Online Forensic Science Degree Programs

You can pursue online graduate study in forensic science, which can prepare you for a job in forensic examination, law enforcement and criminal investigation. Review the online degree options in this field, and find out how an Internet-based degree program works. Explore the curriculum in a forensic science program. Check the outlook and salary potential for several jobs you could pursue with a forensic science degree. Schools offering Forensic Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Online Forensic Science Degrees Are Available?

Forensic science programs are aimed at criminal justice professionals and recent bachelor's degree graduates. You'll likely find that master's degrees are the most common online degrees awarded in forensic science. You also might be able to study forensic science as a specialization within a criminal justice program. Some schools offer closely related programs, like a master's degree in crime scene investigation.

Available ProgramsMaster's degree in forensic science or criminal justice with a forensic science emphasis, among other options
Common CoursesToxicology, criminal justice ethics, drug analysis, crime scene investigation, DNA analysis
Course DeliveryChat rooms, discussion boards, online quizzes; downloadable course materials
Possible CareersForensic scientist, criminal laboratory analyst, homicide detective, investigator, FBI agent
Median Salary (2018)$63,380 (Police and Detectives)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)7% growth (Police and Detectives)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Does the Coursework Involve?

Through a forensic science master's program, you'll likely learn to collect evidence, conduct criminal investigations and examine findings using advanced scientific and forensic tools. You'll develop the technical skills needed to analyze fingerprints and blood samples in a forensics lab. To participate, you might need to take prerequisite courses in organic chemistry, biology, physics, calculus and statistics. Common course topics include:

  • Toxicology
  • Criminal justice ethics
  • Drug analysis
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Criminalistics
  • DNA analysis
  • Forensic biology

How Do I Learn Online?

As a distance education student in forensic science, you'll learn by accessing online presentations, images and animations related to the course material. Often, you'll self-test yourself after lessons by completing online quizzes. You might be able to pose questions to your instructors and classmates through chat rooms and discussion boards.

Although courses are usually online, you might have to visit campus at the end of your program to take final examinations. Programs also may be available in a blended format, which mixes online courses with on-campus classes typically conducted over the weekend. Technology requirements for online classes might include speakers, sound cards and an antivirus program with security updates. You also might need your own camera for investigative assignments.

What Jobs Are Available?

With an online master's degree in forensic science, you can apply for a laboratory job as a forensic scientist or criminal laboratory analyst. According to, the median salary for a crime laboratory analyst is $49,009, while the median salary for a forensic scientist is $51,205 as of 2016.

If you wish to enter the law enforcement field, you might become a homicide detective or investigator. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these positions typically require you to undergo law enforcement training, which usually requires 12-14 weeks of police academy and field training ( The BLS reported that detectives and criminal investigators earned a median salary of $81,920 per year as of May 2018.

You also might become an FBI agent, which usually requires at least a bachelor's degree, prior work experience and 18 months of training, reported the BLS. You typically must complete about 3-4 months of specific FBI training, which includes fieldwork and classroom instruction. According to, entry-level FBI agents earned a median of $59,801 per year as of 2016.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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