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Forensics Colleges in Maryland

From the dense cultural offerings of Baltimore to the storied halls of Annapolis, Maryland (MD) is a state that is rich in history. As one of the original 13 colonies, the Old Line State has plenty to draw in new residents and keep native Marylanders around. Of course, no state, no matter how historic, is immune to crime, which means there is certainly a demand for forensic science technicians that help to identify criminals in MD.

Those who have an interest in forensic science will find that several different programs of study are available in Maryland, including two programs that have earned accreditation from the prestigious Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). Community colleges, state colleges, and universities are among the institutions offering academic programs. In fact, Maryland could be an ideal state in which to pursue a career in forensic science with technicians earning a mean annual wage of $74,600, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2022).

Students can choose to take varied paths toward this career, each involving a commitment to academics and hands-on training. The earlier someone starts down the path, the more likely they will be able to find employment down the line. Some forensic scientists even start pursuing a career as early as high school.

Luckily for aspiring crime solvers in Maryland, the state has several forensic science programs and a healthy employment landscape for these trained professionals.

Read below to discover more about becoming a forensic science specialist in Maryland, including occupational demand, featured programs, and accreditation information.

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How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Maryland

For prospective forensic science techs in Maryland, there are several experiential and educational paths, although these professionals typically pursue at least a four-year degree in natural sciences before employment. In fact, Career One Stop (2023)—a job-planning tool sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor—reports that 31 percent of forensic science technicians have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 14 percent with associate degrees and 24 percent with some college education.

Following is one of the most common paths to becoming a forensic scientist or technician in MD:

  • Step 1: Graduating from high school. Since these professionals often get degrees in natural or physical sciences, strong grades in chemistry, physics, statistics, mathematics, and biology may prepare them for postsecondary work.
  • Step 2: Pursuing a bachelor’s degree (four years). Many forensic scientists hold four-year degrees, typically a BS in a subject such as biology, chemistry, engineering, psychology, or even computer science. The right degree will depend on the person’s intended specialization.
  • Step 3: Applying for certification (optional, timeline varies). Although certification is not necessary for practice in all forensic science branches, it can indicate a level of achievement or professional standards to employers, especially in more competitive fields. There are ten professional certification organizations accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB), including the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC), the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT), and a variety of other subfields. Please note that these specialties may involve advanced training, experiential requirements, or examinations prior to admission.
  • Step 4: Pursuing an advanced degree in forensic science or a specialty discipline (optional, timeline varies). A more advanced degree is typically required for forensic scientists looking to deepen their knowledge, increased responsibilities, and possibly higher pay.

Strong Career Outlook for Maryland Forensic Science Professionals

Overall growth in the forensic science occupation is quite solid. As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022) projects that openings for forensic science technicians will increase 11 percent between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the growth rate expected for all occupations during that time period (5 percent). And this expected addition of 2,000 positions nationally is only one career possibility for people trained in forensic science.

The outlook is even brighter for residents of MD. Projections Central (2023) found that demand for forensic science technicians in Maryland specifically is expected to grow 25.6 percent between 2020 and 2030.

The BLS (2022) found that 62 percent work for the local government and 27 percent of forensic science technicians in the US work for the state government. They work in crime laboratories, morgues, police departments, or medical examiner offices. There are several other places of employment in forensic science, depending on one’s specialty.

These professionals may go into several available careers, such as medical examiners, forensic engineers, crime scene examiners, crime laboratory analysts, physical anthropologists, document examiners, digital analysts, behavior scientists, and criminal profilers.

The experiential requirements, education, and training may vary for these professionals. The American Academy of Forensic Scientists (AAFS) has a variety of resources for these professionals, including a list of journal articles, networking organizations, continuing education opportunities, and support for the Young Forensic Scientists Forum (YFSF).

Finally, the ForensicsColleges blog offers several in-depth career articles for forensic science graduates in its How to Become series, with step-by-step instructions to becoming profilers, crime scene technicians, forensic psychologists, forensic accountants, detectives, and more.

Forensics Salaries in Maryland

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2022) reported that there were 440 forensic science technicians in Maryland.

Furthermore, the state boasts higher-than-average wages for forensic science technicians. As proof of point, the United States employs 17,590 forensic science technicians with an average annual salary (mean annual wage) of $69,260. In MD, the average salary in this field is $74,600.

In more detailed terms, here is a breakdown of the salary percentiles among all forensic science technicians in the country compared with those in Maryland (BLS May 2022):

United States Maryland
Number of Forensic Science Technicians Employed 17,590 440
Annual Mean Wage $69,260 $74,600
10th percentile $39,710 $47,080
25th percentile $49,320 $54,410
50th percentile $63,740 $65,480
75th percentile $82,160 $86,740
90th percentile $104,330 $104,310

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, PayScale (July 2023), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the forensic science techs reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles for the US:

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $49,163
  • 90th percentile: $61,000

It is important to note that while the wages in Maryland are higher than national wages, so too is the cost of living. For illustration, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2023) reported that MD is the 7th most expensive state in the country. A high cost of living means that even higher than average salaries will not go as far as they would in other states, so prospective forensic science technicians should keep that in mind while evaluating the state’s salary data.

Featured Forensic Science Schools in Maryland

Education is critical to those wanting to work in forensic science. While a degree is not strictly required, it can certainly give those seeking a competitive entry-level position an advantage. Students will find several forensic science colleges in Maryland that offer education in the field, ranging from professional certificates to bachelor’s degrees to graduate-level coursework.

The right program for any individual student will depend on that person’s career goals. Many forensic science technicians begin their careers with an undergraduate degree in the natural sciences, such as chemistry or biology, before pursuing graduate work in forensic science. However, a bachelor of science degree in forensic science is also an option. Students will want to be sure to contact the schools listed below for more details but can use the list as a starting point for more in-depth research.

Towson University

Towson University, located in Towson, Maryland offers two forensic science programs that have earned full accreditation from FEPAC. Undergraduate students can pursue a bachelor of science (BS) degree in forensic chemistry while those who have already completed an undergraduate degree can earn a master of science (MS) in forensic science. Both programs focus on coursework in social science, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and forensic science itself. The BS program will give students a strong foundation in the scientific method while the MS program will go deeper into DNA analysis and molecular biology.

Notably, the major in forensic chemistry is offered in three different tracks providing students with options to prepare for specialized forensic science areas. These include the general forensic science track; trace evidence/drug analysis track; and DNA track. This 121 to 122-credit program includes courses such as organic chemistry; forensic chemistry; professional practices in forensic science; forensic science, emergency medicine, and death analysis; introduction to forensic crime analysis; advanced forensic investigation; and introduction to criminal justice.

The master of science program in forensic science comprises 37 credits and includes two track options in forensic DNA and forensic chemistry. The curriculum of this program includes courses such as forensic science and law; forensic molecular biochemistry; crime scene and impression evidence; forensic serology; forensic microscopy; and forensic toxicology.

  • Location: Towson, MD
  • Accreditation: Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation Commission (FEPAC); Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 to 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Undergraduate (MD resident: $11,306 annually; out-of-state: $28,326 annually); graduate (MD resident: $669 per credit; out-of-state: $1,210 per credit)

Prince George’s Community College

Prince George’s Community College in Largo offers an associate of science (AS) degree in forensic science that incorporates various aspects of the field, including criminal investigation, the law, and physical science. Students can use this associate degree to transfer to other institutions, including the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland Global Campus but should speak to an enrollment counselor first.

Made up of 60 credits, the program includes courses such as an introduction to criminal justice; forensic aspects of death investigation; forensic aspects of drug identification and abuse; fire and arson investigation; forensic psychology; forensic photography; crime scene investigation; and criminal law.

Graduates learn data analysis and investigative techniques coupled with verbal and written communication, and critical-thinking skills that are essential for this constantly evolving forensic science discipline.

  • Location: Largo, MD
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: County residents ($114 per credit); Maryland state residents ($209 per credit); out-of-state residents ($311 per credit)

University of Baltimore

The University of Baltimore offers a bachelor of science program in forensic studies which is delivered and has been developed in partnership with the Baltimore Police Department, bringing students as close to the real world as possible. Students will study forensic theories and practice their applications through coursework, completing an internship with local law enforcement agencies. This learning opportunity provides students with the forensic experience and background they’ll need to become forensic science specialists or criminal investigators.

The program allows students to choose one of two distinct concentrations of study: forensic investigation and forensic science. The forensic investigation concentration focuses on the field’s procedural and legal aspects, while the forensic science concentration focuses on the scientific aspects of the criminal investigation.

The curriculum includes courses such as crime scene investigation; criminal law; mobile forensics; forensic science; microscopy; death investigation; race evidence; and forensic drug analysis.

Graduates of the forensic investigation concentration take up roles such as police officers, federal law enforcement agents, and detectives, while those graduating from the forensic science concentration take up positions such as trace evidence examiners, drug analysts, crime scene technicians, and forensic investigators.

Students at the university can also choose to pursue a 12-credit, four-course certificate in crime scene investigation (CSI). Students in this program do instrumental analysis, microscopy, and crime scene recreation in the Jami R. Grant Forensic Laboratories, built in part with the Baltimore Police Department to train students and act as a backup crime lab for the city.

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($332 per credit); out-of-state ($1,053 per credit)

Loyola University-Maryland

Loyola University’s forensic studies major will help students develop the knowledge and skills needed for multiple career paths in forensics. Providing a strong foundation in the natural sciences through chemistry, physics, and biology courses, the program’s curriculum has a rigorous focus on analytical thinking and biological and chemical concepts.

Students in this major will study courses such as introduction to forensic science; organismal biology; forensic biology; psychopathology; introduction to sociology; introduction to criminal justice; forensic entomology; special topics in forensic biology; introduction to criminalistics; crime scene investigations; introduction to fingerprints; and death investigation.

Loyola University also offers a master of science program in forensic pattern analysis. This unique program emphasizes comparative sciences, especially latent prints. Comprising 41 to 46 credits, this program’s curriculum includes courses such as introduction to criminalistics; introduction to fingerprints; forensic pattern evidence; advanced topics and techniques in fingerprints; pattern evidence recognition & statistical methods; death investigation; forensic science errors & wrongful convictions; and forensic entomology.

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 to 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Undergraduate ($27,740 per semester); graduate ($790 per credit)

Coppin State University

Coppin State University offers several programs related to forensic science, including a bachelor of science program in criminal justice, a master of science in criminal justice, a graduate certificate in investigative sciences, and an undergraduate certificate in forensic investigations.

Students in the BS in criminal justice program must complete 120 credits of coursework to complete the program. The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to criminal justice; criminal justice and the constitution; delinquency prevention; fundamentals of criminal justice research; advanced legal and technical writing, and criminological thought.

The MS program offers several specialization options in correctional counseling; administration; criminal justice planning and research; and crime control and delinquency prevention. This 36-credit program includes courses such as survey in criminal justice administration; advanced criminology; information processing and the criminal justice system; psychiatry and the law; employment problems of the offender; criminal justice management; and case analysis in prevention programs.

The graduate certificate in investigative sciences is ideal for professionals currently employed in the criminal justice system who wish to advance their careers and skills. Encouraging current and prospective police officers, commanders, supervisors, and any other criminal justice professionals to apply, this certificate requires students to complete a minimum of 18 credits. Coursework includes advanced scientific investigations; crime scene investigation; forensic interviewing; and criminal procedures. Credits earned in this program can be applied to the master of science program in criminal justice.

Finally, the undergraduate certificate in forensic investigations is an 18-credit program that includes courses such as forensic science–from the crime scene to the crime lab; criminal investigation; criminal procedures; and advanced investigative techniques.

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Undergraduate (Maryland resident: $205 per credit; non-Maryland resident: $640 per credit); graduate (Maryland resident: $358 per credit; non-Maryland resident: $659 per credit)

Hybrid & Online Forensics

Students may only have time to take some of their courses at a traditional school and may be looking for other options that allow them to continue working or to continue to live far from the nearest campus. Fortunately, some forensic colleges in Maryland are using online learning capabilities to accommodate students who are unable to participate in an on-campus program fully.

Stevenson University

Stevenson University offers a robust selection of online programs in forensics. The school’s online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and digital forensics comprises 120 credits in network security; intrusion and penetration testing; Linux system administration; incident response and investigation; and advanced network defense, among others.

Stevenson also provides a standout online master’s in crime scene investigation, which features courses such as crime scene photography; expert witness prep and practice; pattern analysis; physical evidence and the crime scene; and a seminar in forensic science, among other subjects.

Please note that Stevenson University also offers the following online programs: a bachelor’s in criminal justice, a bachelor’s in computer information systems, a bachelor’s in legal studies, a master’s in forensic studies, a master’s in forensic accounting, a master’s in cybersecurity and digital forensics, a master’s in forensic investigation, and a master’s in forensic science.

It also offers several online graduate certificates in crime scene investigation, digital forensics, forensic accounting, and forensic investigation.

  • Location: Owings Mills, MD
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Masters (18 to 24 months); bachelors (48 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: Graduate ($695 per credit); undergraduate ($450 per credit)

Prince George’s Community College

Prince George’s Community College offers an associate of applied science degree in criminal justice, available online. This AAS degree prepares graduates for direct entry into the workforce and satisfies most requirements for transfer to four-year institutions. Notably, Prince George’s Community College partners with the Prince George’s County Police Department.

This 60-credit program includes courses such as introduction to criminal justice; police operations; introduction to statistics; community policing; criminal law; criminal investigation; criminal evidence and procedure; juvenile delinquency; professional ethics in criminal justice; victimology and violence; and terrorism and biosecurity.

  • Location: Largo, MD
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: County residents ($114 per credit); Maryland state residents ($209 per credit); out-of-state residents ($311 per credit)

University of Maryland Global Campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a master’s degree in digital forensics and cyber investigation preparing students to meet the increasing demand for leadership, executive, and investigative skills in analyzing and mitigating cybercrime. All courses at UMGC are available online, which makes this one of the most flexible options for interested students.

This master’s degree comprises 36 credits and includes courses in cyberspace and cybersecurity foundations; digital forensics technology and practices; digital forensic response and analysis; and advanced forensics. UMGC also offers a standalone online graduate certificate in digital forensics and cyber investigation.

Notably, UMGC also has a 60-credit online associate of arts degree in criminal justice and an online bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice consisting of 120 credits.

  • Location: Adelphi, MD
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Undergraduate (in-state: $312 per credit; out-of-state: $499 per credit); graduate ($694 per credit)


Students looking to complete a forensic science program in Maryland want to ensure that their chosen school has received accreditation. As noted above, only two programs have earned forensic science-specific programmatic accreditation from FEPAC. However, this is not to say that non-accredited forensic science programs are somehow substandard. Rather, FEPAC has accredited only a small number of programs.

To determine whether a program is worth investigating further, prospective applicants can evaluate a program’s institutional accreditation before applying, indicating the school has met a certain standard. In Maryland, the main accrediting agency for institutions of higher learning is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Most accreditation information can be found on a school’s website.

School Name City Forensic
Total Forensics
Grads (2016-2017)
University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) Largo x x 174
University of Baltimore Baltimore x x x 103
Stevenson University Stevenson x x x 32
Towson University Towson x 25
Prince George's Community College Largo x 6

School "total forensics grads" data provided by IPEDS (2018) for the 2016-2017 school year, and includes all certificates and degrees awarded for the following programs: Criminalistics and Criminal Science, Forensic Chemistry, Forensic Science and Technology, Forensic Psychology, Cyber/Computer Forensics, and Financial Forensics and Fraud Investigation.

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Jocelyn Blore is the chief content officer of Sechel Ventures and the co-author of the Women Breaking Barriers series. She graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley and traveled the world for five years. She also worked as an addiction specialist for two years in San Francisco. She’s interested in how culture shapes individuals and systems within societies—one of the many themes she writes about in her blog, Blore’s Razor (Instagram: @bloresrazor). She has served as managing editor for several healthcare websites since 2015.