What Can I Do with a Master's Degree in Forensic Science?

There are many forensic science master's degree programs in the United States. Some offer specialties in forensic biology, DNA analysis or toxicology. Read on to learn more about the career opportunities in this field, and get details about master's degree programs. Schools offering Forensic Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Forensic Science Overview

Using chemistry, biology and physics, forensic science professionals analyze evidence to solve crimes and resolve legal matters. Those employed in the field must be well-versed in mathematics, analytics and the sciences. Forensic science is an area that requires at least a bachelor's-level education. Those who are looking for salary advancement and higher levels of responsibility should hold a master's degree in forensic science.

Important Facts About This Field

Job Outlook (2016-2026) 17% growth
Similar Occupations Biochemist, Fire Inspector, Private Detective, Chemical Technician
Key Skills Composure, detail oriented, problem-solving, and communication skills
On-the-Job Training Offered typically under a supervisor

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Graduates from forensic science master's degree programs typically find employment in laboratories, though they may also work in medical examiner offices, government agencies or specialty agencies, like arson investigation. Master's degree-holders can qualify for supervisory positions such as crime lab director or senior forensic scientist.

Salaries for forensic scientists working in different specialties are similar; in May 2019, PayScale.com reported that the median annual salary for forensic DNA analysts was $53,910; for forensic chemists, $55,001; and for forensic biologists, $49,898. However, these figures cover forensic scientists who hold bachelor's and master's degrees, so advanced degree-holders with high-level jobs may make above the median.

Master's Degree in Forensic Science

In order to pursue a forensic science master's degree, candidates must first have a bachelor's degree in forensic science, chemistry, biology or another natural science. A master's degree program builds upon this foundation with both practical and theoretical skills in areas like forensic science research, human molecular biology, genetics, forensic chemistry, trace analysis, instrumental analysis, forensic microscopy and criminal justice ethics. Several laboratory courses that allow students to practice using refractometers and spectrometers are required. Programs may also require thesis research, practicums and/or an internship.

Master's degree program options in forensic science are very diverse. General forensic science degree programs are available, as well as specialized degree programs in fields like forensic toxicology, forensic serology and forensic drug chemistry. In general forensic science programs, students may be able to choose a specialty, such as anthropology, biology or chemistry.

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.

Popular Schools

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
      • Masters - Accounting: Forensic Accounting

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Florida Tech

    Florida Tech responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Florida Tech :

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Michigan State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: East Lansing
  • University of Alabama

    Campus Locations:

    • Alabama: Birmingham