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Q&A - Bachelors Degrees in Forensic Science

Can I work while studying for my bachelors degree in forensic science?

Some students find it difficult to balance work and school at the same time, but working while studying for a bachelors degree in forensic science can be extremely beneficial. Not only will you receive hands-on experience, you can also avoid unnecessary debt. If you are concerned about managing your time, you should consider pursuing an online bachelors in forensic science, which should allow for more flexibility in scheduling.

Although you will not be able to work in the field while pursuing a bachelor in forensic science, several positions are available to you. For example, you can work as a general lab technician with your local police department. As a general lab technician, you will assist professional forensic scientists by performing smaller tasks like cleaning lab equipment and stocking supplies. While you will not actually handle evidence, you will get to see how a crime lab works. This knowledge will supplement to what you learn in a typical forensic science course.

Another great place to look for a job is in the forensic science department at your school. Many schools hire students part time as part of a work-study program. While you may simply work as an administrative assistant, you will still get an inside look at how the department runs and get the chance to interact with many professors outside of the classroom.

Are there any brick-and-mortar colleges that offer an online forensic science bachelors degree program?

Since forensic science classes often include lab components, it is uncommon to find a bachelor in forensic science offered entirely online, and it is nearly impossible to find an accredited online bachelor degree in forensic science. However, there are several schools that offer hybrid programs where classes are taken both on campus and online.

Fairmont State University is an institutionally accredited school in West Virginia that offers a few of the core classes in forensic science online while the rest must be taken on campus. The smaller class sizes at Fairmont State allow you to work closely with professors. Many students in the forensic science program choose to minor in biotechnology, which focuses on the use of organisms in engineering and medicine, adding an edge to your degree when searching for jobs.

Another hybrid program is found at Hilbert College in New York. Like Fairmont State, Hilbert College allows you to take foundational forensic science courses online but requires you to enroll in traditional courses for upper-level classes. Hilbert College is private and institutionally accredited. Its program emphasizes the connection between criminal justice and forensic science. Students develop a comprehensive background in evidence analysis as well as crime scene photography and basic law.

Are there any scholarships for traditional or online bachelors degree students in forensic science?

Schools with the best forensic science bachelors degree programs will offer scholarships to students who demonstrate passion for and academic achievement in forensic science. University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute has corporate sponsored scholarships for outstanding students in forensic science. The amount of each scholarship depends on the donor, but the award is usually around $1,000. Students receive the scholarship for 1 year but may apply again for each year of study.

Since most online forensic science schools are not accredited, they are not eligible for government grants and funding. Opportunities for scholarships may be a bit harder to find at online schools, but there are several independent organizations that offer scholarships for forensic science students.

The Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists awards scholarships to exceptional students enrolled in forensic science programs. This annual scholarship of $1,000 requires students to submit a transcript with a GPA of 3.0 or higher as well as a letter of recommendation from a professor or employer.

Sometimes local organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Division of the International Association for Identification (CBDIAI) offer scholarships to forensic science students. CBDIAI provides the $500 George H. Robinson Memorial Scholarship to remarkable criminal justice and forensic science students for 1 year, but students may reapply.

Can I study abroad during my on-campus or online bachelors degree program in forensic science?

Students enrolled in top forensic science bachelor degree programs have the opportunity to study abroad to fulfill general requirements as well as core forensic science classes. If you are looking for a study abroad program directly related to forensic science, you should consider studying abroad during your junior or senior year. Study abroad programs in forensic science emphasize global awareness and immersion in foreign criminal justice systems.

University of Southern Mississippi (USM) offers forensic science study abroad programs in places such as Quebec. USM’s program focuses on international relationships with regard to criminal justice and forensic science. Students work with Canadian forensic scientists, police, lawyers and government officials at the provincial and national level.

Unfortunately, most students enrolled in online classes will not have the opportunity to study abroad directly through their schools. However, there are several organizations that offer study abroad opportunities to forensic science students enrolled at any school. You will have to check with your school to make sure that the course credits will transfer.

The Center for International Studies (CIS) has study abroad programs for forensic science in Australia, England, New Zealand and Scotland. CIS works with reputable schools like Bond University. Each school offers a wide variety of courses to teach students about criminal law and forensic science in each country.