Best Affordable Forensic Science Degree Programs

Forensic science is a thrilling field combining science, criminal justice, and investigation to help solve crimes. But earning a bachelor’s degree to launch a career in this competitive domain can be costly at elite private universities—often exceeding $50,000 annually.

Thankfully, several public and private colleges deliver outstanding affordable forensic science education. By evaluating program costs, facilities, internship opportunities, curriculum strengths, faculty expertise, and post-graduation outcomes, these schools were identified as top value options:

University of Central Oklahoma

With in-state tuition around $9,700 per year, UCO provides one of the nation’s most affordable FEPAC-accredited forensic science programs. Its comprehensive curriculum spans digital evidence, forensic biology, fingerprint analysis, drug chemistry, and more. UCO houses leading forensics facilities like its renowned Criminalistics Lab. An active Student Forensic Science Organization helps students network while developing investigative techniques.

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

UNL’s accredited Forensic Science program ranks among the most affordable in the country for in-state residents at around $12,000 per year. It maintains an extensive Crime Scene Investigation facility, allowing students to process simulated crime scenes. The curriculum emphasizes key evidence disciplines like DNA, fingerprint, ballistics, and trace analysis. Nebraska also connects students to forensic science internships across the region.

Sam Houston State University

With in-state tuition totaling under $15,000 per year, SHSU provides a rigorous forensic chemistry-focused program. Training covers areas like criminalistics, firearms, arson, serology, drugs, and trace evidence analysis. Students access leading forensic equipment like gas chromatography devices and UV-VIS-NIR spectrometers. SHSU also maintains strong affiliations with real-world crime labs facilitating immersive internships.

Pennsylvania State University

Penn State’s Eberly College of Science houses a highly ranked Forensic Science program with in-state tuition around $18,500 annually. Its multidisciplinary curriculum covers forensic biology, chemistry, and behavior through research-based courses. Students gain expertise in techniques like DNA profiling, trace analysis, and toxicology. Penn State facilitates internships through its Investigative Criminalistics Program.

The George Washington University

While a private university, GW offers forensic science undergraduate students up to $27,000 in merit scholarships to offset its premium tuition. GW’s comprehensive curriculum prepares graduates to transition into crime laboratories, government agencies, or graduate study. Students gain access to DC’s wealth of federal agencies, internship sites, and careers in security and law enforcement.

An affordable forensic science degree from an accredited program paves the way to careers analyzing evidence and solving crimes. The comprehensive training and facilities at these schools position motivated students for success as future crime scene investigators, forensic lab analysts, ballistics experts, and more.

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