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.
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.