18 Best Colleges for Forensic Science – 2024

April 17, 2024

best colleges for forensic science

Shows like CSINCISForensic Files and the proliferation of Making a Murderer-style documentaries and Serial-esque podcasts have led to an explosion of college students pursuing degrees in forensic science. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth in the area of 13% through 2032. However, the number of undergrads pursuing degrees in this field since the turn of the millennium is so great that the job market remains highly competitive. Students who attend schools featured on our Best Colleges for Forensic Science list will hold a significant edge in the search for employment. Perhaps the best news is that the majority of schools on this list are institutions that regularly accept “B” students, which makes the ideal forensic science programs accessible to bright but less-than-perfect applicants.


Click here to read our methodology for the Best Colleges for Forensic Science.

Best Colleges for Forensic Science

Here’s a quick preview of the first ten forensic science institutions that made our list. Detailed profiles and stats can be found when you scroll below.

1) Penn State University

2) CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

3) Saint Louis University

4) Texas A&M University

5) Virginia Commonwealth University

6) Kent State University

7) Drexel University

8) University of Cincinnati

9) Otis College of Art and Design

10) Virginia Commonwealth University

All of the schools profiled below have stellar reputations in the field of forensic science and commit substantial resources to undergraduate education. For each of the best colleges for forensic science, College Transitions will provide you with—when available—each school’s:

  • Enrollment
  • Cost of Attendance
  • Acceptance Rate
  • Median SAT
  • Median ACT
  • Retention Rate
  • Graduation Rate

We will also include a longer write-up of each college’s:

  • Academic Highlights – Includes facts like student-to-faculty ratio, average class size, number of majors offered, and most popular majors.
  • Professional Outcomes – Includes info on the rate of positive outcomes, companies employing alumni, and graduate school acceptances.
#1 Best College for Forensic Science
Pennsylvania State University — University Park

Pennsylvania State University — University Park

  • State College, PA

Academic Highlights: Penn State offers 275 majors and a number of top-ranked programs in a host of disciplines. The College of Engineering is rated exceptionally well on a national scale and is also the most popular field of study, accounting for 15% of the degrees conferred. The Smeal College of Business is equally well-regarded, earning high rankings in everything from supply chain management to accounting to marketing. It attracts 15% of total degree-seekers. 61% of classes have an enrollment below thirty students.

Professional Outcomes: By graduation, 70% of Nittany Lions have found their next employment or graduate school home. 98% of College of Business grads are successful within three months of exiting, flocking in large numbers to stellar finance, accounting, consulting, and technology firms. Hundreds of alumni work at Citi, Salesforce, and Meta, and more than 500 currently work at each of IBM, Deloitte, PwC, Amazon, EY, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle. 75% of 2022 grads employed full-time earned starting salaries greater than $50k.

  • Enrollment: 41,745 (undergraduate); 7,020 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $32,656 (in-state); $52,610 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1300
  • Median ACT: 29
  • Acceptance Rate: 55%
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 85%

#2 Best College for Forensic Science
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • New York, NY

Academic Highlights: John Jay College of Criminal Justice is “a community of motivated and intellectually committed individuals who explore justice in its many dimensions.” With a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio and 36% of courses enrolling under 20 students, 55% of students major in homeland security/law enforcement, and related protective services. Many others study psychology (16%), the social sciences (13%), computer science (6%), and legal professions and studies (4%).

Professional Outcomes: 56% of our graduates secured employment in the field within three months of graduation. Even better, 86% of students were employed within a year after graduation. A solid 90% of alumni respondents indicated they earn between $50,001 to more than $70,000 per year. Large numbers of graduates work for the New York Police Department, the NYC Department of Education, Northwell Health, JP Morgan Chase and Co., NYC Department of Correction, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

  • Enrollment: 12,019
  • Cost of Attendance (Tuition Only): $7,470 (In-State); $19,140 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: N/A
  • Median ACT: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: 51%
  • Retention Rate: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%

#3 Best College for Forensic Science
Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University

  • St. Louis, MO

Academic Highlights: SLU offers nearly 100 undergraduate programs across 10 colleges and schools. It’s ranked highly for service learning, nursing, and business, particularly entrepreneurship, finance, and international business. By degrees conferred, the most popular areas of study are health professions (28%), business/management/marketing (17%), biological sciences (9%), and engineering (9%). The student-to-faculty ratio is just 8:1, and 90% of SLU faculty hold terminal degrees in their field.

Professional Outcomes: 94% of the Class of 2022 experienced positive outcomes, with 50% employed and 44% continuing their education. The most popular sector for recent grads was healthcare followed by higher education, aerospace, management consulting, and accounting. The average starting salary is $56k; top employers include BJC Healthcare, Boeing, Mercy, SSM Health, Saint Louis University, and Deloitte. For those who continued on to grad school, SLU itself was the most popular destination followed by Washington University in St. Louis.

  • Enrollment: 8,502 (undergraduate); 6,702 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $73,884
  • Median SAT: 1290
  • Median SAT: 29
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 80%

#4 Best College for Forensic Science
Texas A&M University — College Station

Texas A&M University — College Station

  • College Station, TX

Academic Highlights: With nineteen schools and colleges and 130+ undergraduate degree programs, Texas A&M is a massive operation. As the name implies, there is a heavy emphasis on agriculture, engineering, and business, which all place well in national rankings and garner deep respect from major corporations and graduate/professional schools. Class sizes trend large, but 24% of courses enroll fewer than 20 students and personal connections with professors are entirely possible, particularly through the research-oriented LAUNCH program.

Professional Outcomes: On graduation day, 54% of students had already received at least one job offer and 22% were heading to graduate/professional school. Many Aggies go on to work at major oil, tech, and consulting firms; more than 500 are employed at each of ExxonMobil, Halliburton, Chevron, EY, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, Accenture, and PWC. Starting salaries were strong—on average, College of Engineering grads made $80k and College of Agriculture & Life Sciences grads netted $54k. A&M is also the eighth-largest producer of law students in the entire country.

  • Enrollment: 57,512 (undergraduate); 16,502 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $31,058 (in-state); $59,336 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1270
  • Median ACT: 28
  • Acceptance Rate: 63%
  • Retention Rate: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 84%

#5 Best College for Forensic Science
Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Richmond, VA

Academic Highlights:  A large public institution with 200 academic offerings, VCU still manages to keep 48% of its class sections capped at an enrollment of 19 thanks to a manageable 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Popular majors include the visual and performing arts (12%), business (11%), psychology (10%), biology (9%), education (7%), and homeland security (7%). The university is highly rated for innovation, value, and its stellar nursing program.

Professional Outcomes: After earning their diplomas, 48% quickly landed their first job and 22% entered an advanced degree program. The top industries were healthcare, internet & software, higher education, government, and retail. Overall, 87% of grads were satisfied with their employment outcome and 78% remained in the state of Virginia. Massive numbers of alumni can be found in the offices of Dominion Energy, VCU Health, Capital One, CarMax, Deloitte, and Apex Systems.

  • Enrollment: 20,958
  • Cost of Attendance: $29,516 (In-State); $52,100 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1160
  • Median ACT: 26
  • Acceptance Rate: 91%
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%

#6 Best College for Forensic Science
George Mason University

George Mason University

  • Fairfax, VA

Academic Highlights: Fifty-two percent of class sections at GMU enroll nineteen or fewer students, 13% have fifty or more students, and the remaining sections lie in between. The most popular program is business (20%) and is followed by computer and information sciences (13%), the social sciences (8%), health professions (8%), and homeland security (8%). The Volgenau College of Engineering, which houses a top-tier Information Technology Department, and the School of Business are both extremely reputable in the eyes of prospective employers

Professional Outcomes: Six months after receiving their degrees, 87% of the class of 2022 had accepted a job offer or started work in a graduate program. GMU grads flow into major consulting firms like Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, and Accenture, financial institutions like Capital One and Freddie Mac, and engineering/tech firms like General Dynamics, IBM, and Microsoft. Mason graduates tend to pursue advanced degrees either at Mason itself or at other area schools including George Washington, American University, or the University of Maryland.

  • Enrollment: 27,014
  • Cost of Attendance: $28,963 (In-State); $53,127 (Out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1240
  • Median ACT: 28
  • Acceptance Rate: 90%
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 70%

#7 Best College for Forensic Science
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

  • Indianapolis, IN

Academic Highlights: With a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1 and 54% of class sections enrolling fewer than 20 students, undergraduates at IUPUI have the opportunity to get close to their professors and participate in hands-on learning opportunities. The most popular majors at this school are in the health professions (24%), business (15%), engineering (6%), computer science (6%), biology (5%), psychology (5%), public administration (5%), and education (5%).

Professional Outcomes: 82% of all graduates are employed in areas related to their major. The most popular employers include Eli Lilly and Company, Indiana University Health, Cummins Inc., the State of Indiana, Salesforce, Amazon, Roche, and Pacers Sports & Entertainment. Most graduates remain in the Midwest with Indianapolis. Chicago, Greenwood, and Carmel all attract thousands of alumni.

  • Enrollment: 17,727
  • Cost of Attendance: $24,547 (In-State); $46,985 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1150
  • Median ACT: 25
  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Retention Rate: 72%
  • Graduation Rate: 51%

#8 Best College for Forensic Science
University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida

  • Orlando, FL

Academic Highlights: With a very high 29:1 student-to-faculty ratio, classes at UCF are fairly large as 23% contain 50 or more students. There are 100+ undergraduate majors at this institution. The most popular majors are business (17%), health professions (15%), psychology (10%), engineering (9%), and the visual and performing arts (7%). The school ranks well for facilitating social mobility and overall value and the engineering, computer science, and nursing programs all rank well on a national level.

Professional Outcomes: Over two-thirds of recent graduates obtained employment immediately after earning their bachelor’s degree; one-quarter head right to graduate school. The median starting salary is $47,000 and the most commonly entered industries are hospital/healthcare, education, hospitality services, engineering, technology, financial, accounting, and marketing. The most popular graduate degrees pursued were in the sciences, health professions, education, and medicine.

  • Enrollment: 58,749
  • Cost of Attendance: $24,244 (In-State); $39,269 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1270
  • Median ACT: 27
  • Acceptance Rate: 41%
  • Retention Rate: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 76%

#9 Best College for Forensic Science
Hofstra University

Hofstra University

  • Hempstead, NY

Academic Highlights: There are 165 programs for undergraduates spread across the various colleges housing liberal arts, engineering, business, communications, and nursing/health professions. The average undergraduate class size is 21, and the student-faculty ratio is a favorable 13-to-1. The great bulk of courses enroll between 10 and 29 students; 12% are single-digit enrollment courses, and only 2% of sections contain more than 50 students. 14% of the total degrees conferred are in communication/journalism. Health professions (13%), social sciences (9%), and engineering (8%) are next.

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of exiting with their diplomas, 92% of recent grads had found employment or a graduate school destination; 80% were employed. companies employing more than one hundred alums include JPMorgan Chase, Citi, PwC, Morgan Stanley, EY, Deloitte, and NBC Universal. The median starting salary was $62,000. Recent grads have matriculated into a wide array of graduate and professional schools including every SUNY/CUNY institution as well as many elite universities like Columbia, Yale, NYU, Berkeley, and Brown.

  • Enrollment: 6,110
  • Cost of Attendance: $73,202
  • Median SAT: 1280
  • Median ACT: 28
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Graduation Rate: 68%

#10 Best College for Forensic Science
Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

  • Chicago, IL

Academic Highlights: Undergrads can choose from 80 majors, 80 minors, and a number of interdisciplinary programs as well as five-year bachelor’s/master’s degrees. Programs in nursing, engineering, and business are particularly strong. Popularity-wise, the most degrees are conferred in the following areas of study: business/management/marketing (23%), health professions (15%), biological sciences (14%), social sciences (9%), psychology (9%), and communication/journalism (7%). The student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1; 40% of classes enroll fewer than 20 students.

Professional Outcomes: 92% of the Class of 2022 experienced positive outcomes, with 71% employed and 21% continuing their education. Top industries were healthcare/health sciences, advertising/marketing/PR/sales, information systems/technology, government/nonprofit, education, and consulting. Companies hiring Loyola alumni included Morgan Stanley, Walgreens, Chicago Public Schools, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Accenture, and Deloitte. Those continuing their education enrolled at institutions such as Northwestern, USC, Columbia, and UChicago.

  • Enrollment: 12,487 (undergraduate); 4,910 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $71,248
  • Median SAT: 1300
  • Median ACT: 27
  • Acceptance Rate: 81%
  • Retention Rate: 84%
  • Graduation Rate: 76%

#11 Best College for Forensic Science
Loyola University Maryland

Loyola University Maryland

  • Baltimore, MD

Academic Highlights: Offering 30+ undergraduate programs through its three schools. A 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio leads to average class sizes of only twenty students. The vast majority of courses enroll between ten and twenty-nine students, 11% have a single-digit enrollment, and of 887 total sections, only 13 contained forty or more undergraduates. Roughly one-third of the degrees conferred are in the area of business/marketing, making it, by far, the school’s most popular area of concentration. Next are journalism (11%), the social sciences (9%), psychology (9%), and biology (7%).

Professional Outcomes: Members of the Class of 2022 found their way to their next employment, volunteer, or grad school home within six months of receiving their diplomas at a stellar 97% clip. Major companies and organizations employing members of this cohort include Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs, NASA, and Walt Disney Company. Thirty-two percent of the members of the Class of 2022 immediately enrolled in graduate or professional school after completing their undergraduate work at Loyola Maryland.

  • Enrollment: 3,977
  • Cost of Attendance: $72,600
  • Median SAT: 1270
  • Median ACT: 30
  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Graduation Rate: 85%

#12 Best College for Forensic Science
Syracuse University

Syracuse University

  • Syracuse, NY

Academic Highlights: In total, 200+ majors and 100+ minors are spread across ten undergraduate schools/colleges. The School of Architecture, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and the Newhouse School of Public Communication are all revered names that carry a good deal of weight in their respective fields. The most popular majors include communication/journalism (15%), the social sciences (14%), and business (12%). Despite Syracuse’s size, class sizes are kept reasonably low; 63% contain 20 students or fewer.

Professional Outcomes: Six months after exiting the Carrier Dome for the final time in 2022, 59% of Orangemen and women found employment (92% related to their career goals) and 21% continued to graduate school. The companies employing the most ‘Cuse grads include major media/entertainment management companies like Conde Nast, Bloomberg, and Creative Artists Agency as well as big-name corporations like GE, KPMG, EY, Lockheed Martin, and Morgan Stanley. The average starting salary for 2022 grads was a solid $63k.

  • Enrollment: 15,739 (undergraduate); 7,209 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $85,214
  • Median SAT: 1340
  • Median ACT: 30
  • Acceptance Rate: 43%
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

#13 Best College for Forensic Science
The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin

  • Austin, TX

Academic Highlights: UT Austin offers over 150 majors, including those at the Cockrell School of Engineering, one of the most heralded undergraduate engineering schools around, and The McCombs School of Business, which dominates in the specialty areas of accounting and marketing. The computer science department is also top-ranked. In terms of degrees conferred, engineering is tied with biology (12%) followed by communication (11%), business (11%), and the social sciences (8%). The elite Plan II Honors Program is one of the best in the country.

Professional Outcomes: Within the College of Liberal Arts, six months after graduating, 68% of Longhorns are employed and 24% have entered graduate school. The for-profit sector attracts 65% of those employed while 19% enter public sector employment and 16% pursue jobs at a nonprofit. Major corporations that employ more than 500 UT Austin grads include Google, Meta, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, and Apple. Engineering majors took home a median income of $79k and business majors took home $70k.

  • Enrollment: 41,309 (undergraduate); 11,075 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $30,752-$34,174 (in-state); $61,180-$69,310 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1430
  • Median ACT: 32
  • Acceptance Rate: 31%
  • Retention Rate: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 88%

#14 Best College for Forensic Science
University of Nebraska – Lincoln

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

  • Lincoln, NE

Academic Highlights: There are more than 150 majors at the University of Nebraska and students enjoy a mix of smaller classes (34% have fewer than 20 students) and larger ones (18% have more than 50). Overall, 23% of the undergraduate degrees conferred are in business and 11% are in engineering. The next most common disciplines are agriculture (9%), journalism (8%), and family & consumer sciences (7%). Business, computer science, engineering, and psychology all receive their share of acclaim.

Professional Outcomes: Nine months after graduating, alumni have entered the workforce at a 63% clip and 35% have matriculated into graduate/professional school. Employers hiring more than a few recent graduates included Microsoft, Deloitte, Amazon, Epic, Union Bank & Trust Company, and Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation. Multiple grads enrolled at the following graduate/professional schools: the University of Nebraska College of Law, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, University of Michigan, and Boston University.

  • Enrollment: 19,189
  • Cost of Attendance: $28,594 (In-State); $46,234 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1210
  • Median ACT: 24
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Retention Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%

#15 Best College for Forensic Science
Miami University – Oxford

Miami University – Oxford

  • Oxford, OH

Academic Highlights: Miami University sports a reasonable 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio, lower than Ohio State. As at most publics, classes certainly aren’t tiny, but Miami U. keeps the majority of courses—65% to be precise—at an enrollment of 29 or fewer. Almost one-quarter of graduates earn a degree in business/marketing, making it the most popular area of academic concentration. Other commonly pursued majors include the social sciences (9%), health professions (9%), journalism (8%), biology (6%), parks and recreation (6%), and education (6%).

Professional Outcomes: The overall success rate for the Class of 2022 was 99%, roughly the same as for the previous two cohorts. Fifty-five percent of recent Miami grads were employed and by mid-career, alumni enjoy a median salary of $118k. Over one-quarter of recent grads elected to continue their education in graduate or professional school. Miami boasts a strong premed program that resulted in 63% of medical school applicants gaining acceptance over the last four years.

  • Enrollment: 16,865
  • Cost of Attendance: $34,342 (In-State); $56,558 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1270
  • Median ACT: 27
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

#16 Best College for Forensic Science
Towson University

Towson University

  • Towson, MD

Academic Highlights: TU allows you to choose from 110+ majors, concentrations, and tracks across a wide array of academic disciplines. A solid 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio allows Towson to keep class sizes reasonable. In fact 35% of class sections enroll fewer than 20 students while just 3% enroll greater than 50. The most popular degrees are in the health professions (14%) and business (13%), with communication (9%), psychology (9%), education (9%), and computer science (9%) next in line.

Professional Outcomes: The Class of 2022 achieved a positive outcome within six months of graduation at a 93% clip and the average starting salary was $55,706. The top employers of this cohort included the likes of Aerotek, the Baltimore Orioles, EY, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Morgan Stanley, PwC, and T. Rowe Price. 20% of recent grads immediately began their pursuit of an advanced degree. Sample schools attended included Duke, Johns Hopkins, Northeastern, Notre Dame, and the University of Maryland.

  • Enrollment: 16,861
  • Cost of Attendance: $32,730 (In-State); $50,822 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1130
  • Median ACT: 22
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Retention Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 70%

#17 Best College for Forensic Science
San Jose State University

San Jose State University

  • San Jose, CA

Academic Highlights: With over 150 undergraduate majors, San Jose State offers a wide variety of programs across eight colleges, including the highly ranked Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. In particular, its programs in computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering are very strong. Popularity-wise, the most degrees are conferred in business/management/marketing (24%), engineering (12%), psychology (8%), communication/journalism (7%), social sciences (7%), visual/performing arts (7%), and health professions (7%).

Professional Outcomes: 90% of the Class of 2022 experienced positive outcomes, with 85% employed and 5% continuing their education. For those employed, the average starting salary was $77k. SJSU alumni go on to Silicon Valley tech firms in large numbers, including Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Cisco. Other popular employers include San Jose State itself, Deloitte, the City of San Jose, and Stanford. Those continuing their education most often did so in education, law, social work, or health professions; the vast majority elected to stay at San Jose State.

  • Enrollment: 27,111 (undergraduate); 8,951 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $32,308 (in-state); $44,188 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1190
  • Median ACT: 25
  • Acceptance Rate: 80%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%

#18 Best College for Forensic Science
West Virginia University

West Virginia University

  • Morgantown, WV

Academic Highlights: Students from all 50 states and 90 nations flock to Morgantown to study one of 310 majors offered in WVU’s 13 colleges and schools. The school has a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio and, impressively, is able to keep enrollment in 45% of class sections at 19 students or fewer; 15% contain 50 or more students. Students are spread evenly across many of the most popular majors including nursing (6%), sports kinesiology (5%), general studies (4), mechanical engineering (4%), Exercise science, criminology (3%), journalism (3%), and finance (3%).

Professional Outcomes: Between 40 and 250 West Virginia University alumni work for the following companies: Amazon, Deloitte, Aramco, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Eaton, ADP, Google, PepsiCo, Oracle, Salesforce, and Insight Global. Many alumni remain in the state of West Virginia after graduation, but sizable numbers also migrate to Washington DC, Pittsburgh, New York City, and Baltimore.

  • Enrollment: 19,059
  • Cost of Attendance: $22,668 (In-State); $40,380 (Out-of-State)
  • Average SAT: 1107
  • Median ACT: 23
  • Acceptance Rate: 77%
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%

We hope you have found our list of the Best Colleges for Forensic Science to be useful and informative as you continue your college search process. We also invite you to check out some of our other resources and tools including: