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What are some good colleges for forensic science?

I’m really interested in this major but I have no idea where to start looking for colleges.

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Michael’s Answer

Hi Elena,

While in high school, one will need to focus on science and math classes to prepare for a career in Forensics or Criminology. Chemistry and biology will be the core science courses. For math, statistics and calculus will be needed. Both concentrations will enable you to focus and refine your analytical skills; complex problem solving; investigative and innovative critical thinking; attention to detail and observation skills; etc.

Other skills that will need to be built upon center around team building, team work and communication. In any work culture, collaboration amongst team members, partner departments and clients occur on a daily basis. A college course in public speaking, communications and English will help with one's communication and writing skills since analysis reports are generated and findings are presented to colleagues and other professionals who deal with Forensics or Criminology. Another recommendation is to seek the advice from your high school guidance counselor and teachers. They can help guide your educational pathway for Forensics or Criminology.

Here are some careers in Forensic Science, descriptions, duties and salaries according to this link from www.indeed.com:

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/forensic-science-jobs

- Fingerprint Technician
- Evidence Technician
- Forensic Science Technician
- Forensic Specialist
- Forensic Manager
- Forensic Investigator
- Forensic Accountant
- Forensic Structural Engineer
- Forensic Psychologist
- Forensic Pathologist

Here are some top careers in Criminology:

- Judge and Hearing Officers
- Attorney
- FBI Specialist
- FBI Agent
- Criminologist
- Financial Examiner
- Intelligence Analyst
- Forensic Psychologist
- Security Manager

You may want to research colleges and universities that have Forensic Science or Criminology as a major. Once you narrowed down the colleges and universities of interest, then review the websites for the Forensic Science or Criminology department. The major will list the courses that one will take to earn the Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Science or Criminology.

Here are some colleges and universities to consider for Forensic Science:

- Penn State University
- Syracuse University
- Texas A&M University
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- George Mason University
- Michigan State University
- University of Tennessee (*There is a body farm that is located on campus).

According to U.S. News & World Report, here are the Best Criminology Schools:

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/criminology-rankings

- University of Maryland - College Park
- Arizona State University
- University of California - Irvine
- University of Cincinnati
- Pennsylvania State Park - University Park
- University at Albany - SUNY
- Florida State University
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Newark
- Michigan State University
- George Mason University

When reviewing colleges and universities, it is best to check the following:

- In-State vs Out of State Tuition
- Internships
- Scholarships
- Career Placement upon graduation
- Course work and offered classes
- Post-Graduate Degrees - Master and Doctoral

There are scholarships based on need, academic performance, school activities, sports involvement and community service. So, it will be to your advantage to seek out these types of scholarships. All of the academic staff at your high school that you interact with can write letters of recommendations for you based on what was just stated above. These recommendations can greatly help when filling out college and scholarship applications.

Scholarship applications can start to be submitted during your Junior year and will continue throughout your Senior year in high school. It is best to ask your Academic Advisor/School Counselor on the timeline process as well. Scholarship applications will have specific deadlines and requirements to meet in order to be submitted for review and consideration.

You may want to start to compile your resume/portfolio since a majority of scholarship applications will require academic grade point average (GPA), academic accomplishments, school activities (clubs, sports, etc.), community involvement (volunteer, church, etc.), academic and personal recommendations, etc. There may be essay requirements on why you are a qualified candidate to receive the scholarship, what your future goals are academically and professionally and other questions centering around who you are, your beliefs, etc.

Here are a couple of links for College Scholarships:

https://www.mometrix.com/blog/scholarships-for-college/

https://www.nchchonors.org/students/awards-scholarships/national-scholarships

Also, it will be best to check with the colleges and universities that you will be applying to. You can check with the School/Department of your desired major, the Campus Career Center and the Register's Office for additional information for college scholarships and grants and specific requirements for qualifications.

Another recommendation is to look for Forensic Science and Criminology professionals on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com). You can send the professional a message and let him or her know that you are interested in learning more about his or her professional background, work experience, education, etc. Also, your local police department can be another resource. Police departments have their own Forensic Science and/or Criminology Investigation Lab Divisions to investigate criminal activities and crime scenes.

Hope this helps and best wishes for your education and career in Forensic Science or Criminology!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Elena
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Jacob’s Answer

Choosing the right college for forensic science can be an exciting step towards pursuing your passion. To help you get started, here are some excellent colleges known for their forensic science programs:

1. **University of California, Davis:** UC Davis offers a renowned forensic science program with a focus on hands-on experience and research opportunities.

2. **Pennsylvania State University:** Penn State's forensic science program is highly regarded and provides a strong foundation in the field.

3. **University of Florida:** The University of Florida's forensic science program is known for its comprehensive curriculum and state-of-the-art facilities.

4. **Michigan State University:** MSU offers a well-established forensic science program with options to specialize in various areas of forensic science.

5. **Boston University:** BU's forensic science program is known for its interdisciplinary approach and collaborative research opportunities.

6. **University of New Haven:** UNH has a dedicated forensic science program with a strong emphasis on practical experience through internships and labs.

7. **John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY):** John Jay College offers a range of forensic science programs and is located in the heart of New York City, providing access to numerous internship opportunities.

8. **University of Central Florida:** UCF offers a comprehensive forensic science program with a focus on crime scene investigation and laboratory analysis.

9. **University of Mississippi:** Ole Miss has a respected forensic chemistry program that provides a strong foundation in the chemical aspects of forensic science.

10. **California State University, Los Angeles:** CSULA offers a forensic science program with a strong focus on forensic biology and DNA analysis.

When considering colleges for forensic science, here are some tips:

1. **Program Specialization:** Look for programs that align with your specific interests within forensic science, whether it's DNA analysis, crime scene investigation, or forensic chemistry.

2. **Accreditation:** Ensure that the program is accredited by relevant organizations, such as the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

3. **Faculty Expertise:** Research the faculty members' expertise and their research interests to find a program that matches your academic goals.

4. **Internship Opportunities:** Consider the availability of internships and cooperative education opportunities. Hands-on experience is crucial in this field.

5. **Location:** Think about where you'd like to study. Some regions may offer more internship and job opportunities in forensic science.

6. **Facilities and Resources:** Investigate the laboratories, equipment, and resources available to students. A well-equipped program can enhance your learning experience.

7. **Career Services:** Look into the college's career services to determine if they offer job placement assistance or connections with potential employers.

8. **Financial Aid:** Explore scholarships, grants, and financial aid options to make your education more affordable.

It's a good idea to visit campuses, if possible, and speak with faculty and current students to get a feel for the program and the college environment. Researching thoroughly and aligning your educational goals with the right college will help you make an informed decision about where to pursue your studies in forensic science.
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Yvette’s Answer

When selecting a college to study forensics, it's essential to consider your career aspirations. While some may argue that a college's prestige is more critical than the specific program, it's vital to understand that most college degrees, such as Biology, Chemistry, English, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, or Medicine, can lead to exciting career paths in forensic science. For example, career paths include DNA analysis, chemistry, investigation, computer analysis, accounting, crime science technology, pathology, photography, and more. Therefore, choosing a program that aligns with your career goals and aspirations is vital to successfully start and finish a college degree. On the other hand, some may argue that selecting a program based on career goals may limit exploration and prevent you from discovering new interests.
Are you ready to take on the challenge of a career in forensic science? The first step is to consider your ideal organization. If you're passionate about the FBI, your goal is to protect our nation's people and resources while upholding the Constitution. But if you're more interested in law enforcement as a police officer, start by investigating local crimes as a detective. To take your career to the next level, expand your studies beyond your supportive resources and look for financial support. With determination and the right resources, you can make your dream of a successful career in forensics a thrilling reality.
Everyone has unique aspirations when it comes to their career path. Some prefer to be a big fish in a small pond, while others prefer a small fish in a big ocean. Regardless of your preference, it's essential to determine how far you want to go and what your dream job looks like. Have you considered careers within the FBI? They are the premier agency and offer excellent internship programs and job opportunities.
Additionally, speaking with the police chief in your area and setting up an interview can provide insight into what a police department does. Remember, achieving the best grades in high school and participating in community work are essential to increasing your chances of acceptance into any college you desire. I hope this advice benefits you and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Elena
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Roel’s Answer

Hello Elena, I'm a proud alumni of Texas A&M University in College Station, a place renowned for its exceptional programs that cater to diverse backgrounds. I strongly suggest you consider exploring what Texas A&M has to offer and evaluate if it aligns with your aspirations.

It's an outstanding institution that boasts a vibrant and enriching culture! You'll love it there!
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Siddhartha’s Answer

Hello Elena,

Forensic science and crime scene investigation (CSI) are highly sought-after study fields in the US. Numerous prestigious universities offer degree programs that merge science with criminalistics.

Here are some top-notch institutions you might consider:

1. Texas A&M University, situated in College Station, Texas, provides a bachelor's degree program in forensic and investigative sciences.

2. Pennsylvania State University's Eberly College of Science, located in University Park, Pennsylvania, offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in forensic science.

3. Indiana University and Purdue University (IUPUI) in Indianapolis, Indiana, provide both undergraduate and graduate degrees in forensic and investigative science.

4. Columbia College, based in Columbia, Missouri, boasts a significant history of aiding local law enforcement in solving homicide cases.

To learn more about becoming a forensics professional, including information on local accredited degree programs and certification, explore the state guides available at the following link: https://www.forensicscolleges.com/usa

I trust you'll find this information valuable!
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