Investigative Master’s Degrees

When many people think of investigations, they often immediately fall back on the thought of a good cop chasing a bad criminal, but there are so many other types of investigations that are done to protect us and improve humans’ investigative abilities and tools. Anyone interested in an investigative career should take a look into the following programs and see if they get insight into specific niches they may want to pursue. There are Master’s programs offered all throughout the world and this will hopefully help students determine what they want for their futures.

Master of Science in Cyber Criminology

Florida State University – Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida offers a Master of Science in Cyber Criminology that teaches students how to investigate the illegal accessing or interference of information and data, which includes identity theft and other network security matters. The program generally aims to take a two-pronged approach in which students are taught how to use computers to investigate crimes but also how criminals are using computers to commit these crimes.

Students take four criminology courses and seven high-level computer science courses, which total 33 credit hours. The program costs $479 per credit hour for students who are residents of Florida and $1,110 for out-of-state students. Florida State University offers several funding and awards to eligible students.

MSc Investigative Psychology 

University of Huddersfield, England, United Kingdom

The year-long program at the University of Huddersfield is a very specialized degree that focuses on studying the behavior and patterns of criminals to investigate as well as predict crimes. Students learn what role psychologists and mental health experts can play within the law as well as assess witnesses to determine their validity and assess jurors and how they make decisions. Criminal profiling and approaches to helping victims of crimes are also covered in coursework. A research project dissertation is required for graduation.

Graduates from this program normally become intelligence analysts, forensic psychologists, lecturers, and researchers. Tuition is £7,500 for UK and Europe residents and £15,000 for international students. The program is eligible for the university’s Master’s Loan Funding.

Master of Philosophy in Forensic Science

University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia

The 96-credit Master of Philosophy in Forensic Science at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia is a one-of-a-kind program that focuses not only on basic forensic science but also on a vast range of topics including ethics, research proposal writing, biometric science, science business models, and risk assessment and management. The first year is comprised of the core subjects and professional stream credits and the second year is an intensive thesis project.

Many students who graduate with this degree go on to receive a PhD and can also choose from a wide career path including everything from police work to trace evidence investigations and border/customs enforcement. Tuition is $589 AUD ($417) per credit for Australian nationals and $839 AUD ($601) per credit for international students.

Master of Science in Forensic Auditing and Accounting

University of South Wales, Pontypridd, Wales, United Kingdom

The University of South Wales in Pontypridd offers a specialized Master’s degree in forensic auditing and accounting. The program is 12 months long and prepares students for careers in fraud investigation, dispute resolutions, valuations, and expert testimony. Courses include financial analysis techniques, financial crime investigations, risk management, cyber and digital forensics, and more. Students must also complete a dissertation in accounting and finance. National governments, especially those dealing with financial crimes, have begun taking a lot of interest in forensic auditors and accountants; however, many businesses in both the private and public sectors utilize professionals with this specialized skill set.

Tuition for students from the European Union is £9,000 ($11,632) per year and international tuition is £14,100 ($18,225) per year. Several unique scholarships are available, including a USW Refugee Sanctuary Scheme which provides free tuition to a course at the university for select eligible refugees. Students who have already obtained a different degree from the university may also be eligible for a tuition discount.

Master of Science in Medicolegal Death Investigation

Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 

Syracuse University offers an intensive year-long Master of Science in Medicolegal Death Investigation for students seeking to investigate deaths, including suspicious deaths. Not only does this program focus on autopsies, it also covers case investigations, trauma and pathology studies, evidence handling methods, and courtroom testimonies. Courses include medicolegal death courses but also classes on forensic photography, blood pattern analysis, quality assurance and ethics, and crime scene investigations. Graduates of this program can go on to work in various forensic fields if they decide the specialization in death investigation is not for them.

U.S. residents pay $28,062 per year and international students can expect to pay $50,230 per year. The university automatically considers students for a couple of merit-based scholarships based on their applications and current students can apply for various awards based on their performance.

Master of Arts in International Human Rights Law and Justice

The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

The American University in Cairo’s International Human Rights Law and Justice program features a lot of multidisciplinary research into various aspects of human rights. This program is geared towards non-lawyers who are seeking to investigate human rights violations and other humanitarian issues. This two-year program requires 27 credit hours and a pass/fail research thesis. Courses include international human rights law, economic and cultural rights, human rights in the Middle East, international law, and more.

Egypt residents pay $579 per credit and international students pay a flat rate of $735 per credit. The university offers a deferred payment plan as well as some scholarships and financial aid programs for eligible students. It also offers a dual degree program in which students can receive this Master’s degree alongside a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree.

Master of Science in Fire and Explosion Investigation 

University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut

The University of New Haven is one of the only universities that offers a Master’s Degree in the specialization of fires and explosions. The 39-credit program includes coursework in public safety, emergency response management, fire and arson investigations, and general forensic studies. Of course, core courses to the program cover fire chemistry, arson analysis, and the dynamics of structural fires throughout various building types.

Faculty includes fire chiefs, police officers, private investigators, and other security professionals. All graduate students pay $965 per credit. The school offers some work-study programs, assistantships, and scholarships that can provide up to 75% tuition coverage for selected students, including international students.

Master of Science in Forensic Art and Facial Identification

University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom

The University of Dundee in Scotland is one of very few universities to offer a Master’s Degree in Forensic Art and Facial Identification. This one-year program begins with basic drawing and anatomy skills before getting into advanced 3D imaging and forensic case reports. This program puts a heavy emphasis on facial reconstruction, age progression, post-mortem figures, and composite sketches. The university has advanced imaging technologies as well as lifelike Thiel-embalmed cadavers utilized in the anatomy courses.

This program costs residents of Europe, including the entire United Kingdom, £8,750 ($11,310) per year and international student tuition is £18,150 ($23,460) per year. Occasional additional costs are field trip fees and studio costs. The university’s website specifies dozens of lucrative scholarships available to students depending on where they are domiciled.

Master’s Degree in Investigative Journalism

Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona State University offers a Master’s Degree in Investigative Journalism, which aims to prepare students for careers at the biggest media platforms in the world. The school features its very own Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, which is led by several high-profile Pulitzer-prize winning journalists. Students are required to complete 36 credit hours, which includes core journalism courses and specialized investigative courses. Six credits are dedicated to interdisciplinary coursework, which involves learning about research methodologies in various professional disciplines. A 9-credit Capstone project is then required for graduation, and students can apply to take part in the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, which involves traveling and reporting on various topics for 10 weeks.

Arizona residents pay $662 per credit hour, out-of-state residents pay $1,308 per credit hour, and international students pay $2,769 per credit hour. Graduate students are eligible for scholarships, grants, federal work-study, hourly employment, and student/parent loans. International students can apply for scholarships, hourly employment (with a visa), and private education loans.

Forensic Science Master of Science in Forensic Science

Trent University, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Trent University boasts Canada’s first Forensic Science Master’s program that consists of 10 classes over the course of three semesters. The first two semesters consist of four core courses such as toxicology, crime scene analysis, and investigative research design/statistics as well as one elective course such as bioinformatics and forensic psychology. The third semester consists of an intensive academic research placement that will end with a thoroughly-researched thesis. This program works to teach students how to analyze case-specific information as well as present the information to outside audiences.

Tuition for Canadian residents is $14,010 CAD ($10,548) per year and tuition for international students is $27,672 CAD ($20,833) per year. Trent University was rated #1 for scholarships in Canada, so it is important for prospective students to do some digging and apply for these. Bursaries are also available for graduate students and other awards are available, most of which are chosen by nomination.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

University of Padua, Padua, Italy

The University of Padua’s Master’s degree in Cybersecurity is a state-of-the-art program that combines both the technical and legal sides of cybersecurity and computer investigations. This two-year program provides courses in all aspects of cybersecurity including big data, deep learning, computer learning, law and data, software verification and wireless network analysis, ethical hacking, and more. Students learn how to identify cyberattacks and also how to mitigate the risks of them. Graduates normally go on to become forensic computer investigators, security analysts, and security auditors.

Tuition for all students is $3,047 per year. Limited, competitive scholarships are available and the university offers 100 full tuition fee waivers to students completing a program that is fully in English.

Master of Engineering in Forensic Engineering 

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia offers a Master of Engineering in Forensic Engineering program, which teaches students how to use engineering knowledge in techniques and apply them forensically. The program incorporates mechanical, civil, chemical, and electrical engineering that will help students learn how to investigate structural and construction defects and testify about a product’s failure. This knowledge is generally used to testify in civil cases when investigating the cause of an accident. Students must complete 46 credit hours which includes six core courses and four elective courses. All students must also complete Masters Research Project I and II courses, which are supervised by a member of faculty.

The program can be completed in one year and tuition is $2,638 for domestic students and $7,153 for international students. The university offers various scholarships as well as a work-study scholarship that students can apply for. Students can also apply for a publication incentive claim as endorsements for research they may have gotten published.