Forensic Science Degrees in Connecticut

connecticut forensic science

Forensic Science

Forensic science combines science and investigation in order to aid and support  the prosecution or defense in criminal and civil investigations. While the profession has been widely romanticized by various TV shows, make no mistake – this job is most likely different that you expect.  In contrast with popular perception, this is a highly scientific role, which often involves detailed, painstaking work. Field duties are limited to a few areas of expertise, and most often than not a forensic scientist will spend his time in the lab.

If you made it this far, though, congratulations! You’re taking the first steps in joining a very rewarding profession and itsGOV is here to guide you through what you need to know and what you need to do to join a forensic science program in Connecticut.

Depending on the type of forensic science practiced, different degrees and educational backgrounds may help a candidate get a job and excel in this field. Regarding formal education, requirements vary across jobs, but you should definitely have a solid background in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

The National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, offers guidelines for model undergraduate and graduate forensic science degree programs. According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, strong programs should offer a curriculum that concentrates on scientific writing, laboratory skills, public speaking, and computer software application training.

Forensic Science Requirements in Connecticut

In general, an associate’s degree allows students to prepare to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in forensic science through a scientific curriculum and plenty of hands-on experience in analyzing and processing the physical evidence found at crime scenes. A comprehensive associate’s degree program will incorporate physical science and law in the context of forensic investigations. Core requirements for an associate’s degree in forensic science therefore often include:

  • Forensic Psychology
  • Forensic Aspects of Death Investigation
  • Fire and Arson Investigation
  • Physical Identifiers
  • Firearms and Toolmarks Identification
  • Basic Accident Investigation

A bachelor’s degree in forensic science not only provides an education in the technical aspects of forensic science, but in the biological sciences, physics, and chemistry, as well. As such, a bachelor’s degree in forensic science is rather cross-disciplinary, with students engaging in both criminal justice and science courses. Through a comprehensive bachelor’s degree program in forensic science, students are provided with an appreciation of the scientific and social environment of crime and of the criminal justice system.


Forensic Science Salary in Connecticut

The field of forensics is growing in Connecticut.  Its Department of Labor estimated that the number of jobs for forensic scientists will increase 16.9% between 2010 and 2020.  The pay level has been increasing yearly, too, with an increase of 21.6% from 2004 to 2012.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), slightly over one third of the forensic science technicians in the state worked in the Hartford area.  The eighty forensic science technicians employed in Connecticut in 2012 had an annual median salary of $68,140.  Experienced professionals in the top tenth percent of their wage bracket earned an average of $88,840 a year.

In addition to the forensic scientists who work as lab technicians, a number of people in this field work in the area of crime scene investigation.  They document the scenes and collect physical evidence from the sites.

Crime scene investigator (CSI) jobs vary from those of highly experienced police detectives with forensic training to civilian positions that employ people with an education in forensics or criminal justice.

There are a number of specialized jobs for CSIs, including criminalists and latent fingerprint examiners. The pay for criminalists in Connecticut typically increases by 22% after having ten years of experience.  Salary data is available for crime scene technician positions in Waterbury.  These jobs pay from $37,270 to $50,718 a year based on information available in 2013.


Forensic Science Training in Connecticut

Forensic science jobs are most often focused on the forensic laboratory, whereas the professionals at the scene of the crime generally fall under the field of crime scene investigation (CSI). Forensic scientists are professionals who gain valuable information regarding crime scene investigations through scientific analysis and observation. A Forensic Science Examiner I within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of Scientific Services, is responsible for receiving, examining, and conducting complex analyses of physical evidence in the areas of DNA, forensic identification, and toxicology. Forensic scientists working in Connecticut’s Forensic Science Laboratory must possess at least 6 years of experience in the forensic analysis of evidentiary material. Candidates for forensic scientist jobs in Connecticut who meet the minimum experience/education requirements must take an examination that assesses their experience and training knowledge in the following areas:

  • Modern methods in crime scene processing and evidence examination
  • Applicable techniques and procedures for analyzing evidentiary materials
  • Physical laboratory instrumentation, documents, firearms, fingerprints and reconstruction techniques
  • Computer-based operating systems
  • The team approach in gathering and analyzing evidence


Schools and Colleges in Connecticut

Bachelor’s Degrees



University University of New Haven, Connecticut, Forensic Psychology B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $18,245 per year
Program link


Before a crime is committed in deed, it is committed in thought – if only for a split second.  Those who work in criminal justice know that if they can understand the mindset behind a crime, they can more quickly solve it and bring the perpetrator to justice.  UNH’s criminal justice and public safety programs are psychology-based, endowing you with a keen grasp of crime-solving and public safety issues.  The depth of coverage you will receive in these programs is virtually unmatched. Certain minors are superb partners for a criminal justice degree — forensic science, fire science, and arson/fire investigation, for example. You can also complete certificates in areas such as law enforcement science, computer forensic investigations, information protection and security, and private security. One of these additional skill sets will greatly enhance your value to future employers. Internships and co-op opportunities will give you irreplaceable, hands-on field experience so that you can apply what you learn in class.  Your work will be in selected federal, state, or local criminal justice agencies with faculty supervision, guidance, and review.   Our internships are meaningful in that they are relevant to our students’ area of interest.

The department also participates in the cooperative education program.  With this program, you’ll not only get practical experience in your career field, you’ll also get paid for it! The criminal justice program at UNH is one of the oldest, largest, and best-known programs in the United States.  That means we have a large alumni network — one that works very much in your favor.  UNH alumni have a reputation for staying involved with students, and our criminal justice alumni are especially supportive.  They’ll give you a ton of networking opportunities that can help move you along your career path. The core modules are:

  •  Introduction to Criminal Justice
  •  Criminal Law
  •  Principles Criminal Investigation
  •  Forensic Psychology
  •  Criminal Procedure
  •  Scientific Methods in Criminal Justice
  •  Quantitative Applications in Criminal Justice
  •  Criminology
  •  Criminal Justice Program Seminar
  •  Criminal Justice Preinternship
  •  Police and Investigative Psychology
  •  Legal Psychology
  •  Law, Psychology and the Mental Health System
  •  Child and Family Intervention Strategy
  •  Adult Intervention Strategies
  •  Seminar in Forensic Psychology
  •  Child Development
  •  Abnormal Psychology
  •  Theories of Personality

The forensic psychology concentration prepares students for professional and graduate careers in various criminal justice and mental health settings. All courses focus on new developments and best practices from a cross-disciplinary perspective. The program provides a wide array of courses covering a broad spectrum of topics in forensic psychology, including areas such as experimental research, mental health law, investigative psychology and clinical services.

Students earning a B.S. degree in criminal justice with a concentration in forensic psychology must complete the University Core Curriculum, the common courses for criminal justice majors and the above mentioned courses.

University University of New Haven, Connecticut, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $18,245 per year
Program link

The bachelor of science in forensic science is offered with a choice of two emphasis areas, chemistry or biology, to allow the student to major in forensic science and specialize in an area of interest.The University of New Haven is a private, independent, comprehensive University based in southern New England, specializing in quality educational opportunities and preparation of both traditional and returning students for successful careers and self-reliant, productive service in a global society.The University of New Haven is a student-centered comprehensive university with an emphasis on excellence in liberal arts and professional education. Our mission is to prepare our students to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives in a global society by providing the highest-quality education through experiential, collaborative and discovery-based learning. The core modules are:

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Law
  • Professional Practices in Forensic Science
  • Introduction to Forensic Science for Majors
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Seminar in Forensic Science
  • Forensic Science Internship
  • Forensic Biology with Lab
  • Criminalistics with Lab
  • Biology for Science Majors with Lab
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

For nearly a century, the University of New Haven has equipped students with the practical skills and critical knowledge necessary for success in an array of professional pursuits. In turn, our graduates have become the business executives, engineers, scientists, teachers and public officials leading and supporting our communities. As knowledge expands and these pursuits become more complex, a university’s approach to education must correspondingly change.   A new generation of technologically sophisticated students learn differently and require refashioned forms of teaching. They collaborate, find and share knowledge instantly, and fully immerse themselves in the educational process. They think globally and don’t recognize academic silos. They increasingly aim to apply what they learn to their chosen careers, even before graduating, by engaging in internships and research projects. Universities must facilitate this discovery-based learning and prepare students for success in today’s rapidly changing economic and technological landscape.

A national leader in experiential education, the University of New Haven is on the vanguard of this revolution. We seek to harness new advances in technology, reshape teaching and learning, and foster an educational environment where students benefit by creating, doing and achieving. They also will build upon their historical academic strengths in science, engineering and business—and, more recently, in security and public safety. they will enhance these programs and discover new ways of creating interdisciplinary connections and promoting strategic partnerships. The vision is to become one of the Northeast’s premier comprehensive universities offering a technologically advanced, experience-based, outcomes-focused education, one that produces graduates who will use their knowledge and skills to strengthen communities throughout the region, the nation and the world.

University Central Connecticut State University, Criminology and Criminal Justice Department, Criminology B.A.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $18,245 per year
Program link

Criminology/Criminal Justice is a growing field in today’s society with numerous employment opportunities at local, state, and federal levels. Our program provides a variety of classes with an extensive examination of how the Criminal Justice system functions in society as well as an intensive understanding of the theories involved in studying crime. The faculty are always willing to assist students with their career goals. Additionally, our internship program provides students with hands on experience working in a criminal justice related agency. The purpose of the Baccalaureate degree is to prepare students to enter a profession upon graduation or pursue advanced degrees. Our students have obtained law enforcement positions at the federal, state, and local levels; others have accepted positions as adult or juvenile probation officers, investigators for the public defender’s office, community treatment facilitators, correctional officers, program evaluators, and court administrators. The program also provides continuing education for professionals already employed in the field. The core modules are:

  •  Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
  •  Law Enforcement and Society
  •  Criminal Procedures and the Courts
  •  Corrections
  •  Criminology
  •  Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  •  Supervised Field Studies in Criminal Justice

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice aims to prepare both undergraduate and graduate students for successful careers in criminal justice and related fields. Students who complete our programs are also well prepared to pursue advanced professional degrees. Our programs welcome diversity, encourage creative thought, incorporate advanced technologies, and emphasize critical thinking. Students learn from faculty who are actively engaged in real-world research or currently work in criminal justice organizations.

Master’s Degrees

University University of New Haven, Forensic Science M.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $13,184 per year
Program link

One of the most established and well-respected forensic science programs in the country, our master’s program in forensic science will provide you with the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to apply analytical and scientific methods to criminal investigation. Through concentrated study in our laboratories and in our state-of-the-art National Crime Scene Training Center, you will obtain unparalleled hands-on experience that you can apply immediately in your chosen career. In addition to a sequence of core coursework, you will complete courses to satisfy one of two distinct degree programs as well as a series of electives. The core modules are:

  • Survey of Forensic Science
  • Advanced Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Photography
  • Fingerprint Analysis
  • Physical Analysis in Forensic Science plus Lab
  • Drug Chemistry and Identification
  • Advanced Criminalistics
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Forensic Microscopy
  • Firearm Evidence Analysis
  • Forensic DNA Analysis plus Lab
  • Forensic Science Research Project
  • Forensic Science Internship

Forensic science is a broad, interdisciplinary field in which the natural sciences are employed to analyze and evaluate physical evidence in matters of the law. The interdisciplinary forensic science program has three concentrations: criminalistics, fire science, and advanced investigation. In addition to the M.S. degree programs, professional certificates are offered in all the specialties for those who want certification in a second track. The criminalistics concentration provides an advanced technical background for those wishing to enter the criminalistics field as professional laboratory examiners. The fire science concentration provides advanced training in arson scene investigation, laboratory analysis of arson-related evidence, and related aspects of arson and fire investigation. The advanced investigation concentration provides advanced training in forensic sciences and in investigation techniques and is designed for students interested in applying forensic science to investigations, forensic identification, crime scene processing, and related work.

The program and courses stress not only up-to-date analytical and scientific methods but also a broad understanding of the concepts underlying the forensic sciences. Degree programs in forensic science require a sequence of core courses, followed by concentration courses, and a flexible offering of electives designed to meet individual interests. Degree requirements can be fulfilled in five trimesters. Because admissions criteria differ, at the time of initial application students must specify which concentration they plan to pursue. Students who later decide to change concentrations may be required to re-apply. For admission to the criminalistics concentration, students must have an undergraduate degree in a natural science (chemistry, biology, or physics) or forensic science from an accredited institution. Applicants should have taken at least one year of general chemistry with lab, one year of organic chemistry with lab, and one semester of instrumental analysis or analytical chemistry with lab. A semester of biochemistry with lab and a year of physics with lab are highly recommended.

For criminalistics concentration applicants planning to pursue forensic biology, recommended undergraduate course work includes biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, statistics, and population genetics, or other subjects that provide foundation knowledge for forensic DNA analysis. Applications are strengthened by an overall undergraduate average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and grades of B or better in science and mathematics courses. Applicants for the criminalistics concentration are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test and submit their scores to Graduate Admissions as part of their application. Applications are strengthened by verbal scores falling at or above the 50th percentile and by quantitative/analytical scores falling at or above the 70th percentile.

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