Top university programs in homicide investigation cover a wide range of forensic topics or focus on a specialized area. University programs in homicide investigation include topics such as firearms, trace and blood splatter analysis, psychology, sociology, jurisprudence and the provision of expert testimony, including training in on-site evidence collection. Because homicide investigation includes a wide range of disciplines, the best programs are at accredited, top-ranked universities for cutting-edge research, faculty publications and academic rigor.
Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University at University Park provides an undergraduate program in forensic science with topics in forensic chemistry, anthropology and biology as it prepares students to analyze evidence in the laboratory, conduct investigations and in the provision of scientific evidence. A master's degree program uses innovative curriculum for an on-site experience with specialized training in criminalistics, forensic biology and chemistry plus the ability to take additional courses in anthropology, criminal justice, entomology, geology and meteorology, with concentrations in forensic chemistry or forensic biology. Students also have direct exposure to courtroom proceedings and interaction with forensic experts, criminal lawyers, defense attorneys and police investigators.
University of California at Davis
The University of California at Davis provides a master's degree in forensic science that includes a thesis or a more limited capstone project in a 54-unit program. Students select a DNA or criminalistics major with course work, such as microscopy and microanalytical methods, advanced spectroscopy methods, homicide crime scene investigation, DNA analysis and structure and properties of fibers. Students and faculty are actively involved in forensic research.
Boston University, School of Medicine offers a master's in forensic anthropology that focuses on medicolegal death investigations. Students build knowledge and skills in forensic anthropology, such as osteology and field methods, in a lecture- and laboratory-based curriculum. Students complete a graduate level research project with a full-length thesis. Numerous opportunities for research include the program's outdoor research facility, collaboration with the radiology department, skeletal collections and the anatomical sciences laboratory. Past thesis projects included such topics as “Distinguishing Homicidal and Suicidal Gunshot Trauma Based on Patterns of Skeletal Trauma.”
Michigan State University
Michigan State University of East Lansing has a master's degree program in forensic science, where students select from one of three tracks: forensic chemistry, forensic biology or forensic anthropology. The extensive course work includes such classes as forensic serology, DNA profiling, osteology and forensic anthropology and molecular biology. Students complete a research thesis in a 38-credit program designed to provide a broad background in theory and practice while allowing them the opportunity to study one of the tracks in depth.
George Washington University
George Washington University of Washington, D.C., offers a master's degree program in crime scene investigation designed for detectives, special agents and medicolegal death investigators and crime scene technicians. Course work includes photography in forensic sciences, forensic pathology, firearms and toolmark identification, trace evidence analysis and forensic psychiatry. In addition, the university offers master's programs in forensic chemistry, molecular biology and toxicology, plus a graduate certificate program that includes much of the master's program, such as homicide investigation, but has fewer credit requirements.
- United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Police and Detectives
- Times Higher Education World University Rankings: World University Rankings 2013-2014
- Ranking Web of Universities: World, 2013
- Pennsylvania State University at University Park: The Eberley College of Science, Forensic Science, Program Overview
- University of California at Davis: Forensic Science Graduate Program
John Huddle is an Army veteran with enlisted service as general hospital staff and hospital chaplain's assistant. His career also included stints as a teacher, adjunct faculty, administrator and school psychologist. Twice, Dr. Huddle was a major party nominee for state office. He also served as a director on several nonprofit boards. Today he enjoys consulting and lobbying for underdog causes.