximately 91% of students, including those seeking crime scene investigation degrees, give professors high marks for preparedness, leaving prospective students

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

9. Grand Canyon University

The Forensic Science, BS at Grand Canyon University is among the top degrees in crime scene investigation. Graduates seek employment in public and private forensic science labs. Students who complete their crime scene investigations degree can work in roles involving DNA analysis, firearms analysis, crime scene investigation, autopsy assistance and lab work. With more work experience, students can pursue manager or director roles. Some graduates go on to pursue a master’s or PhD credential in forensic science.

Grand Canyon is the state’s primary nonprofit Christian university. Although it’s a private school, GCU provides higher education to students of faith and ranks 33rd among the nation’s top online universities. For on-campus students, the university ranks 6th for its innovative college dorms.

Highlight: About 98% of students seeking degrees such as crime scene investigation degrees receive financial aid, making this a viable option for students who need financial assistance to attend college.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

10. Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University has a Criminal Justice: Forensic Crime Scene Investigation, BS for students seeking a crime scene investigations degree. In this program, learners prepare to become effective professionals in forensic crime and criminal justice. Some students use the knowledge obtained in their crime scene investigation degrees to qualify for law school and other careers in the legal system. Entry-level career options for successful grads include state, local and federal justice agencies, law enforcement, juvenile justice and crime scene investigation.

Virginia Commonwealth is a public university located in Richmond, Virginia. This above-average, large college has over 20,207 undergraduate students. With a generous acceptance rate of 86%, popular majors include biology, psychology and business. VCU ranks highly for diversity and value for money among surveyed students.

Highlight: Virginia Commonwealth ranks among the top 100 schools (out of 585 ranked) for criminal justice nationally, which is good news for students seeking degrees in crime scene investigation.

Degree: Criminal Justice: Forensic Crime Scene Investigation, BS

11. University 0f Central Oklahoma

The University of Central Oklahoma has a Forensic Science, BS that’s among that nation’s best crime scene investigations degree. This is a dual program in chemistry and forensic science that has been accredited by FEPAC. Forensic science studies include chemistry, microscopy, toxicology and tons of labs. Students should plan on a comprehensive education in chemistry and some go on to pursue graduate degrees.

Located in Edmond, OK, Central Oklahoma is a public university with an undergraduate enrollment of 10,116. Nearly four out of five applicants are accepted at university, which is an above-average school. Besides degrees in crime scene investigation, popular majors include business, psychology and liberal arts.

Highlight: Approximately 81% of students agree that professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes and 84% of students believe they can find a job with crime scene investigation degrees or other degrees offered by the school.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

12. West Chester University 0f Pennsylvania

West Chester University of Pennsylvania’s Forensic and Toxicological Chemistry, BS is one of the top degrees in crime scene investigation. The curriculum aims to impart knowledge that helps graduates find jobs in toxicology laboratories, government and health professions. With crime scene investigation degrees, graduates receive fundamental knowledge of forensic sciences, biology, analytical chemistry and statistics. Students gain extensive lab skills and develop proficiency in oral communication and scientific writing.

A public university with over 13,000 undergrads, West Chester is an above-average school in the Philadelphia Area. Applicants have an acceptance rate of  74%, making this an excellent opportunity for motivated applicants. Popular majors include business, psychology and physical education. West Chester graduates a high percentage (75%) of students compared to similar schools.

Highlight: Eight out of 10 students feel they will get a job in their field after graduation. This includes learners who obtain a crime scene investigations degree.

Degree: Forensic and Toxicological Chemistry, BS

13. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University’s Criminal Justice: Criminalistics, BA is a competitive crime scene investigations degree. Learn about the latest criminal justice theories from faculty members with real experience investigating crime scenes. At Saint Leo, students gain knowledge of fingerprint analysis, crime scene processing, courtroom testimony and scientific writing.

Saint Leo is a private, Catholic university in the Tampa Area. This above-average school is mid-sized, hosting 6,112 undergraduates Applicants seeking degrees in crime scene investigation and other fields face tough competitive. Saint Leo only gives the nod to 60% of freshmen hopefuls. Popular majors include liberal arts, business and criminal justice.

Highlight: Saint Leo is ranked #31 among the top online colleges in America, guaranteeing degree recognition with a competitive edge for all graduates, including those with crime scene investigation degrees.

Degree: Criminal Justice: Criminalistics, BA

14. Alfred State College of Technology

According to Money Magazine, Alfred State College of Technology is ranked 8th in the U.S. among colleges with Forensic Science and Technology. The forensic science technology, BS at Alfred State delivers a hands-on experience to students seeking a crime scene investigations degree. The school is accredited by FEPAC and prepares graduates for career’s in forensic science or pursuit of more advanced degrees. Internship opportunities and extensive lab work prepare learners for real-world job scenarios. Degrees in crime scene investigation train students to fulfill the need for biological and chemical technicians.

Alfred State is a small college open to the public. It has just under 3,500 undergraduate enrollees. With an admission rate of 63%, the university poses a challenge for applicants of crime scene investigation degrees and other field of study. Popular majors include business support services, nursing, and electrical engineering.

Highlight: Up to 96% of students receive financial aid, making ASC attractive to students in need of monetary assistance to pursue their education.

Degree: Forensic Science Technology, BS

15. University of the Incarnate Word

The University of the Incarnate Word’s Criminal Justice, BS program is among the top degrees in crime scene investigation in the nation. Students in this major benefit from a program designed to enhance professional careers in Criminal Justice. This crime scene investigations degree synthesizes traditional and modern crime studies. Students gain an in-depth understanding of the U.S, Criminal Justice System and exposure to the evolution of crimes. Learners gain a solid foundation in understanding contemporary crime.

The University of the Incarnate Word’s mission includes building men and women into enlightened citizens ready to take part in the global community. Its tenets include a foundation of liberal education, and UIW encourages students to develop their whole being through life-long learning. As a student, in crime scene investigation degrees and other disciplines, learners engage with faculty members in the search for truth, thoughtful innovation and social justice.

Highlight: Incarnate Word accepts 88% of students and ranks 63rd among Catholic universities in the United States.

Degree: Criminal Justice, BS

16. Cedar Crest College

Cedar Crest College has a Forensic Science, BS that ranks among the top crime scene investigation degrees in the country. Students prepare for a number of different career paths, including drug chemistry, toxicology and crime scene investigation. Successful graduates move on to jobs in the private and public sectors, including police departments and state forensic labs. Some graduates work in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and medical research.

Founded in 1867, Cedar Crest College takes a bold approach to higher education geared primarily for women who want to excel in their chosen fields of study, including a crime scene investigations degree. Cedar Crest College aims to develop students fully, to build the next generation of leaders. The criminal justice program ranks #105 out of 525 schools evaluated.

Highlight: With just over half of applicants accepted into the college, studying at Cedar Crest promises a challenging experience but 99% of students receive financial assistance for degrees in crime scene investigation and other fields.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

17. Texas Wesleyan University

Texas Wesleyan University has a Criminal Justice, BS designed for students seeking a crime scene investigations degree. Students enrolled in degrees in crime scene investigation explore subjects like trends in criminal justice, research and the cause of crimes. Graduates master diverse topics such as business, law, courts, security corrections and academia. Thise graduation with crime scene investigation degrees pick up critical thinking skills regarding criminality After graduation, many TWU graduates become ethical and engaged citizens.

An above-average university, Texas Wesleyan is a private, Christian school in Fort Worth. The small school has just under 1,300 undergraduates. Other popular majors include business, psychology and liberal arts.

Highlight: TWU has an extremely competitive application process and only 36% of applicants make the cut, making a degree from the university highly desirable.

Degree: Criminal Justice, BS

18. Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago has a Forensic Science, BS that appeals to students seeking a crime scene investigations degree. The school’s degrees in crime scene investigation provide students with a broad range of knowledge and skills related to biology and chemistry. Students gain a foundation in the U.S. criminal justice system, including the rules of evidence. Successful graduates pick up strong speaking and writing skills and technical expertise in the field. Those with crime scene investigation degrees develop highly advanced analytic reasoning abilities. This program has been accredited by the Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

Loyola’s reputation in the sciences enables forensic science graduates to confidently enter technical fields. LUC received an overall grade of A- from students in categories such as academics, diversity and value for money. The school accepts 68% of applicants and 99% of students received some form of financial aid.

Highlight: Loyola University Chicago in number 19 among 164 Catholic universities ranked, making it well-positioned to deliver a great education to conservatively minded students.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

19. Columbia College

The Forensic Science, BS at Columbia College provides a firm foundation for students seeking crime scene investigation degrees. The program addresses the highly popular field dramatized on TV dramas and documentaries. Students learn chemistry, biology, physics and law to earn an entry-level position in this growing field. Graduates with degrees in crime scene investigation learn physical evidence, trace evidence, DNA and toxicology.

Columbia College is a private institution and a Christian college with fewer than 800 undergraduate students. Nearly all applicants gain admission to the school, where popular majors include criminal justice and safety studies and social work. When surveyed, 85% of students gave high marks to their professors.

Highlight: With an acceptance rate of 96%, Columbia offers broad access to higher education and 99% of students receive financial aid. This presents an excellent opportunity for students seeking a crime scene investigations degree with financial assistance.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

20. Point Park University

The Forensic Science, BS at Point Park University offers students an excellent opportunity to pursue a crime scene investigations degree. Those seeking degrees in crime scene investigation at Point Park work in most areas of a standard forensics lab. The schools crime scene investigation degrees immerse learners in the world of arson, toxicology, drugs and DNA evidence. The university gives students a unique opportunity to investigate mock crime scenes.

Point Park University is a competitive school that accepts 65% of applicants. Students, including those studying forensic science, can participate in internships to gain real-world experience in the field. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office is within walking distance of the college.

Highlight: Point Park University ranked #34 for best college locations in the United States and 100% of students receive financial aid.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

21. SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton has a Criminal Investigation, BT for students seeking a crime scene investigations degree. Students with degrees in crime scene investigation receive criminal investigations training and learn to analyze evidence, preserve crime scenes and process evidence. Students can complete five upper-level criminal justice course or spend a semester with a criminal investigation unit. Crime scene investigation degrees prepare graduates for careers as medical investigators, crime scene technicians, military police, forensic scientists and federal law enforcement employees.

A public college, SUNY Canton a small college that hosts 2,743 undergraduate students. With an acceptance rate of 78%, the school is somewhat competitive, with the most popular majors including nursing, vet tech, humanities and liberal arts. SUNY offers 15 online degrees and 96% of students receive financial assistance.

Highlight: SUNY Canton received high marks for diversity and campus safety, and SAT/ACT scores are recommended but not required, giving students who don’t test well a bit of a break.

Degree: Criminal Investigation, BT

22. University of Tampa

At the University of Tampa, the Forensic Science, BS provides students with a crime scene investigations degree. The school’s degrees in crime scene investigation prepare learners for forensic science roles and the program is accredited viay the Forensic Science Educational Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). Crime scene investigation degrees train students in forensic chemistry, toxicology, biology, and firearms examinations.

The University of Tampa’ boasts a vibrant urban campus and distinguished faculty. There are more than 9,300 students from 132 countries. The university has ranked in top college listings by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and Forbes.

Highlight: Although just 49% of applicants receive acceptance letters, 96% of students receive financial aid.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

23. Davenport University

Davenport University’s Digital Forensics, BS provides the knowledge and skills needed to process, collect, analyze and preserve digital evidence. This high-tech crime scene investigations degree use techniques to secure and recover information from file systems, networks, operating systems and mobile devices. Degrees in crime scene investigation help graduates find jobs assessing network vulnerabilities and counter-intelligence investigations. Through a solid foundation, this program prepares graduates for a number of professional opportunities in government or business settings.

Located in Caledonia Township, Davenport is a private university with a small undergraduate enrollment of 2,557. Applicants seeking crime scene investigation degrees and other fields of study have an 89% chance of acceptance.

Highlight: Students rate the campus, dorms and safety at Davenport an A-, showing the school’s dedication to student safety.

Degree: Digital Forensics, BS

24. University of Providence

The University of Providence’s Forensic Science, BS helps students attain a crime scene investigations degree. These degrees in crime scene investigation are unique, concentrating on criminal justice topics. Providence’s crime scene investigation degrees focus on forensic sciences, math and hard sciences, reinforced by the many laboratory classes. Skills mastered include fingerprint analysis, serology, DNA analysis and blood spatter analysis. Students also have the opportunity to complete summer internships at laboratories in Montana and other states.

The University of Providence is a private school of less than 500 undergraduate students. The competitive acceptance rate of 56% makes the admissions process competitive, and other popular majors include nursing and biology.

Highlight: Despite the fierce competition to get in, once accepted, 100% of students receive financial aid.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

25. University of New Haven

The University of New Haven’s Forensic Science, BS offers eligible students an opportunity to achieve a crime scene investigations degree. Degrees in crime scene investigation  teach students the necessary science and technology to present evidence in court. Students develop their powers of observation and learn to interpret forensic science evidence. New Haven’s crime scene investigation degrees are accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

This private university is a small school and home to nearly 4,800 undergraduate students. With an acceptance rate of 84%, the school gives most applicants an opportunity to study here. Popular majors include criminal justice, psychology and law enforcement.

Highlight: The University of New Haven ranks #16 among the best value universities in Connecticut.

Degree: Forensic Science, BS

Is Crime Scene Investigation a Good Career?

Whether you watch CSI on TV, or you’ve always been interested in doing detective work, you may be wondering if CSI as a career is a good fit for you. While a career in CSI can be exciting, it’s not always as glamorous a it seems on TV.

While you’re wondering, “is crime scene investigation a good career?” it’s important to keep an eye on how the demand for the job changes over time. It’s expected that career options in the CSI career path will grow by 14% over the coming 8 years, putting the growth level for careers in crime scene investigation higher than the average growth for most career fields.

How Do I Choose a CSI Bachelor’s Program?

When you’re thinking about going to college for CSI, you’ll want to choose your crime scene investigation college carefully. Perdue, SNHU, and University of Cincinnati all offer excellent CSI college majors through their online programs, making it easier to continue working in your current job and pursue your education at the same time.

When you’re sorting through schools for CSI, trying to figure out which one makes the most sense for you, it can be helpful to meet with a career advisor to talk about your long-term plans in the CSI field. Knowing where you eventually want to go in your career can help you figure out which colleges with crime scene investigation will set you up for long-term career success. Be sure to check in with schools around you regularly, as more and more colleges that offer law enforcement programs are becoming crime scene investigator schools each year.

What Should I Major in to Be a Crime Scene Investigator?

In most areas, crime scene investigators must hold a bachelor’s degree. Since the field of crime scene investigation is still somewhat new, it may be hard to find a school near you that offers a major for crime scene investigation. There are many options if you’re not able to find a crime scene investigator major in college. Many people who eventually work as a crime scene investigator earn their undergraduate degree in natural sciences (including chemistry and biology), social sciences (such as sociology or psychology), forensic science, or criminal justice.

If you already know the law enforcement agency with which you’d eventually like to work, you may want to reach out to their current crime scene investigators and ask them about their college experience. They’ll be able to tell you what they majored in, if they still believe it was the right choice, and the elective courses that they found most helpful. Your academic advisor at your school will also be able to help you choose a major that makes sense for your career goals down the line.

What Will I Learn in a CSI Program?

When you enroll in CSI schooling, your education will depend greatly on the path you choose to take within the CSI career field. If you decide to major in forensics, like many people going through crime scene investigator schooling, you’ll spend much of your time learning about how to analyze a crime scene, how to use fluids and DNA left behind to make conclusions about what happened when the crime was committed, and you’ll learn how to explain this information to others who are not as advanced in forensics. During schooling for CSI, you’ll also fulfill basic CSI degree requirements, such as writing, public speaking, communication, basic science, and more.

If you choose to learn more about a specialty area of crime scene investigation, such as crime scene photography or evidence collection, it’s important to take specialized electives that will allow you to excel in your field. You may want to talk with your college advisor about the electives available to you, and how you can make those options help you toward your career goals.

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