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Work­ing pro­fes­sion­als who came into crim­i­nal jus­tice and foren­sics at the entry-lev­el — usu­al­ly with a high school diplo­ma, cer­tifi­cate, or associate’s degree — have made their way into a reward­ing, in-demand, and grow­ing occu­pa­tion. They’re also at a dis­ad­van­tage, because to progress into lead­er­ship posi­tions or roles with greater tech­ni­cal exper­tise, they will need a bachelor’s degree. A foren­sic sci­ence bachelor’s is the next step for­ward, and an online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree makes it con­ve­nient for work­ing adults to fin­ish their bachelor’s beyond the diplo­ma or associate’s.

But if you want pro­mo­tion and advance­ment as soon as pos­si­ble, not all pro­grams can do the job. Accel­er­at­ed bachelor’s degree com­ple­tion pro­grams solve that prob­lem. The fastest online degree com­ple­tion pro­grams use a vari­ety of meth­ods to help stu­dents fin­ish quick­ly, from allow­ing stu­dents to trans­fer as much as 75% of required cred­its, to fast-track sched­ules with short class­es and many start dates through the year. For stu­dents who need an accel­er­at­ed online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree, Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter has run the numbers.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Online Forensic Science Bachelor Degree Programs

To rank the 10 Fastest Online Foren­sic Sci­ence Degree Bachelor’s Pro­grams for 2019, Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter focused on accred­it­ed, online bachelor’s com­ple­tion pro­grams that made it easy for stu­dents to fin­ish their degree quick­ly. Accel­er­at­ed cours­es, gen­er­ous trans­fer poli­cies, and oth­er fac­tors that help increase speed, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing qual­i­ty, were the standards.

From there, pro­grams are ranked accord­ing to Cost, Rep­u­ta­tion, Alum­ni Salary, Grad­u­a­tion Rate, and Job Place­ment — data gath­ered from Col­lege Score­card, IPEDS, and Niche. The aver­age of these scores puts the best com­bi­na­tion, with the fastest pro­grams, at the top.

1. West Virginia State University

West Vir­ginia State University’s BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice pro­vides a Cer­tifi­cate in Inves­ti­ga­tion. WVSU’s online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree pro­gram requires no on-cam­pus degree-relat­ed work. Stu­dents grad­u­ate with exten­sive train­ing in the country’s crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem and its work­ing rela­tion­ship with the social aspects of life. Appli­cants have the option to trans­fer up to 72 cred­its towards the degree require­ments of 120-cred­it hours, which reduces the time required to earn the degree. Course­work includes Fin­ger­print­ing, Inter­ro­ga­tions, Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion, and Crime Sci­ence Investigations.

West Vir­ginia State Uni­ver­si­ty was estab­lished in 1891 and is one of the first groups of land grant col­leges that were char­tered by the Mor­rill Act. West Vir­ginia State Uni­ver­si­ty is a his­tor­i­cal­ly black uni­ver­si­ty (HBCU) and a mem­ber school of the Thur­good Mar­shall Col­lege Fund. Its sub­ur­ban cam­pus sits upon land that was once Native Amer­i­can land. WVSU is rec­og­nized as a Tree Cam­pus, USA school for its ded­i­cat­ed for­est man­age­ment initiatives.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice with a Cer­tifi­cate in Investigation

Click here to learn more about the accel­er­at­ed foren­sic sci­ence degree!

2. Champlain College

Cham­plain College’s BS in Com­put­er Foren­sics and Dig­i­tal Inves­ti­ga­tions can be com­plet­ed exclu­sive­ly online. Cham­plain College’s online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree is a nation­al­ly rec­og­nized pro­gram, which offers degree can­di­dates the oppor­tu­ni­ty to study in the well-known Leahy Cen­ter for Dig­i­tal Inves­ti­ga­tion. Grad­u­ates enter the work­force with the skills required to ana­lyze dig­i­tal secu­ri­ty breach­es and to recov­er lost data. The foren­sic degree is offered in sev­en-week class for­mats to allow for an accel­er­at­ed pace to com­ple­tion. Addi­tion­al­ly, Cham­plain Col­lege allows the appli­cant to trans­fer up to 90-cred­it hours.

Cham­plain Col­lege was estab­lished in 1878. The school offers both on-cam­pus and online degree options. Its res­i­den­tial cam­pus in Burling­ton, Ver­mont is home to 2,200 full-time under­grad­u­ate stu­dents. Cham­plain Col­lege oper­ates two inter­na­tion­al branch cam­pus­es in Mon­tre­al and Dublin. US News & World rec­og­nizes Cham­plain Col­lege as the most inno­v­a­tive school in the north­ern por­tion of the Unit­ed States.

Degree: BS in Com­put­er Foren­sics and Dig­i­tal Investigations

Click here to learn more about the accel­er­at­ed foren­sic sci­ence degree!

3. Pace University

Pace University’s BS in Pro­fes­sion­al Stud­ies Com­put­er Foren­sics spe­cial­iza­tion is offered by the Sei­den­berg School of Com­put­er Sci­ence and Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems. Stu­dents of the online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree learn from renowned fac­ul­ty that includes expert wit­ness­es, inves­ti­ga­tors, and experts in the field of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion. The Sei­den­berg School holds the dis­tinc­tion of aca­d­e­m­ic excel­lence as a Cyber Defense Edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tion of high­er learn­ing. Degree appli­cants can accel­er­ate the time required to earn a degree by tak­ing advan­tage of their gen­er­ous trans­fer-cred­it policies.

Pace Uni­ver­si­ty in New York City, NY was estab­lished in 1906. The school oper­ates 3 cam­pus­es — one in Man­hat­tan and two in Westch­ester Coun­ty in the town Pleas­antville and the city of White Plains. It is a pri­vate insti­tu­tion of high­er edu­ca­tion that began as a coed­u­ca­tion­al busi­ness school by two broth­ers. US News & World Report ranks Pace Uni­ver­si­ty among the top 200 nation­al universities.

Degree: BS in Pro­fes­sion­al Tech­nol­o­gy Stud­ies — Com­put­er Forensics

Click here to learn more about the accel­er­at­ed foren­sic sci­ence degree!

4. Columbia Southern University

Colum­bia South­ern University’s BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Admin­is­tra­tion offers an advanced focus in the spe­cial­ty of Arson Inves­ti­ga­tions. Colum­bia Southern’s pro­gram requires the com­ple­tion of 120-cred­it hours, of which 90 cred­its may be trans­ferred from pre­vi­ous high­er learn­ing class­es. This online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree pro­gram pre­pares grad­u­ates to be ratio­nal think­ing foren­sic pro­fes­sion­als with a spe­cial­ty of a fire event. Course­work includes fire analy­sis, inves­ti­ga­tion, and com­bus­tion, among many oth­er top­ics. The online degree pro­gram pro­vides stu­dents with some of the most flex­i­ble dis­tance learn­ing possibilities.

Colum­bia South­ern Uni­ver­si­ty locat­ed in Orange Beach, Alaba­ma, is a fam­i­ly-owned pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty that spe­cial­izes in dis­tance learn­ing edu­ca­tion­al options. The school was estab­lished in 1993 and is home to more than 21,000 under­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate stu­dents. Colum­bia South­ern receives its online accred­i­ta­tion from the Dis­tance Edu­ca­tion Accred­i­ta­tion Com­mis­sion (DEAC) and offers some of the most afford­able tuition rates in the country.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Admin­is­tra­tion — Arson Investigation

Click here to learn more about the accel­er­at­ed foren­sic sci­ence degree!

5. Southern New Hampshire University

The South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty BA in Psy­chol­o­gy-Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy spe­cial­iza­tion can be com­plet­ed entire­ly online. Course­work includes the areas of Crim­i­nal Pro­fil­ing, Crim­i­nal Offend­er Treat­ment, Abnor­mal Psy­chol­o­gy, among oth­ers. SNHU’s online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree pro­gram requires the com­ple­tion of 120-cred­it hours; how­ev­er, its gen­er­ous trans­fer cred­it pol­i­cy (up to 90-cred­it hours) eas­i­ly reduces the time required to com­plete this bac­calau­re­ate degree. South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty offers online degree pro­grams with some of the most afford­able tuition rates in the country.

South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty was estab­lished in 1932, and with their inno­v­a­tive online dis­tance-learn­ing plat­form, SNHU is now one of the fastest grow­ing insti­tu­tions of high­er learn­ing in the coun­try. Between 2001 and 2015, the online stu­dent body swelled from 8,000 stu­dents to near­ly 35,000 stu­dents. The uni­ver­si­ty oper­ates with six colleges/schools. The New Eng­land com­mis­sion of High­er Edu­ca­tion accred­its SNHU.

Degree: BA in Foren­sic Psychology

Click here to learn more about the accel­er­at­ed foren­sic sci­ence degree!

6. American Public University

Amer­i­can Pub­lic University’s accel­er­at­ed BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree pro­gram pro­vides an advanced focus in Dig­i­tal Foren­sics. This online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree includes class­es that cov­er Evi­den­tiary Sci­en­tif­ic Eval­u­a­tion, Crim­i­nal Behav­ior, and Dig­i­tal Foren­sics as it relates to the law. This four-year pro­gram requires the com­ple­tion of 120-cred­it hours; how­ev­er, APUS pro­vides a gen­er­ous trans­fer-cred­it pro­to­col that eas­i­ly reduces how long it takes to com­plete the degree. The school pro­vides a vari­ety of schol­ar­ships, finan­cial aid and reduced rates for those who qual­i­fy for a mil­i­tary grant.

Amer­i­can Pub­lic Uni­ver­si­ty was found­ed in 1991 and oper­ates as a for-prof­it, pri­vate insti­tu­tion of high­er learn­ing that spe­cial­izes in online learn­ing options. The uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem includes the Amer­i­can Pub­lic Uni­ver­si­ty and the Amer­i­can Mil­i­tary Uni­ver­si­ty. The school’s stu­dent body nears 49,000. The Accred­it­ing Com­mis­sion of the Dis­tance Edu­ca­tion and Train­ing Coun­cil accred­its APUS’ degree programs.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice — Dig­i­tal Forensics

Click here to learn more about the accel­er­at­ed foren­sic sci­ence degree!

7. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University’s BA in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Crim­i­nal­is­tics con­cen­tra­tion pre­pares stu­dents to ana­lyze DNA, Bul­lets, and Fin­ger­prints — and any oth­er crime sci­ence evi­dence — that leads to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of poten­tial sus­pects and the rebuild­ing of a crime event. Grad­u­ates find gain­ful employ­ment in the areas of law enforce­ment, Secret Ser­vice, and the Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion. To speed up the process, stu­dents can advan­tage of Saint Leo University’s lib­er­al trans­fer-cred­it pol­i­cy that allows for a max­i­mum of 90 credits.

Saint Leo Uni­ver­si­ty was orig­i­nal­ly estab­lished in 1889. Its rur­al cam­pus is sit­u­at­ed about 30 miles of the city of Tam­pa. Saint Leo Uni­ver­si­ty holds the dis­tinc­tion as being the first Roman Catholic school in the state of Flori­da and as one of the five largest catholic affil­i­at­ed uni­ver­si­ties in the sun­shine state. Saint Leo Uni­ver­si­ty was one of the first uni­ver­si­ties to offer dis­tance edu­ca­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties; this began dur­ing the Viet­nam War.

Degree: BA in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice — Criminalistics

Click here to learn more about the accel­er­at­ed foren­sic sci­ence degree!

8. Columbia College (SC)

Colum­bia College’s BA in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Foren­sic Track requires the com­ple­tion of course­work that includes Foren­sic DNA, Fin­ger­print Tech­nol­o­gy, and Foren­sic Tox­i­col­o­gy Tech­niques. Stu­dents study from the Fed­er­al Bureau of Investigation’s Tech­ni­cal Man­u­al through CC’s part­ner­ship with the South Car­oli­na Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Acad­e­my. Grad­u­ates are pre­pared to suc­ceed work­ing as a Coro­ner, a Detec­tive, as an ana­lyst in the FBI or CIA, a Cus­toms Agent, and Foren­sic Inves­ti­ga­tor, among many others.

Colum­bia Col­lege is a pri­vate all wom­en’s col­lege that was estab­lished in 1854. It holds the dis­tinc­tion as one of the country’s old­est women’s col­leges. The US News and World Report mag­a­zine rec­og­nizes Colum­bia Col­lege in South Car­oli­na as a top lib­er­al arts col­lege in the South­ern Unit­ed States.

Degree: BA in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice — Foren­sic Track

Click here to learn more about the accel­er­at­ed foren­sic sci­ence degree!

9. University of Maryland University College

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land Uni­ver­si­ty College’s accel­er­at­ed online BS in Inves­tiga­tive Foren­sics allows for up to 90-cred­it hours to be trans­ferred towards the program’s require­ments. Course­work for the online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree spe­cial­ty includes Fin­ger­print Analy­sis, Firearms, Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure, Evi­den­tiary The­o­ry, and Inves­tiga­tive Foren­sics. The school rec­om­mends stu­dents come to the pro­gram with some expe­ri­ence with com­put­ers, lab work, and protocols.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege was estab­lished in 1947. The school oper­ates in Adel­phi, Largo, and the greater Bal­ti­more-Wash­ing­ton, DC area as well as sev­er­al satel­lite cam­pus­es inter­na­tion­al­ly. UMUC is a mem­ber school of the Uni­ver­si­ty Sys­tem of Mary­land. The school offers cours­es to more than 125 mil­i­tary instal­la­tions in Europe, Asia, and the Mid­dle East.

Degree: BS in Inves­tiga­tive Forensics

Click here to learn more about the accel­er­at­ed foren­sic sci­ence degree!

10. Liberty University

Lib­er­ty University’s online BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tion con­cen­tra­tion comes from the Helms School of Gov­ern­ment. This 120-cred­it hour online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree pro­gram allows for 90-cred­it hours to reduce degree com­ple­tion time. LU pro­vides lib­er­al dis­counts for Mil­i­tary members/spouses, as well as work­ing First Respon­ders & Law Enforce­ment Pro­fes­sion­als. Class­es are com­plet­ed entire­ly online in eight-week formats.

Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty is a Chris­t­ian evan­gel­i­cal uni­ver­si­ty that was estab­lished in 1971 in Lynch­burg, Vir­ginia. Lib­er­ty holds the dis­tinc­tion as one of the largest Chris­t­ian insti­tu­tions of high­er learn­ing. Addi­tion­al­ly, LU’s stu­dent enroll­ment of 110,000 makes it the world’s largest non-prof­it school in the coun­try. US News & World Report ranks Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty 8th best in the coun­try for its grad­u­ate crim­i­nal jus­tice degree pro­grams. Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty receives accred­i­ta­tion from the South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools Com­mis­sion on Col­leges (SACSCOC).

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice — Crime Scene Investigation

Click here to learn more about the accel­er­at­ed foren­sic sci­ence degree!

How Quickly Can I Get an Online Forensic Science Bachelor Degree?

As the name sug­gests, accel­er­at­ed edu­ca­tion is a fast-paced way of learn­ing. Some peo­ple want to receive an accel­er­at­ed degree in order to save time and mon­ey. Accel­er­at­ed cours­es are usu­al­ly con­duct­ed online, mak­ing it more con­ve­nient for the stu­dent in terms of sched­ul­ing and com­mut­ing. On-cam­pus bach­e­lor’s degree pro­grams can take four years or more, but an accel­er­at­ed online degree can take as lit­tle as a year. How­ev­er, accel­er­at­ed pro­grams typ­i­cal­ly have the same amount of cours­es as a four-year pro­gram, so accel­er­at­ed stu­dents will need to be pre­pared for that.

How quick­ly you can get an online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree will depend on the pro­gram you sign up for. For some pro­grams, it is as short as 12 months with enough trans­fer cred­its. An online foren­sic sci­ence bach­e­lor degree can lead to oth­er oppor­tu­ni­ties, like a dig­i­tal foren­sics degree.

Will an Accelerated Forensic Science Program Prepare Me for a Job?

As long as the foren­sic sci­ence pro­gram has FEPAC accred­i­ta­tion, yes. FEPAC (Foren­sic Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion Pro­gram Accred­i­ta­tion Com­mis­sion) is an orga­ni­za­tion that cre­ates high stan­dards for foren­sic sci­ence edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams. Foren­sic sci­ence needs excel­lent, high­ly-trained work­ers with enough knowl­edge and exper­tise to car­ry out the job. Oth­er­wise, we risk jeop­ar­diz­ing the field with junk sci­ence. FEPAC ensure that stu­dents all over the coun­try receive the qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion and train­ing need­ed to pre­pare for the job market.

Like many oth­er forms of sci­ence, foren­sic sci­ence has spe­cial areas of inter­est that career seek­ers can work in. Foren­sic psy­chol­o­gy, foren­sic biol­o­gy, foren­sic chem­istry, tox­i­col­o­gy, crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion, dig­i­tal foren­sics, and com­put­er foren­sics are some com­mon areas of con­cen­tra­tion. You can learn more about these spe­cial­ties by tak­ing a course. Know­ing more about these sub­jects will help you to decide where to study in terms of interest.

What’s the Difference Between Digital Forensics and Computer Forensics?

While these terms are some­times used inter­change­ably, they are not the same thing. Com­put­er foren­sics is a sub­set under the broad­er area of dig­i­tal foren­sics. The dig­i­tal foren­sics def­i­n­i­tion encom­pass­es the inves­ti­ga­tion of a num­ber of dig­i­tal devices, from smart­phones to flash dri­ves. Com­put­er foren­sics specif­i­cal­ly inves­ti­gates com­put­ers. The job of a dig­i­tal foren­sic sci­en­tist is to probe a dig­i­tal device for any crim­i­nal activ­i­ty, such as the stor­age of incrim­i­nat­ing pho­tos or ille­gal pornog­ra­phy. In recent years, dig­i­tal and com­put­er foren­sics have become more nec­es­sary due to the increased pop­u­lar­i­ty of dig­i­tal devices.

Should I Add a Digital Forensics Certification to My Bachelor’s Degree?

If you would like to increase your career oppor­tu­ni­ties and job mar­ketabil­i­ty, yes. Those who are edu­cat­ed in spe­cial­ized areas of foren­sic sci­ence tend to earn more than those who are not. For exam­ple, you are more like­ly to get hired if you have dig­i­tal foren­sics cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on top of a bach­e­lor’s degree in foren­sic science.

Relat­ed Rankings:

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