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Why This Matters


    Forensic scientists ensure that the justice and regulatory system have all of the information available to determine the facts and truth.


    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of forensic science is projected to grow by 14% over the next ten years, adding approximately 2,400 new jobs.


    Master’s-degreed professionals are able to specialize in areas that pay higher salaries, including forensic psychology or information security. These professions earn significantly higher salaries, as do consultants who work as expert witnesses for law firms and accounting firms.

Our Research

This list encompasses universities that offer Master’s degree programs in Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Science, Justice Administration and Crime Management, and similar areas of study. They include both online and in-person programs, as well as those that combine the two.

The programs included on this list have earned a variety of accreditations, including from the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission, whose mission is to maintain and enhance the quality of forensic science education through a formal evaluation and recognition of college-level academic programs.
Also included are programs offered by regionally accredited schools and the Higher Learning Commission, all of which work to ensure that undergraduate and post-graduate students receive a high-quality education.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 70 hours to write this article
  • 54 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 176 education programs we compared

The Top 9 Master’s in Crime Scene Investigation Degree Programs

Best Master's in Crime Scene investigation Degree Programs
Best Public Research University
University of Florida
Most Military Friendly
National University
Most Affordable
West Virginia University
Best On-Campus Program
Bellevue University

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What You Should Know About This Degree

A crime scene investigation degree is often confused with forensic science. The two are closely associated but very different. Where a Master of Science in Crime Scene Investigation provides proficiency in crime scene investigation techniques, a Master of Forensic Science has the skills needed to understand and interpret the evidence that has been collected. There is some overlap between the two, and many programs offer crossover courses.

Graduating with a Master of Science in Crime Scene degree provides both medical and legal perspectives from which to approach a crime scene investigation, and you’ll learn techniques including photography, fingerprinting, digital imaging, and forensic pathology. Coursework is likely to include topics like bloodstain pattern analysis, firearms, and child abuse investigation techniques.

Any school offering the Master of Science in Crime Investigation should have a regional accreditation to ensure that a recognized third party has vetted it and confirmed that it meets high-quality standards.

Though many jobs that require a Master of Science in Crime Scene Investigation may not require certification, there are multiple levels of certification available through the International Association for Identification. These include Certified Crime Scene Investigator, Certified Crime Scene Analyst, Certified Crime Scene Reconstructionist, and Certified Senior Crime Scene Reconstructionist.

The requirements for certification as a Crime Scene Investigator include a minimum of one year in crime scene-related activities and 48 hours of Crime Scene Certification Board-approved instruction in crime scene-related courses within the last 5 years.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching crime scene degree programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? You are eligible to apply for entry into a Master of Science in Crime Investigation program if you have completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Most schools will require a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for past academic work and a personal statement explaining your interest in the program, as well as your official college transcript.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Students pursuing their degree online will find almost all courses are available asynchronously, allowing the ability to do classwork when their schedule allows it. These programs still provide all the advantages of in-person learning, including access to accomplished faculty and personalized attention.

There are some programs that may require you to take a pre-qualifying test called the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, as part of their admissions process. Make sure that you carefully review each school’s list of requirements so that you can prepare for and take the test in time for the application deadline if needed.

Depending upon your current work environment, you may be able to fund your Master of Science in Crime Scene Investigation through a tuition reimbursement program. Check to see if this benefit is available to you and what steps you need to take in order to ensure that your studies qualify.