If you have a passion for crime solving and science, earning an online forensic science degree may be the perfect option for you to launch a rewarding career.
What does it mean to study “Forensics,” or “Forensic Science”? Forensic scientists’ jobs sit at the intersection of science and criminal investigation, and their expertise is often used in courtroom proceedings. A forensic scientist might collect evidence at a crime scene, conduct on-site analyses, perform lab tests, interpret results, prepare documentation, and sometimes even testify in court. If you want to be taken seriously as a forensic scientist and be considered an expert by a judge, you will need to have the appropriate educational background and experience. This usually means earning a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science or a related field.
If your heart just sank after reading that last sentence, don’t worry. You don’t need a large bank account or unlimited time to earn your degree. Some schools are now offering forensics programs entirely online, which means that you can earn your degree in your own time. Currently, there aren’t a ton of options out there, but the good news is that most of the schools that have prepared relevant curricula come with a pretty affordable price tag. Read below for a list of the five least expensive online college programs for Forensic Science students at accredited institutions. We’ve determined the least expensive by mining the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator database. They are presented here in descending order by tuition, with the least expensive appearing as #1.
Cheap Online Forensic Science Degree Program Ranking
5. Liberty University Online
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensics
Liberty University’s online bachelor’s degree in Forensics covers a broad spectrum of topics related to law enforcement, criminal investigations, and the criminal justice system. You will also study the scientific and analytical processes behind forensics, thus preparing you to tackle work as a crime scene technician or investigator, forensic analyst, project coordinator, or criminalist. Although the affordable online forensic science degree requires 120 total credit hours, this top online college will grant substantial credit for past work experience, time in the military, or courses taken at other schools. Liberty is the country’s largest private, nonprofit institution, grounds all its teachings in Christian principles, and has been recognized for its quality by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Barron’s Profile of American Colleges, Worship Leader Magazine, and Young America’s Foundation.
4. Excelsior College
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (Investigative Forensics concentration)
Excelsior College understands that to obtain a high level position in law enforcement, a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice is a must. This online college offers flexible programs that are suitable for a wide range of learners, whether you’re new to college or have plenty of previous experience. Specifically, the Investigate Forensics concentration offers students the opportunity to learn about forensic pathology and psychology, digital forensics, legal and ethical practices, drug crimes, racial profiling, and more. Expert professionals teach all online forensic science degree classes and form their curriculum with your career-building goals in mind. Excelsior is not only an accredited online college; it is a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges and is considered one of the “Big Three” in distance learning education circles. It an excellent choice at which to earn an an online undergraduate degree in forensic science.
3. American InterContinental University
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (BSCJ) – Forensic Science Specialization
At American InterContinental University, students in the Forensic Science department get to explore what this online college refers to as “medico-legal death investigation.” The program focuses extensively on the theories of crime causation and victim crime, with the intent to prepare students for work in forensic psychology, forensic computing, criminal investigation and profiling, autopsy work, data analysis, postmortem lab testing, and more. Classes cover interesting topics such as “Arson Investigation,” “Evidence,” “Introduction to Biometrics,” “Forensic Biology,” and even “Cybercrimes.” American InterContinental is a fully accredited online college, with approval from The Higher Learning Commission, and surveys report that 90% of graduates are satisfied with their experience at the school.
2. University of Maryland University College
Major in Investigative Forensics Online
The University of Maryland University College is the online division of one of the largest public institutions in the country. You can gain access to all the resources that students enjoy at the most popular state schools, without ever leaving your couch! As one of the best online colleges available, UMUC offers a wide range of degree programs, including a B.S. in Investigative Forensics and several related minors in areas such as Forensics, Biology, and Cybersecurity. Students enrolled in the accredited online forensic science degree program must complete a total of 120 credits and choose between a Scientific or Digital concentration, which will determine whether you are better prepared to do lab analysis or track down cyber criminals after graduation. UMUC is also an incredibly affordable online college that offers financial aid, scholarships, and discounts to military service members and Maryland community college grads. UMUC is regionally accredited and has been named a top “Military and Veteran Friendly” institution.
Tuition: $6,552/yr (In-state) $12,336/yr (Out-of-state)
1. Brandman University
Online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, Forensics
Criminal Justice majors who want to attend college online shouldn’t overlook Brandman, an accredited online college that offers a number of concentrations related to law enforcement. Of course one of these options is Forensics, but students could also choose to pursue Corrections, Criminal Justice, Security Services, Victim Advocacy, Leadership, or a General track. (See Brandman University on our list of Top 10 Cheap Online Legal Studies Degree Programs (Bachelor’s) 2014.) The Forensics concentration in particular requires 12 additional credits in classes such as “Crime Scene Investigation,” “Applied Criminology,” and “Forensic Studies.” And talk about a cheap online college! You can attend Brandman for less than $9,000 a year – or even less if you receive financial aid. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Brandman among the best online undergraduate programs in the nation, and has also recognized a few of its graduate programs. The online forensic science degree is just one of their fantastic degree programs.
See also: Forensic Science Scholarships
About the Author:
Iris Stone got her start in writing when she began working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Check out her Google+ Profile.