Forensic Science Degrees in Massachusetts

massachusetts 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 Massachusetts.

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 Requirements in Massachusetts

Forensic science employers in Massachusetts usually request that an applicant’s degree, whether undergraduate or graduate, be in one of the natural sciences. These include forensic science, physics, chemistry, analytical chemistry, biology, pharmacology, and biochemistry.

It is a good idea to choose, if possible, a forensic science degree program that is accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Employers in Massachusetts often hire FEPAC program graduates over non-FEPAC program graduates.

Forensic science degree programs available in Massachusetts and online include:

  • Associate of Science in Biotechnology-Forensic Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with a Forensic Science Concentration
  • Master of Science/Doctoral Degree in Forensics
  • Master of Science/Doctoral Degree in Biomedical Forensic Science
  • Master of Science/Doctoral Degree in Forensic Anthropology


Forensic Training in Massachusetts

Forensic science is a wide field encompassing a variety of disciplines. Forensic science jobs in Massachusetts may range from analyzing evidence obtained at a crime scene, to running toxicology and drug tests, to examining DNA. The broadness of the forensic science discipline is what draws many students to this field, as well as the exciting nature of the investigatory work. Becoming a forensic scientist means studying the natural sciences, as well as anthropology and evidence technology and techniques.

Examples of the types of jobs that may be available to forensic science graduates in Massachusetts include:

  • Forensic scientist
  • DNA Forensic scientist
  • Forensic examiner
  • DNA technician
  • Digital evidence specialist

Forensic science technician or technology-based jobs in Massachusetts may require a two-year associate degree, but most Massachusetts forensic science jobs require at least a four-year degree. For example, a recently advertised forensic researcher position requires a master’s degree in Forensic Science or a related field; while a job such as DNA Forensic Scientist for the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory requires a bachelor’s degree.


Forensic Salary in Massachusetts

After graduation, generally forensic scientists find work within federal or state crime laboratories. Working for the government can provide a person with additional pay in the form of benefits, however most entry-level positions in forensic science crime labs pay minimum at first, usually averaging around $1500 per month. Over time, a forensic scientist can build experience which increases ones pay. Some forensic scientists who have been in the business for 5 years see their salaries double from $1500 to $3000 per month just because of the experience factor. Other forensic scientists eventually earn salaries that are between $35,000 and $50,000 per year.

Determining ones pay usually involves several different factors. Location, type of facility, experience and certification all play parts in ones annual income. Another factor is what type of forensic scientist you are. Toxicologists can earn starting salaries up to $55,000 while a Forensic Quality Manager can earn up to $93,000. As mentioned, salaries can be determined by location. For those living in rural, secluded areas crime may not occur as often as someone living in a large city where crime occurs daily. If you work for the government, you have to be willing to get paid what they are willing to pay you. If crime is not occurring, they may not have many hours to provide you, which can decrease your pay. Getting yourself certified by the American Board of Criminalists or the American Board of Forensic Toxicology can help your pay increase too. Certification lets employers know that you are experienced, skilled, educated and trained for the task at hand.


Forensic Schools and Colleges in Massachussets

Bachelor’s Degree


University Mount Ida College, Massachusetts, Applied Forensic Science B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $29,232 per year
Program link

In our Applied Forensic Science Bachelor’s Degree Program, you’ll get your fingerprints all over the subject matter. We take a hands-on approach to the applied forensic science, emphasizing practical skills and direct experience. You’ll earn a career-oriented bachelor’s degree in forensic science—and you’ll get to do it at a beautiful New England college that couldn’t be more unlike a crime lab. In between your applied forensic science classes, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to play sports, make friends, enjoy nearby Boston and explore interests beyond forensic science.Mount Ida’s Applied Forensic Science Degree is led by faculty with over 100 years of combined professional experience. Our small forensic science classes ensure lots of one-on-one interaction with instructors, so you’ll get all the support you need to master forensic science procedures, technologies and concepts. Case studies and simulated investigations will give you the chance to tackle real-life forensic science challenges and develop professional skills that include:  lab testing and documentation, crime scene analysis and reconstruction techniques, evidence handling and legal procedures, critical thinking, writing and research. The core modules are:

  • 18 credits in core forensic sciences
  • 18 credits in criminal justice
  • 31 credits in related science courses
  • 33 credits in arts, sciences and humanities
  • 21 credits in open electives

In the Applied Forensic Science Program, students combine biology, chemistry, and criminal justice courses to approach crime scene analysis. Our faculty members are renowned forensic scientists who have received awards for their teaching as well as scientific contributions. They provide training in our fully-equipped labs with hands-on personalized instruction from working in forensic investigation. Upon graduation, they prepare you for on-scene work in a wide variety of disciplines from police departments to medical examiners offices to federal agencies.Professor James Jabbour, Program Director, M.S., has held many positions as a retired Police Inspector after 30 years in law enforcement. His involvement in cases from crime scene investigation, forensic analysis, recreation, and reconstruction of evidence, has allowed him to bring a multidisciplinary approach to his teaching. Additionally, before coming to our college, he was assigned to the Witness Protection Program and a Computer Crimes Task Force, assisting with cold case investigations, homicides, police shootings and statewide prosecutions.

University Anna Maria College, Massachusetts, Forensic Criminology B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $23,500 per year
Program link

The major in Forensic Criminology provides students with a specialized examination of the criminal justice system from both sociological and scientific perspectives. While Criminal Justice aims to study the breadth of criminal activities and its control through policing and corrections, Forensic Criminology explores the depth of crime, its causes and criminal motivation to address legal and investigative questions. Forensic means the application of science to the law. Through a focus on evidence and process, students are challenged to assess systemic and societal responses to various criminal populations and case studies.


Courses, labs and field experience combine to ready students for careers in criminal justice and forensic investigations or to pursue further graduate studies. Consistent with the mission of Anna Maria College, this major will prepare students with a liberal education for professional service in society and the administration of justice. The core modules are:

  • Foundations of Criminal Justice
  • Crime Scene Forensics
  •  Constitutional Law
  •  Criminology
  • Criminalistics
  •  Cyber Crime
  • Forensic Psychology
  •  Forensic Anthropology
  • Criminal Evidence
  • Cybercrime II: Internet Vulnerabilities and Criminal Investigation
  •  Child Abuse
  • Forensic Archaeology
The Learning Goals of the program are: to develop a critical understanding of the field of criminal justice and forensics through a balance of theory and practical application; to develop an interdisciplinary perspective on the issues which face criminal justice professionals; to develop leadership and decision making skills; to develop knowledge and foster an appreciation for research methodology and its ability to inform both policy and practice; to develop a critical understanding of the ethical dimensions of the field; to develop a commitment to social justice, civic responsibility and feel the importance of respecting the dignity of all persons. Anna Maria College, a Catholic institution of higher learning, recognizes its obligation to serve its immediate community, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the nation and the world through the provision of education, the preservation of learning, and the sponsorship of research. Rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition of higher education, Anna Maria College is maintained and operated in conformity with the values of the Judeo-Christian tradition and in keeping with the ideals of its foundresses, the Sisters of Saint Anne. These ideals, which reflect the development of the total human being, also include increasing access to quality education, educational innovation and respect for practical skills. Specifically, Anna Maria College sees its mission to be that of fostering in its students intellectual involvement, career preparation, social awareness, dedication to justice and peace, religious and moral sensitivity, and a lifestyle capable of sustaining these within balance. In addition, the College is committed to nurturing the development of a sense of respect for oneself and for others, as well as a sense of responsibility to society and the world.



University Assumption College, Massachusetts, Criminology B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $35,510 per year
Program link

Criminology is far more than the study of “how” crimes occur, it explains the underlying reasons why crimes occur in society. Assumption College’s major in Criminology provides students with an understanding of crime as a social phenomenon, both regarding its causes and its consequences for society. Coursework in the major encompasses the study of how laws are made (the sociology of law), why some people break those laws (theories of crime), and the societal reaction to law-breaking behavior by the criminal justice system (the field of penology).The major also gives students a strong background in the social science research methods and sociological theories they will need throughout their careers. n addition to their excellent teaching credentials, the faculty of the Sociology Criminology, and Anthroplogy department have extensive experience as scholars in the fields of sociology and criminology. The faculty blend their research skills into a rich classroom environment where concepts and theories are integrated with real world examples. Our teachers are also mentors and get to know students individually. Faculty advisors assist students with everything from course selection to exploring their career opportunities. The core modules are:

  • Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
  •  Criminology
  •  Juvenile Delinquency
  •  Deviant Behavior
  •  Sociology of Law
  •  Victimology
  •  Internship Seminar: Sociologists and Anthropologists at work
  •  Sociology of Law
  •  Constitutional Law
  •  Social Inequality in Society
  •  Gender Issues in Society
Assumption College, a liberal arts and professional studies college, lies at the center of Massachusetts in the City of Worcester. The campus is approximately three miles from the downtown area. Its location in Central Massachusetts among 15 other colleges and universities, affords employees many academic, cultural and social advantages. In addition, Worcester has many fine facilities and programs, including an outstanding, nationally know art museum and music festival, a symphony orchestra and science museum. Worcester has a large public school system and several excellent private elementary and secondary schools. Facilities for winter and summer sports and for all sorts of recreational activities abound in Worcester and vicinity. Proximity to the cities of Boston and Springfield (approximately one hour by car) add numerous opportunities to those available locally.


University Bay Path University, Massachusetts, Forensic Psychology B.S.
Duration 4 years
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $35,510 per year
Program link

The Forensic Psychology program at Bay Path is designed for you to apply the principles and insights of psychology within the criminal justice system. You can become involved in working with gang members, adolescent and adult offenders, victims and perpetrators of crime including domestic violence, sexual assaults, families, court advocacy, substance abuse, individuals with chronic mental illness, and more.

Bay Path is one of the few women’s colleges in the United States to offer forensic psychology as a major! The demand for expertise in this field is rapidly increasing, with multiple career opportunities. As part of the program, guest speakers are scheduled in various classes to help students learn about the different opportunities in the field of forensic psychology. The core modules are:

  • Survey of Forensic Psychology
  •  Psychology of Criminal Behavior
  •  Psychology of Female Offenders
  •  Advanced Seminar in Forensic Psychology
  •  Abnormal Psychology
  •  Introduction to the American Legal System
The Co-Op Program is one of the many options for traditional students to benefit from experiential learning. Students gain credit for working 100 hours at a local human service organization. In addition, they take a seminar class to provide support and facilitate connections for theory and practice. This highly selective program is available to qualified students at the sophomore level, and is conducted during the spring semester. The Co-Op faculty advisor works closely with students to place them at sites that match their interests. The kinds of work responsibilities vary from site to site, but typically include: research projects, creating resource materials for staff and families, and direct care with clients in residential or after-school programs. Co-Op students are sponsored by our Community Partners. The Psychology Program at Bay Path is proud to announce its Community Partners for 2013. These organizations are providing opportunities for experiential learning to our students from all programs – Traditional, One-Day, and Graduate. Through Co-Op, service-learning projects, research projects, fieldwork & internships, you will gain valuable experience and contacts with these notable and respected agencies. You can specialize in fields ranging from mental health counseling to industrial-organizational behavior by continuing your education in graduate programs across the country or right here at Bay Path at one of convenient locations:  Longmeadow Campus, Burlington, MA or Sturbridge, MA in our Master of Science in Developmental Psychology Program or MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.


Master’s Degree

University Division of Graduate Medical Sciences Boston University, Massachusetts
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $43,970 per year
Program link


The MS in Forensic Anthropology Program offers a variety of courses in forensic anthropological techniques and procedures, taphonomy, human anatomy, osteology, pathology, human remains recovery, death investigation, experimental design and statistics, expert witness testimony and crime scene investigation.

Completion of this program will prepare students to continue their graduate education in a doctoral program and/or work in a wide variety of settings including medical examiners or coroners offices, crime laboratories, state and federal agencies and international organizations. The core modules are:

  •  History, Methods and Theory in Biological Anthropology
  •  Human Anatomy and Osteology
  •  Professional Skills and Thesis Research Development
  •  Special Topics in Forensic Anthropology: Outdoor Crime Scene Awareness
  •  Taphonomy
  •  Forensic Anthropology Techniques
  •  Bioarchaeology
  •  Zooarchaeology
  •  Research in Anthropology
  •  Taphonomy
  •  Mortuary Archaeology
  •  Advanced Osteology
  •  Expert Witness Testimony
  •  Applied Forensic Anthropology
  •  Elementary Biostatistics
This unique program is one of the only graduate forensic anthropology programs in a department of anatomy at a major medical center. This setting will provide students and faculty access to extensive resources and facilities, including the university’s outdoor research facility and human gross anatomy laboratory.

With the close affiliated with the Masters Degree Program in Biomedical Forensic Sciences, students have the opportunity to pursue training in multiple areas of forensic sciences.

University Bay Path University, Massachusetts, Forensic Science, M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $30,859 per year
Program link

Forensic science is continually evolving. It’s a profession with high expectations, and high ethical standards. Bay Path’s Master of Science in Forensics teaches to those principles.

Forensic DNA testing changed the face of the criminal justice system. Today, with the help of DNA analysis and other techniques forensic scientists are solving cold cases, helping define crime scenes, and working with police and legal teams to reliably and accurately contribute to identifying perpetrators. Their scientific knowledge and expertise can have a profound impact: it can be the difference in a conviction, or bring long-awaited closure to families. A profession firmly based on scientific integrity, the contributions of forensic scientists to the workings of the judicial system cannot be underrated. They help to keep our society safe. The program has small classes so you not only understand and practice accurate procedures in collecting and preserving evidence, but you will gain broad knowledge in scientific standards related to crime scene investigation and reconstruction. The professors are practitioners in the field, with leadership in crime labs, and experience in high-profile investigations. Your peers are more than likely working the field, because we’ve developed a program that is for the working professional. And the courses cover a range of disciplines — including DNA analysis, examination of fingerprints or footwear impressions, crime scene reconstruction, and firearm analysis — used to solve criminal cases. Leadership is stamped on the entire program. From management practices to budgeting to human relations, you learn how to run a successful lab.  The core modules are:

  • Forensic Biology
  •   Forensic Toxicology and Drug Analysis
  •  Forensic Science Seminar
  •  Ethical and Legal Issues in Forensic Science
  •  Advanced Criminalistics and Crime Investigation and Reconstruction
  •  Advanced Microscopy
  •  Forensic Science Administration
  •  Forensic Science Methods and Statistics
  •  Forensic Science Research Project
Reconstruction, real-life simulations, and case observations—in the MS in Forensics the best way to learn is by doing. You may find yourself wearing Kevlar gloves or suit to minimize contamination and for safety. Another time you are investigating a perfectly reconstructed crime scene where your powers of observation are tested. Or you visit a crime lab to understand how quality control and maintenance is addressed. The program is the perfect blend of academic theory, scientific practices, and hands-on. The Master of Science in Forensics provides students with an intensive and holistic criminalistics experience through a combination of didactic and practical educational and research experiences in forensic science education that enables students to reach the highest levels of their intellectual achievement and personal growth. The program requires completion of a total of 39 credits. Each student is required to successfully complete the core curriculum which provides an expansive and broad-based educational experience in forensic science. Consequently, students are required to have a foundation consisting of various chemistry, biology, mathematics, and physics courses equivalent to those in a forensics or biology undergraduate program to satisfy admissions require-ments for entrance into the program. Students with undergraduate degrees in a field other than science must complete these foundation courses at the undergraduate level prior to admission into the program. The courses are offered through a combination of on campus and online delivery with the on campus courses taught at Bay Path’s main campus in Longmeadow. All the elements to make a confident, proficient, and responsive forensic scientist.


University University of Massachusetts Lowell Criminal Justice & Criminology, M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $11,014 per year
Program link

The Master’s degree program offers courses in two formats: on-campus and online. Students may take courses in either of the formats or a combination. Requirements are the same for all course formats. Once the majority of required courses have been completed, students are free to choose the remaining courses in their program of study. Students should meet with their advisor to develop an individualized course of study that best meets their interests and needs.  Selected specialty courses will be taken during the second or subsequent year. With the approval of the academic advisor, students may select up to nine credits of graduate level courses in other programs at the university. Students will be assigned an academic advisor, usually the Graduate Coordinator, when entering the program.  Juniors and seniors at UMass Lowell who have a 3.0 GPA or better and have earned a B or better in 44.395 (Criminal Justice Statistics) are eligible to apply for the B.S/M.A. program.  The B.S./M.A. program allows for completion of both degrees in five years if desired.  As part of the program, two graduate classes may be counted toward both the 120 credit hours required for the B.S. degree and the 33 credit hours required for the M.A. degree.  Please note once the student graduates with their Bachelor’s degree and enters the Master’s program, the student must transfer the credits from the graduate courses taken while they were pursuing their Bachelor’s degree by completing an academic petition asking for the credits to be transferred into the Master’s program. During the first year of full-time study, students emphasize the five core courses. The decision to complete a thesis should be made before the completion of 24 credits. Full time students will enroll in thesis during the second year of study. Selected specialty courses will be taken during the second or subsequent year. With the approval of the academic advisor, students may select up to nine credits of graduate level courses in other programs at the university. Students will be assigned an academic advisor, usually the Graduate Coordinator, when entering the program. Students will be required to maintain a 3.0 cumulative average. If a student should receive a grade below a B, the academic advisor will meet with the student to discuss methods of improving performance. No more than six credits below a B may be counted toward the degree. If a student should receive a second grade below a B, there will be a review by the Graduate Committee for such actions as a warning, probation, or loss of degree candidacy. Such action will be subject to the approval of the Graduate Dean. All requirements for the degree must be completed within five years of the time the student was first admitted as a matriculated student. The core modules are:

  • Criminological Theory – Foundations
  • Criminal Justice System
  • Quantitative Analysis in Criminal Justice
  •  Research Design
  • Criminal Justice Scholarship
  •  Law and Public Policy
Students may choose to complete a Master’s Thesis. The decision to complete a thesis should be made before the completion of 24 credits. Full time students will enroll in thesis during the second year of study.  The thesis will be completed under the direction of a mutually acceptable thesis advisor. The thesis proposal must be approved by a thesis committee, composed of the thesis advisor (chair) and two other committee members chosen by the student and approved by the Graduate Coordinator. An approved copy of the proposal will be filed with the Graduate Coordinator. The thesis will represent the student’s ability to formulate, carry out, and present a significant research project. A “defense of thesis” will be conducted before the thesis committee and other interested faculty and students. Thesis forms and guidelines are available.


University Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, Forensic Psychology M.S.
Duration 24 months
Type Full time, Part time
Tuition and fees $28,643 per year
Program link

This program examines the relationship between psychology and the legal system, and trains students at this intersection as it relates to applying psychological principles to legal issues in judicial, correctional, clinical, administrative, and education systems. The full-time two-year course of study combines intensive on-site weekends and online learning over a two-year period. Although the primary goal is to prepare master’s level clinicians, this program will also provide students with some of the necessary foundations for pursuing further graduate study. Graduates of this program will have fulfilled all educational requirements to qualify for licensure in the state of Massachusetts as Mental Health Counselors (LMHC). MSPP integrates rigorous academic instruction with extensive field education and professional development assistance. We believe that the best learning comes from integrating classroom knowledge with hands-on experience. The curriculum provides for an understanding of theory, training, and practice of forensic counseling psychology. We emphasize the development of professionals who are committed to the ethical provisions of quality services to culturally diverse clients, agencies, and organizations. The core modules are:

  • Psychology of Diversity and Difference
  • Psychodrama and Drama Therapy
  • Advanced Expressive Therapies – Theories and Practice
  • Forensic Internship
  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Sex Offender Evaluation and Treatment
  • Psychology Appraisal and Assessment
  • Forensic Capstone Project Seminar
  • Trauma – Theory and Treatment

The Master of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology enables graduates to work in fields that utilize the study and practice of forensic counseling psychology, including court clinics, secured forensic units, correctional facilities, child advocacy centers, forensic assessment, and treatment facilities, in addition to being prepared to work in general counseling settings.Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology are trained to work as master’s level practitioners with individuals, families and systems that interface with the legal and criminal justice arena. The aim is to prepare clinicians who will be able to assess, treat, consult and apply counseling psychology in forensic settings. When so many individuals involved with the criminal justice system have great need for trained professionals in this area, we are providing clinicians that are thoroughly trained and sensitive to their particular challenges.

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