Masters in Forensic Science Online
If you’re the kind of person who wants to help advocate for unbiased truth in criminal cases, earning an online masters in forensic science could be perfect for you. Crime has been a reality of life for as long as humans have had laws. Witness memories may be biased and could change over time, but the physical evidence left at a crime scene, when collected and processed correctly, can be an objective representative of the facts. A masters in forensic science degree program may help you develop the scientific and methodological skills and highly rational thinking and calculation abilities law enforcement relies upon to build solid understandings of the natures and timelines of criminal events. It could involve intensive study in mathematics, criminal justice, and sciences such as biochemistry and physics.
Common Coursework for an Online Masters in Forensic Science
Courses in a masters in forensic psychology degree program are generally designed to assist students in the development of a firm foundation in the sciences. Students in an online masters in forensic science have the opportunity to build on that foundation to enhance their abilities to be effective in the collection, protection, and analysis of material of evidentiary value. Classes tend to focus on the physical and life sciences, mathematics, and communications skills. General overviews of concepts in criminal justice may also be included to round out and connect the core curriculum to likely avenues students may pursue after earning a Masters in forensic science. Some examples of possible coursework in these degree programs may include:[i]
- Forensic science
- Crime scene investigation
- Death investigation
- Physical evidence collection
- Laboratory analysis
- Law and ethics in the administration of criminal justice
Skills You Might Develop While Pursuing Forensic Science Masters Programs Online
Fields requiring forensic science masters degrees (or similar degrees) may require specific skills. Forensic Psychology masters programs generally aim to create an understanding of the delicate, precise, and rigorous techniques involved in maintaining the integrity and objectivity of physical evidence as the potential cornerstone of criminal trials. The skills required to safeguard evidence and methodically prepare and analyze it are crucial to develop, as well as the capacities to accurately record findings and complete reports. Online masters in forensic science programs may offer opportunities to explore skills affecting law enforcement and security beyond forensics, as well. Some of the skills a masters in forensic science program might help a student to develop could include:[ii]
- Recognition of potential evidence of forensic value at the scene of an alleged crime and knowledge of the appropriate steps to take to protect that evidence from becoming contaminated or altered
- Thorough documentation of the locations and statuses of evidentiary items before collection to establish the state of the scene
- Proper collection and preservation of all physical evidence for storage and eventual testing
- Effective analysis of gathered material in a controlled, laboratory setting
- Objective documentation of all test results and findings
- Evaluation and implementation of public policy, specifically as it relates to criminal justice concepts
- Development of leadership ability
- Tactics and strategies of negotiation
- Concepts and techniques involved in recognizing and responding to potential terror threats
In addition, you may also be exposed to opportunities to develop specific knowledge in the following areas: [iii]
- Modern scientific principles and methods of different types of DNA analysis and their applications to a myriad of fields
- Development of comprehensive toxicology tests to identify substances that may be present in biological tissues, including potential toxins or poisons
- Detailed examination of organic structures to determine underlying pathologies
What Careers May People Who Earn an Online Masters in Forensic Science Pursue?
Forensic science technicians typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in a natural science, such as chemistry or biology. However, many people who want to pursue careers as forensic science technicians earn an undergraduate degree in the natural sciences and then a master’s degree in forensic science.[iv] Industries with the highest levels of employment for forensic science technicians are state and local governments, followed by medical and diagnostic laboratories.[v]
Salary Potential and Projected Job Growth Information [v]
Forensic science technicians earned a median annual wage of $55,360 per year, according to 2014 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. States with the highest employment level for forensic science technicians are California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Maryland.
Criminal cases are built on a foundation of solid evidence that takes a sharp, disciplined, and objective approach to offer value in the justice system. If you want to pursue a career helping to find, analyze, and present that evidence as a forensic science technician, earning a Masters in forensic science could be your first step.
[i]online.saintleo.edu/academics/masters-programs/ms-criminal-justice-forensic-science.aspx [ii]online.saintleo.edu/academics/masters-programs/ms-criminal-justice-forensic-science.aspx [iii]bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm#tab-4 [iv]bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm#tab-4 [v]bls.gov/oes/current/oes194092.htm#st