Which Schools Have Forensic Science Degrees in California?

Learn about forensic science degree programs in California. See degree and specialization options, program requirements and course offerings so that you can make an informed decision about your education. Schools offering Forensic Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

If you are passionate about both science and the law, a degree in forensic science might be right for you. There are universities in California that offer bachelor's and master's degrees in forensic science.

What You Need to Know

Bachelor's and master's degree programs are available that provide forensic science training. The bachelor's programs take four years to complete, while the master's programs take about two years. Some master's programs allow you to study on a part-time basis.

Forensic Science Bachelor's Degree Programs in California

California State University - East Bay

The California State University forensic science option at East Bay is a biological science program that includes study in mathematics, forensic instrumentation and criminal investigation, among other subjects. With the completion of 38 specific units, this program will also allow you to obtain a minor in chemistry. The East Bay campus is located in Hayward, which is along the east side of the San Francisco Bay about halfway between San Jose and San Francisco.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Biological Science - forensic science option
  • Program Length: 4 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees (2015-2016): $6,564 per year for in-state students; $17,724 per year for out-of-state students
  • Requirements: High school diploma or GED; at least a C in 4 years of English; 3 years of math; 2 years of social science or history, foreign language and lab science; 1 year of art classes; and 1 year of further coursework in any of those subject areas
  • School Type: 4-year, public; approximately 12,300 undergraduate and 2,500 graduate students

San Jose State University

The city of San Jose has a population of almost one million and is located about 50 miles southeast of San Francisco. San Jose State's forensic science program combines the disciplines of biology, chemistry and justice studies and emphasizes the correlation among different areas of law enforcement and justice administration. The opportunity to undergo internships is included as part of the elective portion of the program. You will need to apply to declare forensic science as your major after you have been admitted to the university and completed the prerequisite units; this application process will be competitive.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science
  • Specialization Areas: Biology, chemistry
  • Program Length: 4 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees (2015-2016): $7,378 per year for in-state students; $18,538 per year for out-of-state students
  • Prerequisites: Complete two of the following courses in the first 60 units of attendance to apply for forensic science major: English composition, elementary statistics, survey of forensic science and any general education class plus introductory biology or introductory chemistry
  • School Type: 4-year, public; around 26,700 undergraduate and 6,050 graduate students

Forensic Science Master's Degree Programs in California

National University - Costa Mesa

National University's Costa Mesa campus is located about 40 miles south of Los Angeles along the California coastline. In this master's program, you'll be required to specialize in one of two areas offered: the criminalistics focus includes courses on subjects such as trace evidence, forensic toxicology and DNA, while the investigation emphasis covers topics such as fingerprint analysis, criminal procedure and digital evidence. For both specializations, you will complete a research project under the supervision and direction of both full-time and additional chosen faculty.

  • Program Name: Master of Forensic Sciences
  • Specialization Areas: Criminalistics, investigation
  • Program Length: 2-3 years, full-time
  • Graduate Tuition (2015-2016): $10,962 per year for in-state and out-of-state students
  • Prerequisites: Undergraduate degree; for criminalistics specialization, degree must be in a laboratory science
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; approximately 9,700 undergraduate and 7,900 graduate students

University of California - Davis

The forensic science program at the University of California - Davis offers instruction on topics such as DNA analysis, investigation of arson, materials identification and forensic statistics. The program is offered on both a full-time and part-time basis and is designed to allow you to continue working full-time if you have a job while you undergo the program. You can expect to pursue considerable topic-relevant research in this program, and you'll have the option of either developing a thesis or completing an increased amount of coursework combined with a smaller-scale research project and corresponding oral exam.

  • Program Name: Master of Science in Forensic Science
  • Program Length: 2 years, full-time (3 years, part-time)
  • Graduate Tuition (2015-2016): $11,220 per year for in-state students; $26,322 per year for out-of-state students
  • Prerequisites: Engineering, science or related undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 grade point average
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 27,600 undergraduate and 6,900 graduate students

In summary, if you want to get a bachelor's degree in forensic science, Cal State - East Bay and San Jose State offer programs, but if you are seeking a master's degree you can choose National University or UC Davis.

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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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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