Advanced Topics in Forensic Science - PS712

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
7 15 (7.5) MR R Green


Successful completion of Stage 2 Forensic Science or Forensic Chemistry degree or equivalent.





This module will include the principles of application, quality and legal aspects of analysis and identification using several evidence types – entwined with case examples of major crimes. The module is intended to cover the most up to date topics within forensic science and will be supported with a wide range of contemporary case studies. The module will include the following subject areas:

• Case Assessment & Interpretation
• A selection of contemporary case studies demonstrating the application of forensic science
• Quality standards in forensic science
• Ethics in forensic science


This module appears in:

Contact hours

24 lectures.


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

20% coursework; 80% exam.

The coursework associated with this module requires students to produce a critical analysis of 3,000 words. The topics will be drawn from contemporary issues affecting the delivery of forensic science.

Indicative reading

Publications from the learned literature including journal articles from Science & Justice and Forensic Science International.

  • Forensic science (Jackson and Jackson) ISBN 978-013-199880-3
  • Ethics in forensic science (Swienton et al) ISBN 0–12–385019–3
  • Ethics and the practice of forensic science (Bowen) ISBN 978-14-20088-939
  • Misleading DNA evidence (Peter Gill) ISBN 978–0–12–417214–2
  • Forensic science and the law (Anna SandIford) ISBN 978–0–86472–841–8

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

  • Learning outcomes

    Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Have a detailed comprehension of the role of evaluative and interpretive opinion in forensic science.
  • Appreciate the value of the statistical approach to the testimony whilst understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the qualitative and quantitative approaches to expressing opinion.
  • Understand the importance of key cases in shaping the weight of opinion and how cases are evaluated in modern-day forensic testimony.
  • Understand the role of quality in forensic science. They will distinguish the different quality standards associated with the forensic process, as well as recognise the value of competency testing, proficiency trials and continuing professional development.
  • Gain knowledge of the codes of ethical conduct applicable to forensic scientists and identify ethical challenges using a review of contemporary cases.
  • Be able to critically analyse a range of contemporary and advanced topics associated with forensic science.
  • Communication skills, covering both written and oral communication.
  • Information-retrieval skills, in relation to primary and secondary information sources, including information retrieval through on-line computer searches.

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