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Forensics Colleges in New Hampshire

States may talk about the value of being free, but New Hampshire (NH) takes the concept seriously. The state’s official motto “Live Free or Die” echoes the words of Revolutionary War general and local hero John Stark, although it wasn’t officially adopted until the 1940s.

Of course, New Hampshire’s 1.3 million residents embrace the concept of living free; by illustration, it was the first U.S. state to create its own constitution, and there’s no sales tax or income tax. There’s also an abundance of wilderness, hiking trails and many uncrowded, quaint towns. Also, crime is generally low; as of 2011, the state had the third lowest violent crime rate in the country with 188 per 100,000 people falling victim, right behind neighbors Vermont and Maine. It also ranks 49th in murders at 1.3 per 100,000, slightly above Hawaii.

Some consider the Granite State “gun-friendly” not because of its high crime, but rather because of the few restrictions on gun ownership combined with easy access to the outdoors. This means plenty of opportunities for hunting and related activities, plus a strong recreational ethic and general appreciation of firearms and firearm safety. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, of the 156 murders committed in the state between 2000 and 2011, 61 of them (39 percent) were committed with firearms, compared to a national average of 67 percent of the 168,595 committed nationwide in that same time period.

Even with a low crime rate, New Hampshire offers a variety of educational and career opportunities in forensics and criminology, including with New Hampshire’s Medical and Forensic Services Division, which focuses on meeting the physical and behavioral needs of people incarcerated statewide. Municipal law enforcement departments also can benefit from trained individuals in the areas of investigation and analysis.

For instance, the largest cities like Manchester and Nashua have the highest reports of violent crime in the state. Although murders are infrequent anywhere, larger cities see a traditional range of felonies such as robberies, property crime, arson, and rape, all of which require forensics services for proper evidence collection and analysis.

This guide explores forensics programs in New Hampshire, including three outstanding professors, expected coursework at different degree levels, and the outlook for careers in this field.

NH Forensics Professors to Know

Ellen
Dr. Ellen Cohn, University of New Hampshire College of Liberal Arts (COLA)

The current coordinator of COLA’s justice studies program specializes in social psychology with an emphasis on legal socialization, race, justice, and jury deliberation. Dr. Cohn is also an instructor in the school’s justice studies and psychology programs, as well as the forensics minor. Her courses include psychology of crime and justice, social psychology, and the psychology of law. She also heads the school’s Legal Socialization Lab, which researches topics such as bullying, racism in legal systems, and unwanted sexual experiences among college students.

Robert
Dr. Robert Eckstein, University of New Hampshire College of Liberal Arts

As a senior lecturer in COLA’s justice studies and psychology programs, Dr. Eckstein specializes in psychology and counseling psychology topics. He teaches several mental health courses, including personality and counseling. Dr. Eckstein also heads the school’s Innovations Research Center, which worked with the White House to explore sexual violence on college campuses, seeking to understand if prevention programs increase or decrease incidence reporting.

Jefferson
Dr. Jefferson K. Allen, Franklin Pierce University

Dr. Allen brings his experience in the military judicial system to his teaching, including his years supervising military police and being a military prosecutor. As a civilian, he’s also worked in law enforcement. His teaching specialties include basic criminal justice, police work, and investigations. Notably, he’s one of the school’s most popular advisors for his engaging storytelling, motivational style, and ability to strike a balance between making classes challenging and enjoyable.

Featured Forensics & Forensic Psychology Programs in NH

Part of the value of formal training in forensics is that students receive a foundation in a variety of subjects. Rather than simply drilling deep into one scientific discipline, university-level justice and forensics programs provide more breadth in inquiry, discussing topics such as sociology, philosophy, political science, and psychology. This interdisciplinary insight can make a job candidate more marketable and easier to adapt their skills into different career areas. The same is to an extent true of forensic psychology programs in New Hampshire, although curricula for those programs tends to be cover the psychological aspects of criminal behavior and forensic investigation in greater detail.

  • The University of New Hampshire College of Liberal Arts of Durham offers a bachelor’s of arts (B.A.) in justice studies program, including a minor in forensics. The 20-credit program includes introductory courses in justice studies and forensic science, followed by classes in criminology, homicide, forensic anthropology, forensic psychology and technology, and crime and society. A course in psychology and law (or crime and justice) can be substituted if some requirements aren’t offered during a particular semester. To qualify, a student must receive a C- or better in each required course, and also meet with a program advisor. A master’s program is also available in justice studies. COLA provides other opportunities for students to build connections and experience, including a chapter of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, plus opportunities to assist faculty members in research. As of 2017, in-state tuition costed $17,624 per year, or $28,562 with other fees. Non-residents paid $31,424 and $42,362, respectively.
  • Franklin Pierce University of Rindge also provides a minor in forensic psychology with training in how psychological principles apply to law and criminal investigations. The 24-credit minor can supplement the knowledge of someone pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree in psychology. It can benefit those interested in careers in counseling, law enforcement, or law-related fields. The minor covers communication, analysis, research, and advocacy and investigation, as well as violence, espionage, addiction, and crisis management. Students also can join extracurricular activities like the Criminal Justice Club and a program shadowing the school’s security staff, EMTs, or firefighters. Students studying accounting at FPU can also pursue forensic accounting track. Tuition for undergraduates is $32,455 annually, and housing, food and other fees can bring the total to $48,177.
  • Southern New Hampshire University of Manchester has a forensic psychology bachelor’s degree program, a track which focuses on research, mental health, criminal behavior, the legal system, and rehabilitation methods. Required and elective courses include everything from anatomy to criminal justice, American politics, and various sociology courses in deviance, as well as aging or gender. On-campus undergraduate tuition is $30,756 per year (2016-17), but with other fees such as room and board, the cost is typically between $41,709 and $46,788.

NH-Based Online Forensics Programs

  • In addition to offering traditional academic programs at its Manchester campus, Southern New Hampshire University has online associate, bachelor’s and master’s programs in forensic fields, including forensic accounting and forensic psychology. The accounting program teaches students how to trace money and other financial information that may be moved or concealed. These skills can benefit law enforcement, insurance companies, municipalities, attorneys, and private parties. The psychology program gives an overview of mental health, sociology, political science, deviancy, and aging. Each distance-based bachelor’s degree program requires 120 credit-hours. Online programs cost $960 per course or $220 per credit-hour.
  • New England College of Henniker offers on-campus and online programs for graduates and undergraduates, including online criminal justice programs for associate and bachelor’s degree seekers. Either option could be useful for students currently working in law enforcement who may not have a dependable schedule to accommodate traditional classes. The associate degree program covers the basics of justice career paths, along with criminal law, psychology, security, and juvenile crime. It offers 15 four-credit courses and takes two years to complete with an estimated cost of $405 per credit-hour for a total of $24,300. The bachelor’s program requires 30 four-credit courses, which typically take four years to complete. Estimated tuition is $405 per credit-hour for a total of $48,600.
  • Finally, Franklin Pierce University also features both online and on-campus bachelor’s and associate degrees in criminal justice. The online programs are designed to be flexible and customized, especially for people already working in these fields. Someone with professional experience or currently employed in law enforcement, corrections, or the court system can receive up to 45 transfer credits toward their degree respective of their general knowledge and any professional credentialing. The programs offer in-depth looks at the modern justice system, including research, gender roles, investigation and evidence, white collar crime, and race/ethnic relations. The associate program requires 60 credits, which could be used to enter the workforce, or continue into the bachelor’s program. Fees for online programs are $390 per credit-hour.

Forensics Program Accreditation

Forensics programs in New Hampshire are generally accredited by the regional New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the country’s oldest accrediting association. It includes more than 2,000 public and independent schools, colleges, and universities. Some forensics programs nationwide are accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), including on-campus programs in nearby Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. As of June 2017, there were no FEPAC-accredited programs in NH.

Career Outlook – Forensics in New Hampshire

The private and public sectors in New Hampshire can benefit from people with training and credentials in forensic sciences or related subjects. Local law enforcement agencies and the state government are both good starting places. While smaller law enforcement agencies may not have the resources for full-time laboratory staff, they still may appreciate someone trained in modern investigative and evidence-gathering methods.

The New Hampshire State Police also operates a certified Forensic Laboratory which analyzes evidence from 220 city, state, county, and federal law enforcement and fire agencies. The lab can process DNA, fingerprinting, ballistics, controlled substances, and other submitted evidence, all of which require specially trained forensics personnel.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2016), positions such as forensic technicians are going to be in demand into the future and pay relatively generous salaries. As of 2016, there were 14,800 FS techs nationwide in state and local governments, scientific research, and medical areas, who earned the following salary percentiles:

United States (14,800 forensic science techs): $60,690 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $33,860
  • 25th percentile: $42,710
  • 50th percentile (median): $56,750
  • 75th percentile: $74,220
  • 90th percentile: $97,400

Interestingly, there was a smaller range of salaries for FS techs within NH, but they generally commanded better salaries than the national figures, boasting higher average and median salaries:

New Hampshire (30 forensic science techs): $71,690 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $58,730
  • 25th percentile: $64,210
  • 50th percentile (median): $69,970
  • 75th percentile: $79,600
  • 90th percentile: $83,230

Notably, Projections Central (2017) reported that there would be a 26.6 increase nationally in positions for forensic science techs between 2014 and 2024, amounting to approximately 3,800 new positions. Within NH, there was an expected 25.6 percent increase in positions in this field.

In sum, forensic science technology represents only one career open to those with training in forensics; there’s expected to be growth across other related occupations in crime scene investigation, laboratory technology, law enforcement, and other areas.

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