Continuing education is a great choice, as gaining more knowledge in a specific field can open up numerous career and professional opportunities as well as increase salaries. The field of investigations has really expanded when it comes to education, so many schools are now offering Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD degrees to those wanting an investigative degree. Below are some of the best PhD degrees to look into during your search.
University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA
The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania offers a PhD in Criminology that truly lets students create their own plan while taking core courses in criminological theory, criminal justice policy, and advanced statistics. Students have the opportunity to work closely with staff to learn all kinds of theories and concepts while also completing a dissertation and presenting it to faculty and classmates. Full tuition for a year is $41,760 and it normally takes students three years to complete the program.
North Dakota State University – Fargo, ND
Don’t want to be an investigator, a cop, or a crime scene technician? No problem. You can still work in investigations with a PhD in psychological clinical science from North Dakota State University. The 24-credit program primarily uses research training to work towards understanding psychological and mental health problems. This expertise can then be used in civil and criminal matters, as expert witnesses are very credible, respected, and useful in trials and depositions. Many different courses are included in this program, such as visual neuroscience, organizational psychology, memory and knowledge, psychobiology, and more. A doctoral dissertation is required. Base tuition per credit is $389 for North Dakota residents, $494 for Minnesota residents, $584 for other U.S. residents, and $682 for international students.
West Virginia University – Morgantown, WV
Also straying from the typical criminal police officer investigation realm, the PhD in Public Health Science program at West Virginia University offers a specialty in occupational and environmental health sciences. This program focuses on research of issues such as contamination, physical hazards, occupational hazards, and so on. This program teaches the ability to investigate the sources, exposure, and spreading of hazards that could lead or have led to unfortunate consequences. Graduates of this program will be able to understand the science behind public health issues, but can also testify at trials and deliver research to help in investigations. For example, class action lawsuits regarding pollution and other toxins often bring in a professional whose expertise is in this area for assistance with the case. This program costs West Virginia residents $7,200 per semester and nonresidents $18,225. Depending on how many classes students enroll in per semester, the program takes between three and five years.
University of Illinois at Champaign – Champaign, IL
The Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Champaign offers a PhD program in chemical engineering, which allows students to work alongside faculty mentors while completing coursework in topics such as chemical kinetics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, and other laboratory procedures. Graduates of this program can go on to work in crime labs and other research labs that investigate issues like disease and behavior. They also can go on to investigate new techniques and technologies that improve the ones already out there, which can help in civil and criminal investigations. The PhD program requires 108 semester hours. The base semester rate for in-state residents is $5,935 and out of state students pay $12,369. This specific program adds an additional $2,268 per semester as well.
Florida International University – Miami, FL
Another excellent program for those looking to work in a lab and assist in investigations is the PhD in Chemistry from Florida International University, which focuses on forensic science applications. This program explores biogeochemistry, biomedical sciences, molecule analysis, evidence analysis, and so on. Graduates of this program usually find work in private labs or with government laboratories such as those of the ATF, FBI, and Homeland Security. This program requires 32 credits of coursework. A semester, which is considered to be nine credits, costs $1,142 for Florida residents and $16,316 for non-Florida residents. Students in this program may be eligible for some sort of financial aid.
University of Maryland – Baltimore, MD
The field of genetics has certainly expanded greatly within the last few years, and the University of Maryland offers a PhD in Epidemiology and Human Genetics that provides students with the ability to research molecular, clinical, genetic, biochemical, and cytogenetic matters to investigate health and diseases but also assist in DNA analysis for crimes and genealogy linkages. The graduate tuition is $595 per credit for Maryland residents and $1,043 for non-residents and the program requires at least 27 credits. Students normally finish the program in two years.
University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, CO
It comes as no surprise that one of the most valuable doctoral degrees you can get these days is in the field of technology and computer science. The University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado has been designated a “National Center of Academic Excellence and Information Assurance Education” by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security. This program focuses on engineering, math, and science and prepares students who are planning on working in the Security field. Cybercriminals are becoming more and more tech savvy as time goes on, and this program provides opportunities to learn cybercrime mitigation as well as cyber war prevention and homeland defense procedures. Students are required to complete 60 credit hours, but those holding a bachelor’s degree in STEM may only need 30 credit hours. Colorado residents can expect to pay around $7,000 per semester, whereas out of state students pay around $12,000 per semester.
Sam Houston State University – Huntsville, TX
Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas is one of the very few schools that offer a PhD specifically in forensic science. The 86-credit hour program includes a wide variety of forensic classes including trace analysis, laboratory management, toxicology, instrumental analysis, and biometrics. This includes at least 15 credit hours of dissertation research along with a selection of electives. The program takes most students four or five years of full-time study and the approximate cost per semester is $5,200 for in-state students and $10,200 for out-of-state students.