What Can I Do with a Forensic Science PhD?

A Ph.D. in Forensic Science can lead to academic and practical careers. Few schools offer doctoral programs strictly in this field, but you could combine programs or enroll in a dual-degree program to work toward your career goals. Read on to learn more about advanced forensic science degree options and their applications. Schools offering Forensic Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Careers in Forensic Science

With a Ph.D. in Forensic Science, graduates can obtain advanced positions, often with higher salaries. A forensic science technician, for example, may complete a doctoral program in order to become a crime lab director or senior scientist. It is common for professionals in the field to work for government entities at the county, state or federal levels. The FBI hires many types of forensic scientist, many of which list a Ph.D. as a preferred qualification. Job titles include a physical scientist forensic examiner and a document analyst forensic examiner. Those with a Ph.D. in Forensic Science may also seek administrative, leadership, consultant or teaching positions.

Important Facts about Forensic Scientists

Median Salary (2019) $53,951 (for forensic scientists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 17% growth (for forensic science technicians)
Continuing Education Scientists must stay caught up with latest technology and advances in the field
Work Environment Work both in labs and in the field; may be required to testify in court
Similar Occupations Forensic science technician, forensic engineer, medical examiner, crime scene examiner, crime lab analyst, criminal investigator

Sources: PayScale.com; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Ph.D. in Forensic Science Program Overview

Forensic science is the practice of using scientific research methods to analyze crimes or other situations pertinent to public safety. Forensic science covers facets of advanced study, including chemistry, biology, entomology, geology, anthropology and psychology. For this reason, a doctorate may be required of those who wish to pursue advanced positions in the field.

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Forensic Science can be earned at a handful of colleges throughout the country. However, it is more common for prospective forensic scientists to combine graduate degree programs to create a forensic science emphasis. One option is to enroll in an advanced program (such as a master's degree or post-baccalaureate certificate program) as well as a doctoral program in a compatible scientific field. There are many colleges throughout the country that offer Ph.D. and joint programs in the area of forensic science. Options may include:

  • Ph.D. in Forensic Science
  • Ph.D. in Anthropology and Master of Forensic Science
  • Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry and Master of Forensic Science

Skills Obtained

Students learn advanced research methods and may be able to participate in research as part of an internship during their study. You may study different topics depending on your specialty. For instance, you can specialize in areas such as forensic anthropology, forensic biology, and forensic chemistry. A dissertation based on original research is mandatory to complete most Ph.D. programs.

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:

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