As well as preparing forensic science students for specialist forensic modules in Stages 2 and 3, the module is designed to be accessible to Social Sciences and Humanities students with an intelligent interest in science. For these students, no physical/natural science qualifications at A-level are necessary, but a C-grade or above in GCSE double science or equivalent is desirable.
OverviewForensic Science; Evidence and the Scene of the Crime
What is forensic science? Historical and legal background of forensic science – exchange principles and linkage theory. Forensic science in the U.K – inductive and deductive reasoning. Identification, characterisation, recovery and weighting of trace evidence types. Crime scene searching methodologies; the integrity and continuity of evidence. Introduction to laboratory testing dealing with glass, tool-mark, shoe-mark and tyre impressions. The management of scientific support at crime scenes. Procedures at crime scenes illustrated by reference to crimes of burglary, murder and sexual offences. Fingerprint history, classification, recovery and chemical enhancement of fingerprints. Blood pattern analysis supporting the advances in DNA techniques. Firearms classification, internal & external ballistics, trajectory, mass and velocity. Firearms injuries at crime scenes. Introduction to DNA analysis and the functioning of the National DNA Database. Sexual offence investigation and body fluid identification. Clinical indicators of death and murder scene investigation.
Drug Abuse, Alcohol and Forensic Toxicology
Drugs of abuse and their identification. Drugs, alcohol poisons and their metabolism. Toxicology and the role of the forensic toxicologist. Qualitative and quantitative laboratory analysis.
Signature and handwriting identification. Paper, inks and printed documents. Damage characterisation.
Fires and Explosions:
Arson. Fire and combustion. Types of explosives and the nature of explosions. The crime scene investigation: sampling and laboratory analysis.
This module appears in:
- Humanities Undergraduate Stage 1
- Short-Term Study
- Physical Sciences Foundation & Stage 1
- Social Sciences Undergraduate Stage 1
- STMS Undergraduate Stage 1
- Wild Modules
28 hours of lectures.
This is available as a wild module.
Method of assessment
Examination (Length 2 hours) 75%; Coursework 25% including on-line assignments.
Crime Scene to Court, the Essentials of Forensic Science, 3rd edition, ed. P. White. Royal Society of Chemistry, 2010. ISBN:1847558828.
Knowledge and understanding of core and foundation scientific physical, biological, and chemical concepts, terminology, theory, units, conventions, and laboratory methods in relation to forensic science.
Numeracy (including data analysis and statistics), forensic investigation and interpretation (including image analysis, forensic archaeology, ballistics, interrogation, and the extraction, analysis, interpretation of physical evidence) and apply them to forensic examination and analysis.