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What is Forensic Science?

Pursuing an online or on-campus forensic science degree in Oklahoma can open doors to a wide variety of careers in the justice system including roles like laboratory analysts, crime scene investigators, and specialists in digital forensics. Oklahoma's educational institutions have structured their forensic science programs to cater to the diverse interests and professional goals of their students. Universities in Oklahoma offer a range of courses and undergraduate degrees with specialties in fields like forensic chemistry, molecular biology, and digital forensics.

Understanding the program you choose is critical, as each has a unique focus and structure. Whether you're looking to launch a career right after graduation or seeking to combine forensic science with a related discipline such as criminal justice, Oklahoma's universities stand ready to provide comprehensive online education. Moreover, the opportunity to pursue certain aspects of forensic science education online adds flexibility to your learning journey, which can be beneficial if you need to balance studies with personal responsibilities or professional experience.

Overview of Forensic Science Programs in Oklahoma

Oklahoma provides varied educational pathways for you if you're aspiring to enter the forensic science field. From undergraduate to doctoral degrees, the offerings are structured to equip you with practical skills and in-depth theoretical knowledge.

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Advances in Forensic Science

Institutions in Oklahoma offer a comprehensive suite of programs that keep pace with technological and methodological advancements in forensic science. If you opt for a Master of Science in Forensic Sciences, you may have the advantage of pursuing thesis tracks that require a minimum of 30 credit hours. A thesis track emphasizes both practical application and scholarly research, preparing you for roles in crime laboratories, investigative agencies, or for academic positions in the discipline.

At the bachelor’s level, a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Sciences prepares you for entry into the profession. Undergraduate curriculum often integrates core forensic principles with hands-on laboratory experiences, laying a solid foundation whether you're aiming for immediate employment or proceeding to graduate studies.

For specialized postgraduate education, a Doctor of Forensic Sciences degree is a non-research, professional doctorate. It's structured for practitioners desiring advanced applied education and requires 60 credit hours. These programs respond to societal needs by providing in-depth training in various forensic disciplines.

The coursework is rigorous and diverse, with offerings that ensure you're informed about criminal behavioral analysis, forensic management, and organizational development. Core courses are designed not just to teach current best practices but to adapt to the evolution of forensic science theories and technologies, making you ready to handle the challenges of contemporary forensic work.

Choosing the right online forensic science degree requires understanding the unique features and benefits of the digital learning environment.

Comparing Online and On-campus Platforms

When exploring an online forensic science program, you should assess the level of flexibility it provides. These programs allow you to complete coursework at a pace that suits your personal and professional commitments, which is a distinct advantage over traditional, on-campus programs.

A forensic science degree offered online may also have various tracks such as those in arson, explosives, firearms and tool mark investigations (AEFTI) and those in general forensic investigative sciences (FIS). Unlike on-campus experiences, online platforms ensure that you can access the same diverse coursework and specialized training remotely.

In online settings, you'll engage with digital resources at your convenience, a feature especially beneficial for forensic science practitioners looking to advance their careers without disrupting their current work. Online programs can provide an interactive learning environment without the need to physically attend laboratories or lectures, though this may vary depending on the specific program and field of study within forensic science.

Additionally, these program's structures are designed to cater to both resident and non-resident students, with tuition waivers available to non-resident students to bring their costs closer to those of resident students. This can make the pursuit of a forensic science degree online more financially accessible compared to on-campus equivalents.

Online Educational Pathways for a Forensic Science Degree in Oklahoma

Oklahoma offers a range of forensic science educational programs that cater to the varied needs of aspiring professionals. Starting from associate degrees to doctorates, each level ensures a comprehensive understanding of forensic science.

Online Associate Degree in Forensic Science (AS)

If you're starting your academic journey, an associate degree in forensic science can be your first steppingstone into the field. These degrees equip you with foundational knowledge suitable for entry-level positions. Generally, it takes two years to complete. While specific online offerings in Oklahoma may vary, associate programs typically cover basic forensic techniques and legal aspects.

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Online Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Science (BS)

Aiming higher, a bachelor’s degree in forensic science provides a more thorough education. Courses tend to include advanced sciences, criminalistics, and specialized electives. You can expect a bachelor's to take approximately four years to complete. These degrees meet many of the academic requirements for professional roles in the field and you may need to have a bachelor’s, rather than an associate degree, for some roles.

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Online Master’s Degree in Forensic Science (MS)

For advanced practice and specialization, a master’s degree in forensic science is your next step. There are a variety of colleges and universities that offer traditional and online master's with various tracks in forensic science — ideal if you're seeking to focus on specialty areas like toxicology, DNA, or forensic psychology. Typically requiring 30+ credit hours, these programs are perfect for advancing your career or moving into leadership roles.

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Online PhD in Forensic Science (PhD)

Attaining the pinnacle of academic achievement, a PhD in forensic science, distinguishes you as an expert. Some universities in Oklahoma offer Doctor of Forensic Sciences Degrees that are applied, professional, and tailored for those not seeking a research path. These programs often require around 60 credit hours and are designed to heighten your professional stature within the forensic science community.

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Online Forensic Science Certifications

Online forensic science certifications allow you to showcase expertise in specific forensic domains. They're beneficial for career enhancement and staying current with evolving field practices. In Oklahoma, certification options are often available from colleges and universities or online, and they may be tailored to your chosen specialty, whether it's forensic psychology or arson investigation.

Funding Your Education

Paying for a forensic science degree can be manageable with the right financial strategies. Investigate the various avenues available for financial assistance that can help mitigate the cost of your education.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

When enrolling in a forensic science program, your primary option for funding your education is through financial aid. To start, you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. Grants and loans provided on a federal level can significantly offset your educational expenses. Federal loans must be paid back with interest over time, while grants are typically need-based and do not require repayment.

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Scholarships are another form of financial support that can reduce the cost burden of your forensic science education. Scholarships are offered by universities, private organizations, and public entities and do not require repayment. To enhance your chances of receiving a scholarship, focus on maintaining a strong academic record and participate actively in relevant extracurricular activities.

Institutional Scholarships: Colleges and universities may offer scholarships specific to their students, no matter your major. Review the program's website or contact the financial aid office for eligibility criteria and application deadlines.

External Scholarships: Look for scholarships from professional organizations related to forensic science or from companies and foundations that support students in scientific fields.

Research Assistantships: Although more common at the on-campus level, some online programs may offer assistantships to offset costs; you can inquire about these opportunities with the department.

Remember, deadlines can be strict for many of these financial options. Therefore, you should begin your search for aid and scholarships well in advance of starting your program. By exploring all available financial resources, you can make your goal of achieving a forensic science degree more financially sustainable.

Accreditation and Licensing

In the field of forensic science, accreditation is a critical factor that assures the quality and recognition of your degree. Your choice of an accredited forensic science program can lay the foundation for robust education and future career opportunities.

Accrediting Bodies and Entities

When exploring forensic science degrees, ensure the program is accredited by a reputable organization. The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) is a key accrediting body responsible for evaluating the standards of forensic science education. A FEPAC accreditation signifies that a program meets rigorous quality benchmarks set for forensic science education.

In Oklahoma, particularly when considering a master's program, review if the courses align with the accreditation requirements. Accreditation by entities such as FEPAC carries weight and can impact the validity of your degree when seeking employment or professional licensing.

Your search for a forensically focused education should not only emphasize the major's content but also its credentialing. Accreditation status ensures the online program you embark on meets industry standards and is recognized by employers and professional societies in the forensic science arena. Your diligence in selecting an accredited online program will also assure that your degree is respected should you pursue state or national licensure.

Potential Career Options and Salaries for Forensic Science Graduates

Graduating with a degree in forensic science opens doors to a range of careers in the criminal justice system. You can expect to find positions that involve collecting and analyzing physical evidence, teaching future experts, or even investigating crimes directly. Here are just a few of the roles you might have access to during the course of your education and professional career.

Occupational Health and Safety Technician:

Job Description: A role as an occupational health and safety technician will allow you to work to ensure that workplaces conform to health and safety regulations, possibly working with law enforcement agencies if requirements are not met. This job involves examining workplaces for adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment.


  • High School Diploma or the equivalent and on-the-job training – associate degree or higher may be preferred for senior roles, Growth Potential 13% (Much faster than average)
  • Collect data on work environments for analysis by occupational health and safety specialists
  • Test workplaces for environmental hazards, such as exposure to radiation, chemical or biological hazards, or excessive noise.
  • Prepare or calibrate equipment used to collect or analyze samples
  • Maintain all required environmental records and documentation

Median Salary: $64,250

Detective and Criminal Investigator:

Job Description: When you work as a detective or criminal investigator, you take on the responsibility of solving crimes by gathering facts and collecting evidence. Armed with your forensic science background, you’ll be better equipped to understand the evidence collected and tested by the forensics team. However, you’ll need work experience in law enforcement to earn access to these roles.


  • Bachelor’s degree, Less than five years of experience
  • Conduct investigations related to suspected violations of federal, state, or local laws to prevent or solve crimes
  • Check victims for signs of life, such as breathing and pulse
  • Obtain facts or statements from complainants, witnesses, and accused persons and record interviews, using recording device
  • Secure deceased body and obtain evidence from it, preventing bystanders from tampering with it prior to medical examiner's arrival

Median Salary: $95,930

Forensic Science Technician:

Job Description: As a forensic science technician, your expertise is crucial for analyzing evidence that may play a pivotal role in criminal investigations. This role can see you working in the lab or visiting crime scenes to collect evidence.


  • Bachelor's degree, Growth Potential 13% (Much faster than average)
  • Collect, identify, classify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations
  • Analyze crime scenes to determine what evidence should be collected and how
  • Take photographs of the crime scene and evidence
  • Make sketches of the crime scene

Median Salary: $71,540

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Postsecondary Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teacher:

Job Description: Your knowledge could also pave the way for you to educate future criminal justice professionals as a postsecondary teacher in criminal justice or law enforcement. In this role, you would be sharing your expertise and real-world experiences with students pursuing degrees in criminal justice or related fields.


  • PhD
  • Teach courses in criminal justice, corrections, and law enforcement administration
  • Develop an instructional plan (known as a course outline or syllabus) for the course(s) they teach and ensure that it meets college and department standards
  • Plan lessons and assignments
  • Assess students’ progress by grading assignments, papers, exams, and other work

Median Salary: $83,470

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for obtaining a forensic science degree in Oklahoma?

To obtain an undergraduate forensic science degree in Oklahoma, you need to fulfill the prerequisites set by the educational institution you choose to attend. Typically, this includes completing a high school diploma or equivalent, submitting standard test scores (such as the SAT or ACT), and maintaining a satisfactory GPA in any prerequisite college-level coursework. Specific forensic science programs may have additional requirements such as coursework in biology, chemistry, or criminal justice.

Are there institutions that offer accredited forensic science degrees in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, several institutions offer accredited forensic science degrees. These institutions offer undergraduate and graduate programs in various forensic disciplines, including natural science options such as biology and chemistry. Accredited universities ensure that the education you receive meets industry standards and prepares you adequately for a professional career in forensic science.

Do I need to obtain certifications for a career in forensic science?

While a degree provides a strong foundation in forensic science, obtaining additional certifications can enhance your expertise and may be required for more specialized roles. Certifications, such as those from the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) or the International Association for Identification (IAI), can be often obtained online and demonstrate proficiency in specific areas of forensic science, ultimately bolstering your qualifications and career prospects.

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