Careers for a Forensic Science Degree
The Forensic Science Program at Penn State strives to be an international leader in forensic science education, and produce graduates who will become future leaders in the field. We offer a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes a strong science foundation, ensuring our students will be well prepared for careers in forensic science, criminalistics, and other science-based professions.
If you are a current student looking for job-searching and career resources, check out our Job and Career Resources page.
Career Opportunities with a Forensic Science Degree
After graduation, our students can find work as criminalists in the crime lab, crime scene investigators, and general scientists in labs of all kinds. They can also go on to earn advanced degrees in forensics or another scientific field, or attend a professional school to prepare for a career as a doctor or lawyer. Potential career field include:
- Criminalistics/Investigative Science
- Controlled substances
- Fire Debris/Explosives
- Trace Evidence
- Crime Scene Investigation and Reconstruction
- Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
- Medicine/Medical Examiner/Pathology
- Criminology/Criminal Justice/Law/Legal Studies
- Law Enforcement
*Note that careers in forensic science often require a lengthy background check during the hiring process. The background check investigation can be intensive and dive deeply into your criminal, financial, and personal history. Some may include a polygraph, depending on the policy of the hiring agency. Failure to successfully complete the background check or polygraph may cause you to be ineligible for employment in the forensic field or prevent you from being eligible for certain types of jobs.
What Careers Do Our Students Choose After Graduation?
Master of Forensic Science Students
Since 2007, our Master of Professional Studies in Forensic Science program has graduated 103 students, 68% of whom have gone on to careers in crime labs and non-forensic science labs around the world. 17% of our graduates have gone on to obtain additional degrees or now work in higher education. 1% have gone on to work in law enforcement or crime scene investigation. 1% have chosen work in another field, including law, medicine, secondary education, and non-forensic areas of criminal justice. 21% did not know what their post-graduation job would be at the time of the survey.
Bachelor of Forensic Science Students
Since 2007, our Bachelor of Science program has graduated 418 students, 45% of whom have gone on to careers in crime labs and non-forensic science labs around the world. 17% of our graduates have gone on to obtain additional degrees or now work in higher education. 3% have gone on to work in law enforcement or crime scene investigation. 6% have chosen work in another field, including law, medicine, secondary education, and non-forensic areas of criminal justice. 37% of students did not know what their post-graduation job would be at the time of the survey.
Investigate the Possibilities
Our students find employment in both the public and private sectors. Our graduates become forensic scientists, criminalists, lab technicians, research scientists, CSIs, law enforcement personnel, and more. Those who choose to continue their education are accepted into Masters and PhD programs at prestigious universities around the world.