Choosing what to major in when we get to college is one of the biggest decisions of our lives. Our degree determines where we may end up in life and what field we decide to work in. If you are interested in an investigative career, a Bachelor’s degree in a subject related to investigations may be right for you. There are many Bachelor’s degrees available and many of them have unique tracks and electives that can help you decide what you want to do on your investigative path. Below are some examples of programs you may want to consider.
Lewis University – Romeoville, IL
Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Forensic Criminal Investigation that offers classes on every aspect of criminal investigations. From forensic labs to criminology and criminal law, this program teaches students a broad overview of investigations and many graduates go on to become medical examiners, crime scene investigators, and other law enforcement personnel.
The degree consists of 128 credits, with 54 of them being geared towards the major. Students taking between 12 and 18 credit hours pay $17,134 per semester. Lewis University advertises that 98% of its students are eligible to receive financial aid in the form of grants, work-study programs, scholarships, and more.
Utica College – Online
If you’d rather complete an online program, Utica College offers an online Bachelor of Science degree in Cyber Criminology. Students can choose from one of four tracks, including Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation, Information Assurance, Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation, and Cyber Operations. The degree and each track provide students with the knowledge and technical skills needed to install security software as well as create cybersecurity strategies.
The 120-hour degree normally takes between four and six years to complete and costs $475 per credit hour plus books, distance learning fees, and graduation fees. Financial aid may be available for many students if they fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Third-party scholarships, military benefits, and corporate education partnerships are also available to eligible students.
Washburn University – Topeka, KS
Forensic anthropology is one of the more specialized realms of investigations, and Washburn University’s program is the first of its kind in the State of Kansas. What makes this program so great is the brand-new Kansas Bureau of Investigation Forensic Science Center is located right there on campus, so students get hands-on experience with forensic laboratory analysis as well as excavation, which are two key components to being a forensic anthropologist. Students who complete this program may also go on to work in coroner’s offices, public or private laboratories, or international human rights organizations.
Students need 120 credits to graduate with this degree. In-state tuition is $309 per credit hour, and out of state tuition is $702 per credit hour. The university offers access to grants, scholarships, student loans, student employment, and special waivers.
Indiana Tech – Fort Wayne, IN
Indiana Tech now offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Indiana Tech with an emphasis on crime analysis. This program helps students learn how to see circumstances of crimes through different lenses by mixing criminological theory and computer technology to predict, prevent, and control crime. Students who take part in this program must be very analytical and able to study and use data to solve problems and create solutions. This program generally places a higher importance on the psychology of criminal behavior than other programs do, and the school has connections with local and federal law enforcement agencies who offer respectable internships.
The program requires 120 credits to graduate and full-time undergraduate students pay $13,765 per semester plus books and other fees. Part time students (under 12 credits) pay $541.00 per credit hour. Indiana Tech offers many scholarships that can be found on the school’s website and students qualifying for FAFSA can also receive financial aid.
Hilbert College – Hamburg, NY
The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science from Hilbert College in Hamburg, New York, has some of the best courses for those looking to go into lab sciences or digital forensics. The program offers four tracks: forensic lab sciences, crime scene investigation (general), crime scene investigation (biology concentration), and crime scene investigation (digital forensics concentration). The school also offers a “4+1” program that allows students to earn both a B.S. degree and a Master’s degree within five years. Many graduates of this program end up becoming CSIs, lab techs, fingerprint analysts, and digital forensic techs.
Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate with the B.S. in Forensic Science. Full time students pay $11,747 per semester plus books, general college fees, and a student activity fee. Students are encouraged to look at Hilbert College’s website to seek available scholarships and grants.
Becker College – Worcester, MA
Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts offers a B.S. in Criminal Justice with an emphasis on Homeland Security. This program focuses on the different aspects of the U.S. justice system including ethics, criminal psychology, deviance and social control, law, and victimology. Students also have ample opportunities to take part in on-hands instruction at the John J. Dorsey Crime Scene and Evidence Lab, and they also learn skills regarding threat assessment and mitigation, policy planning, disaster response and recovery, counterterrorism, and leadership.
Students taking 12-18 credits pay $18,150 per semester plus fees, and 122 credits are required for graduation. Students taking less than 12 credits pay $1,515 per credit. The school’s website also has grants and scholarships that prospective students may be eligible for.
University of Northern Colorado – Greeley, CO
While many people think of “investigations” as cops and SWAT teams, forensic lab technicians also play a huge role in investigations. The University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado has begun offering a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry: Forensic Science Emphasis degree that tweaks its original Chemistry degree and gears it towards students looking to go into forensic investigations. Students who complete this program get hands-on experience with the newest technologies that they would use in forensic crime labs or government agencies. From DNA to blood analysis, this program will teach students what they will encounter in the “real world.”
Full time, 12-credit hour students who are residents of Colorado pay $4,829 each semester, whereas out of state students pay $10,679 per semester. Additional credits for Colorado residents cost $344 and those for out of state students cost $791. The school offers several scholarships as well as work-study opportunities that can help alleviate the costs.
San Diego State University – San Diego, CA
San Diego State University in San Diego, California, offers a B.S. in Criminal Justice that is different from other criminal justice programs because of the unique courses it offers. For example, there is a course solely devoted to investigations and reporting, and another one dedicated solely to political violence. Students take courses from three different sectors including law in society, crime and behavior, and the criminal justice system. This gives students a broad overview of each aspect of criminal justice and prepares them for careers in law enforcement, corrections, social work, investigations, and more.
Students must already have 60 transferable credits before completing the 36 criminal justice units. Full time tuition for an academic year for in-state students is $7,510, whereas out of state students pay $19,390 per academic year. It is recommended students fill out the FAFSA and grants, loans, and work study programs are available for qualifying students through the school.