A master’s degree in forensics is an educational path that will prepare you for a career using science to solve crimes. If you have watched popular crime dramas on television, such as “CSI,” then you already have some idea of what forensics is – or at least, a dramatized version of it. In reality, the study of forensics and crime scene investigation isn’t quite as glamorous as it appears in TV and movies, according to U.S. News & World Report. However, forensic science is still an interesting field of study that offers the rewarding opportunity to help law enforcement uncover the truth about crimes and put the perpetrator behind bars.

Graduate Coursework in Forensics

The core of what you will study in a master’s degree in forensics program is a combination of science and specialized forensics courses. Success in the field of forensic science requires a thorough background in the life and natural sciences. Students will take courses such as forensic biology, forensic and drug chemistry, genetics, statistics and forensic toxicology. They may also study subjects such as forensic analysis, forensic science administration, forensic psychology, digital forensic science, cybercrime and cybersecurity. A master’s degree in forensics is likely to require laboratory work as part of its science courses.

Forensic Science Careers

What can you do with a graduate degree in forensic science? A master’s degree in forensics is a stepping stone to many possible career paths in crime scene investigation. You might work for police departments, medical examiner offices, morgues, crime laboratories, clinical laboratories, DNA testing facilities or pharmaceutical laboratories, according to U.S. News & World Report. Forensic science technicians are currently seeing faster than average job growth, so there are certainly opportunities available for qualified candidates.

The different job titles you might hold with a master’s degree in forensic science vary, as does earning potential. Crime scene investigators are among the lowest-paid forensic science professionals, with a median salary of $40,000, according to U.S. News & World Report. Crime analysts, forensic science technicians and forensic DNA analyst earn slightly more, around $44,000 to $45,000 per year. The median annual salary for forensic scientists is $51,000. Certain specialties within the field of forensic science pay better than others. If you attain a role as a forensic psychologist, your income will be closer to $62,000. The highest paid forensic science career is forensic computer analyst, for which the median salary is $68,000 per year. Different job titles and wages reflect varying degrees of job responsibilities and education requirements, but these different positions have a lot in common. They all apply the concepts of forensic science to reconstructing crime scenes and analyzing evidence. Each career offers the opportunity to help make sure justice is served.

If you excel and science and have an interest in crime and law enforcement, then forensics may very well be a great fit for you. A master’s degree in forensics is sufficient to prepare you for even high-level roles in the field of forensic science and crime scene investigation.