Forensic Science Degrees in Indiana

indiana forensic science degrees

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 Indiana.

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 Indiana

The Indiana State Police’s Laboratory Division, which was established in 1936, is responsible for investigating criminal cases based on the professional collection and analysis of physical evidence.

The Laboratory Division, which benefits all criminal justice agencies within the State of Indiana, is also responsible for assisting a number of governmental agencies at the local, state and federal levels.

All individuals selected to become a forensic scientist in Indiana must first complete an extensive laboratory training program, which consists of hands-on laboratory work and classroom lectures.

All trainees must pass all written tests, practical examinations, and a courtroom exercise to pass the training program. Although the training period’s duration depends on the laboratory disciplines that are studied, the average training period is 2 years.

Forensic scientist trainees, during the laboratory training program, may also have the opportunity to receive training through a number of agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. and attend conferences through such organizations as the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Forensic Science Training in Indiana

Only those individuals who complete a course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree or higher can qualify for forensic scientist jobs in Indiana. As such, this state has a number of degree-granting institutions that offer forensic science degrees.

For example, students who want to become forensic scientists in Indiana may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Forensic and Investigative Sciences and choose a concentration in either biology or chemistry.

A Bachelor of Science in Forensic and Investigative Sciences provides students with a solid foundation in both the law and forensic sciences, with study in ethics, forensic chemistry and forensic biology comprising a significant portion of the program.

Common coursework in this type of program may include the following:

  • Investigating Forensic Science
  • Concepts of Forensic Science
  • Professional Issues in Forensic Science
  • Forensic Microscopy
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Biology
  • Forensic Science and the Law

Forensic Science Salary in Indiana

The field of forensic sciences in Indiana is expected to grow by 21.8% through 2018 according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that 310 forensic science technicians were employed in the state in 2012.

While some forensic scientists work as lab technicians, others work in the field analyzing crime scenes and processing evidence for further analysis.  The average salary for crime scene investigators (CSIs) in Indiana in the year preceding 2013 was $47,000 according to

The types of crime scene investigator jobs can vary widely.  Some individuals handle all aspects of crime scene analysis, while others specialize in analyzing such things as the discharge of weapons, latent fingerprints, or tire and shoe impressions.

Another difference between CSIs is some work as civilians in conjunction with law enforcement agencies.  This is the case for the large group of CSIs that work for the city of Indianapolis.  The 2013 salary for a crime scene specialist in Indianapolis ranged from $31,707 to $51,104 a year.

In contrast, other CSIs are sworn officers.  To become a CSI with the Indiana State Police, applicants must first start as troopers with a starting salary of $38,444 a year.  When they have been promoted to Sergeants, they can specialize in investigating crime scenes.  This position starts at $49,000 a year.

Forensic Science Schools and Colleges in Indiana

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Indiana

University Calumet College of St. Joseph, Forensic Science Concentration B.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $16,440 per year
Program link

The Department of Quantitative, Behavioral and Social Sciences offers a B.S. in General Sciences. As an interdisciplinary program, the General Sciences curriculum is primarily concerned with preparing students to obtain employment in manufacturing, environmental and governmental settings and for future study in graduate or professional school.The science core curriculum includes the study of biology, chemistry, ecology, forensic science and physics. The science core curriculum prepares students for advanced study in any of the four areas of concentration.

The Forensic Science concentration will prepare individuals to pursue careers in the law enforcement field. Students in this major will study to investigate a crime scene, analyze evidence and the legal processes surround criminal investigation. Students will receive a solid foundation in how the body functions, how to use scientific instrumentation and how to handle a crime scene. The core modules are:

  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Structure and Function
  • Immunology
  • Forensic Science Survey
  • Forensic Biology
  • Forensic Professional Practice
  • Forensic Science Case Work
  • Forensic Biology Internship

Calumet College of St. Joseph educates you in the liberal arts. In doing so, we aim to challenge your mind, expand your horizons, and open new worlds. We try to provide relevant education that exposes real world experiences while providing a transforming academic experience.

Incorporating Experiential Learning throughout the curriculum provides students with hands-on learning, inside and outside of
the classroom, where their experiences are the focus of the learning process.

CCSJ is committed to working closely with students, faculty and its surrounding community to provide quality experiential learning opportunities that enhance academic learning, connect academic learning to real-life situations and bring awareness of social issues and their relationship to academic studies.

Calumet College of St. Joseph is a Catholic institution of higher learning dedicated to the academic, spiritual and ethical development of undergraduate and graduate students. Informed by the values of its founding religious community, the Missionaries of the Precious Blood (C.PP.S.), the College promotes the inherent dignity of all people, social justice, an ethic of service, student empowerment, opportunity, and lifelong learning

University Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Forensic & Investigative Sciences  B.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $12,013 per year
Program link

If you want to learn and study forensic science, IUPUI is the perfect place. We have nationally recognized faculty in forensic chemistry and biology supported by one of the largest medical schools and one of the top law schools in the U.S.

IUPUI is in downtown Indianapolis where the state and local crime labs, courts, state police and other law enforcement agencies are located. We have the most modern, state of the art instrumentation that you can use yourself to learn about how evidence is analyzed. You can perform cutting edge research and do an internship at a real crime laboratory and get credit for all of it. Come to IUPUI and be a part of one of the leading forensic science programs anywhere in the world. The core modules are:

  • Investigating Forensic Science
  • Concepts of Forensic Science
  • Professional Issues in Forensic Science
  • Forensic Microscopy
  • Forensic Chemistry I and II
  • Forensic Biology I and II
  • Forensic Science Research
  • Forensic Science and the Law
  • Forensic Science Capstone
  • Special Topics in Forensic Sciences

Forensic science is the application of scientific methods and processes to matters that involve crime or the public. There are many branches of forensic science because almost any science has some applications to public or criminal matters. The Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program combines the best of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics and, along with criminal justice and law, enabling you to solve crimes and settle civil disputes. People who work in forensic science solve scientific puzzles, testify as experts in court and even sometimes help collect evidence at crime scenes. Obviously, an inquisitive nature and a love of puzzles (and solving them!) are essential. Students must be strong in math, science and writing to do well in our forensics program. Forensic science also requires an ability to tolerate situations and scenes of crime and violence that are difficult to understand and accept. Loss of life and suffering are often involved in these cases, so an forensic scientists need to have the ability to maintain perspective when working in terrible situations.

A forensic scientist usually works in a laboratory setting analyzing particular types of evidence, writing reports and testifying in court as an expert witness. In some cases, forensic scientists may attend crime or other incident scenes to help reconstruct the crime or help in the recognition, collection, and preservation of evidence within their specialty. For example, a forensic chemist may be asked to help in the processing of a clandestine drug laboratory. A trace evidence examiner may be asked to collect hairs and fibers and other traces from a homicide scene. Usually the crime scene component of a forensic scientist’s job is a relatively minor part of the duties.

Many forensic scientists work in forensic science (crime) laboratories. In the United States, there are more than 4000 crime laboratories administered by the federal, state, or local governments or private industry. Most crime laboratories employ scientists in the areas of forensic chemistry (drugs, toxicology, trace evidence, explosives, fires, etc.), forensic biology (mainly DNA and body fluids and tissues), and criminalistics (fingerprints, questioned documents, firearms, and toolmarks).


University Trine University, Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $12,013 per year
Program link

The tool markings left at the scene of an intrusion; the hair found at the scene of a kidnapping; the bullet casing left at a homicide – all of this evidence can be used to solve a crime. With technology unknown just a few years ago, forensic science has extraordinary powers to produce evidence that wins court cases. With trace evidence, police and forensic scientists can reopen and prove who committed decades-old crimes.The curriculum is very rigorous in the sciences and prepares students for careers directly related to the analysis of trace evidence left at crime scenes. The faculty provide excellent classroom and laboratory training, which includes the use of equipment such as an atomic absorption spectrophotometer, high pressure liquid chromatography equipment, a gas chromatography-mass spectrophotometer, and two comparison microscopes — a ballistics microscope and a fiber/hair microscope.A degree in forensic science prepares you for a variety of careers and graduate school. There are a large number of specialty areas in forensic science. Graduates of the program have become latent print examiners, arson investigators, DNA specialists, and drug chemists. A recent graduate is studying nuclear forensics in graduate school. The core modules are:

  •  Natural Science Core Courses
  • Specialized Science Courses
  • Forensic Science Courses
  • Additional Courses

Year after year, the 35 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and online degree programs are recognized by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review as among the best of any college in the Midwest. Our programs in engineering, education, business, and science are acclaimed nationally. And our cast metals program was ranked as the best undergraduate cast metals program in the nation by the Foundry Education Foundation.With more than 25,000 alumni getting it done at the highest levels around the world, Trine knows a thing or two about success. Approximately 91 percent of our graduates are either in graduate school or employed in a position related to their major within six months of graduation, with a 95 percent placement rate for our engineering graduates. And last year our education majors achieved a 100 percent pass rate on their state exams.

Master’s Degree Programs in Indiana

University Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Forensic & Investigative Sciences  M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $12,467 per year
Program link


At IUPUI, the graduate students are passionate about making an impact. IUPUI currently ranks 7th by U.S. News and World Report in “Up-and-Coming National Universities” and maintains a spot among the top 200 universities in the country. Situated in the heart of Indianapolis, IUPUI is an urban research and life sciences institution near the Indiana State Forensic Laboratory, the Marion County Forensic Services Agency, the State Department of Toxicology, and two private forensic labs (AIT Laboratories and Strand Analytical Laboratories).

The School of Science at IUPUI offers a graduate program leading to Purdue University Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Forensic Science. The core modules are:

  • Current Issues in Forensic Science
  • Legal Issues in Forensic Science
  • Advanced Forensic Microscopy
  • Forensic Biology
  • Forensic Chemistry I and II
  • Population Genetics

The full-time thesis MS program consists of 30 semester credit hours. It is anticipated that the program can be completed within two years.  For full time thesis students, students are encouraged to identify a thesis topic with the help of the FIS faculty as soon as possible in the program. It is normally expected that the research and write up of the thesis will take at least one year of the program. Collaborative research projects with local forensic science laboratories are encouraged.  Thesis research done in conjunction with a crime lab must be approved by the student’s thesis director at IUPUI.

The M.S. Program in Forensic Science, which awards a Purdue University degree, requires 30 credit hours of study beyond the baccalaureate level. It is designed for students seeking careers as professional forensic scientists who desire employment in the criminal justice field or a related area. Students must apply in one of the following concentrations; forensic chemistry or forensic biology.


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