Forensic Photography Degree Programs
|Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology
|BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
|Concordia University - Saint Paul
|MAHS in Forensic Behavioral Health
|Master of Science in Fraud & Forensics
|MS in Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics
|BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
Forensic photography is an important aspect of forensic science. Holding photographic evidence is part of the recreation process of a crime scene when investigators are unable to be there initially. This is also the best way to showcase evidence in a court of law when unable to otherwise.
Ensuring that the crime scene has been protected requires photography. Any altercations that may occur can be verified with initial photographs. This also provides security measures to protect evidence in criminal activity.
Professionals gain proper skills in documenting evidence through photography in criminal justice programs. They are able to explain why particular documentation is necessary in the investigation process. Other workers may look at photography and documentation to determine if other evidence should be considered.
On a technical level, photography continues to improve criminal investigation. These scenes can be reviewed and analyzed with various methods that can later be magnified and cleared up. This is helpful in situations when investigators cannot review evidence themselves without the help of photography.
It is important to understand the technology behind taking pictures at a crime scene. Lighting, flash, and the type of camera used can significantly change the image used in investigation. Improper captures can tarnish and eliminate certain evidence from a court of law.
Are There Forensic Photography Degrees Online?
As managing evidence from crime scenes is moving toward a digital format, so are higher education studies. Many degrees in the disciplines of criminal justice and digital forensics offers an online component. This may feature some or all courses that can be taken if technological requirements are met.
Programs may offer education in a synchronous or asynchronous format. Frequently, a blend of these options are available with lectures and assignments offered on-demand but due on a weekly basis. In some formats, live lectures must be attended through webconferencing software.
Various applications needed in the program depends on the university and what is compatible with the learning management system. Frequently, a Windows or Mac operating system is needed to complete all coursework and achieve maximum compatibility. There may be some opportunities to access course materials through mobile apps on Android and iOS systems.
|MS in Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics
|BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
|AS in Criminal Justice Administration
|Virgina Wesleyan University
|Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
|BS in Criminal Justice - Cyber Criminology and Policy
|Concordia University - Saint Paul
|BA in Criminal Justice
|BS in Criminal Justice - General
|BS in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
|BS in Criminal Justice - Legal Issues in Criminal Justice
Top Online Programs for Forensic Photography
The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is an online program with foundational content and field study requirements. 120 total credit hours are needed to receive the degree. There is an optional concentration in Intelligence and Security Management.
Students must complete 30 credit hours of general education prior to taking any coursework in criminal justice. Foundational topics consist of social science research, ethics in criminal justice, and elementary statistics. 18 total credit hours are needed in the concentration or various electives.
Pursuing the concentration offers education in sharing intelligence, mitigating risk, and developing policy in national security. This is geared toward individuals looking to protect public information and deter threats and terrorism on homeland security. Jobs may be considered within the US military, state law enforcement, or the federal government.
All coursework is available 100 percent online to give students maximum flexibility in their studies. An optional residency enriches the student’s experience in the program. Attending this residency gives students the ability to work with faculty members and professionals directly on campus.
University of Maryland
The Global Campus offers a Master’s degree in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation. 36 total credit hours are needed in this Master’s degree with all courses available online. Up to six credit hours can be transferred into the program.
Some of the coursework features skills in developing and analyzing digital media for evidence at a crime scene. This evidence must hold up in a court of law. Professionals may need to present this photographic information themselves with proper documentation.
At least a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher is needed to complete the program. Students may consider examination certification, including the EC-Council Certified Incident Handler and EnCase Certified Examiner designations. The curriculum provides proper education to sit for this examination.
There is an emphasis in cyber security procedures and technology that goes along with response procedures. The capstone project specifically focuses on cyber security topics. The graduate showcases what has been learned in technological architecture and crisis management.
At the undergraduate level, there is a Bachelor’s degree in Investigative Forensics. Required courses feature topics in digital media, fingerprint, and firearms analysis at the crime scene. This can be truncated into a minor and added to a different degree if desired.
Sam Houston State University
The Master of Science in Digital Forensics is available on-campus or conveniently online. This program focuses on establishing a secure information system that is used in an organization. This is applicable to law enforcement and investigation agencies.
Six courses are part of the main program that student completes. These topics cover network security and forensic activity with file systems and documentation. An additional six courses are needed in high-level computer forensics and computer science courses and count as electives.
36 total credit hours are needed to complete this program. Admission takes place in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. It is recommended that students have a background in computer science and/or criminal justice before entering this graduate program.
Students must be enrolled at the school in the same semester they take a comprehensive exam. If they receive a B grade or lower in the course, they will need to complete a written comprehensive exam. In some cases, an oral examination is needed in addition to the written format.
The College of Letters and Sciences offers a Master of Forensic Sciences. Two concentrations are available in Criminalistics and Investigation. This program is available completely online or at the San Diego campus in California.
Some of the program features principles and legal problems that may occur when working with forensic photography or submitting this documentation to the courtroom. Other features include technical collection and how to preserve digital evidence, and having a strong understanding of human anatomy and psychological issues in criminology.
Forensic Photography is a course by itself within the core curriculum. For this course, students need their own photographic equipment that meet the standards of the school. Some requirements include flash attachments and manual setting capability to reproduce accurate images.
A total of eight courses are needed in core portion of the curriculum, which culminates with a supervised research project. Either specialization requires four courses to complete this requirement. It is recommended that students complete the Topics in Forensic Sciences course to look at latest innovations and issues in the field.
Undergraduate Programs in Forensic Photography
Multiple undergraduate disciplines may be considered when blending photography with forensic science. There are professional certifications that specialize in specific forensic procedure. Certification may be available through an association or community college and does not require the completion of general education.
For the most part, crime scene investigators require at least a Bachelor’s degree. Photography-based positions may consider disciplines in Photography, Crime Scene Investigation, Digital Forensics, or Criminal Justice. Students may consider a dual-degree for expertise in multiple areas or adding the right electives to blend these skills for an entry-level position.
Majors can often be supplemented with a minor combine forensic photography skills. Availability of these courses will differ depending on the university. Professional certifications are also helpful in this manner to enhance the main focus of the Bachelor’s degree.
120 credit hours is the average requirement for a Bachelor’s degree. These are often taken in full-time enrollment over a four-year time span. Some universities may have flexibility in enrollment. Having an associate degree in a particular subject can eliminate needs in general education and foundational topics.
Central Piedmont Community College
Students may complete the Digital Forensics certification through the American Academy of Applied Forensics (AAAF). This is professional certification that requires a set of core courses, specialized electives, and on the field training.
A general overview is offered in computer forensics at various experience levels. Students of the certification become proficient in showcasing digital evidence for a trial. Specialization in mobile device forensics is also required, satisfying the ongoing transition with more people using smartphones.
Three courses are needed in the elective options available. Most of these courses specialize in how to identify and retrieve digital evidence from various systems. This also features evidence retrieval from new smart technology in vehicles and mobile applications.
All coursework must be completed within a time span of 10 years. At least 224 hours are needed in direct forensic training. Some courses are available online, most being as elective options, and only available in certain semesters.
The Department of Fine Arts offers a Bachelor of Arts in Biomedical and Forensic Photography. This unique program blends topics in photography methods and criminal justice to accurately document crime scene investigations. A practicum and internship is required.
51 credit hours represent the core content of the program. These courses focus on evolution of digital imagery, and basic and advanced skills in photography. All photography education is then applied in a real-world setting in forensics.
Six credit hours are reserved for electives that feature more specialized photography topics. This may include coloring methods, unique file formats, and printing. Courses from different schools taken alongside the curriculum include human anatomy and criminology.
Students gain familiarity with working on Mac operating system equipment and Adobe software. Other resources include photography darkrooms to properly print and document images. Many class sizes within the major remain small for an intensive and closer education experience.
Graduate Programs in Forensic Photography
Plenty of opportunity is available for those with an undergraduate degree, but opportunities expand with further education. At the graduate level, education is more limited with an emphasis in Digital Forensics and Criminal Justice. In addition to skills earned in crime scene investigation, these advanced courses look at securing evidence and proper distribution of this evidence in a court setting.
While there are no direct disciplines in forensic photography, having these abilities can improve job opportunities and accelerate average pay. Not only do professionals have the ability to recreate optimal imagery from a crime scene, but they are able to preserve these images without corruption. This is also valuable for those that have an undergraduate degree in a completely different field.
One to two years is the average dedication to Master’s degree studies. These competitive programs often require a strong GPA and an undergraduate degree from an accredited university. Other typical admission requirements include letters of recommendation and personal statement detailing career goals and current accomplishments.
The online Master’s degree in Crime Scene Investigation emphasizes the analysis and preservation of evidence in a criminal case. Courses focus on the importance of ethics and legal issues when working cases and how to work with investigators to validate evidence. Student resources include working with the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division and Baltimore County Crime Lab.
Example course topics include an overview of forensic science, investigation methods, and analyzing physical and digital evidence. Students have the ability to transfer up to six credit hours into this Master’s degree. Many partnerships with other institutions provide easy transitioning and reduced educational cost.
In order to be accepted into the program, applicants submit official transcripts that show the completion of a Bachelor’s degree. This must include a 3.0 cumulative GPA and the degree must be earned from an accredited university. GRE scores are not required in the admission process.
In addition to transfer discounts, no fees are needed when submitting the application. Graduates have gone on to become crime scene photographers, evidence collectors, and ballistics experts. There is an alternative Master’s degree with a discipline in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics.
Top Courses in Forensic Photography
Typically an introductory course that looks at recreating photographs into usable computer images. Demonstrates what computer software can accomplish with manipulating these images and storing them in different file types. For forensics, these courses may detail how to improve images taken at a crime scene and how to avoid corruption in the preservation and transportation process.
Especially in crime scene investigation, it is important to get proper photography that is later analyzed. Lighting can significantly alter quality of an image and what is visible in examination. These courses explore technique and what type of camera lenses to use in specific settings.
Gives students a photo-capturing skill set to tell stories with the pictures they take. These images should bring to life what is explained in a journal entry or magazine/newspaper article. Holding these skills are valuable in criminal justice by recreating the crime scene and getting all evidence possible.
Digital Forensics Technology
General overview of tools used in forensic examinations within digital media. This includes photographic evidence and other key items to analyze and provide documentation toward cases. May also feature skills in avoiding corruption when transferring information and ways to validate evidence retrieved from the field.
Specific course that explores image and video processing in digital formats. Often looks at different file formats and the positives and negatives of using each. For example, some image processing formats may condense image quality to the point where it is unusable in a court of law or validating evidence.
Hardware and Software Security
Having digital evidence requires strong security measures in place to protect information systems. Looking at both hardware and software mitigates potential risk from hacks and file corruption. These courses often focus on what different levels of security are available, encryption methods, and evaluating any vulnerabilities.
Cyber Security Topics
Additional security is also needed within networks that transmit this data, which is often referred to as cyber security. These courses vary in title and topics. In Digital Forensics disciplines, they often provide an overview for security procedure and how to properly design the architecture.
Courtroom Procedure for Digital Evidence
Details the process in how to transfer and present evidence in a court of law. Documentation must showcase why the digital evidence is accurate and how it is involved with the criminal activity. Explores many challenges involved when preparing digital evidence and examines prior court cases with these properties.
What Can You Do With a Forensic Photography Degree?
There are many career options available when combining skills in photography and forensic science. Categorized as a forensic science technician, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average professional makes a salary of $59,150. This is the median annual wage across the United States as of May 2019.
An overall duty for forensic science technicians include taking photographs of the crime scene for documentation. They work with investigators to identify specific evidence that may need to be analyzed further. In many cases, they are responsible for reproducing these images for investigators and in a court of law when necessary.
Another form of recreating crime scenes is through the duties of a forensic sketch artist. When photography is not available to recreate the crime scene, sketch artists listen to details and attempt to recreate the images through their drawing. This is valuable when opening prior cases to review or identifying potential suspects.
Crime scene security ensures that digital evidence is maintained without corruption or alteration. Any impact or change that is made with digital evidence can damage criminal investigation and keep the process from moving forward. It may also keep it from being admissible in a court of law.
Forensic sketch artists fall under the broad category of forensic science technician and make similar salary estimates. When gaining higher education and specializing in security, this salary tends to rise in many locations. Overall, salary will vary greatly based on professional experience, location, and industry the individual chooses to pursue.
All Schools with Forensic Science Programs
- Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts
Central Piedmont Community College
- Bachelor of Science in Digital Evidence