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Online course

Identifying the Dead: Forensic Science and Human Identification

Uncover a grave, examine remains and reveal the victim’s identity in this free online course, linked to a new Val McDermid story.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Identifying the Dead: Forensic Science and Human Identification

Why join the course?

The first step in any investigation involving a death is to determine the identity of the deceased. This free online course will take you on a journey through the world of forensic anthropology, unveiling the tools that will allow you to reveal that identity.

Join forensic experts to identify the dead

In the shadow of Dundee’s Law Hill, a grim discovery demands the attention of forensic experts. Unidentified human remains have been found and the police need to identify the victim to move forward with their investigation.

After a meticulous recovery of the remains, it will be your job to:

  • document and attempt to explain any evidence of trauma;
  • identify the victim through biological profiling;
  • and undertake a facial reconstruction.

Experts from the University of Dundee’s award-winning Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHId) will guide you through the process of human identification.

They will introduce you to the fields of human identification; forensic anthropology and archaeology; craniofacial identification; and the study of the human body.

Evaluate evidence as the case unfolds

Week-by-week, the case will unfold, providing you with more information about the victim. You will be presented with theoretical material and hands-on learning opportunities, to evaluate the case information and use what you have learned, to piece together clues to the victim’s identity.

You will be able to discuss, with educators and others learners, your thoughts on the identity of the deceased, based on your evaluation of the evidence.

Get your own copy of the murder mystery

After you submit your evaluation of the victim’s identity, all will be revealed at the end of the final week. You can continue your journey into the life and death of our victim in your very own ebook copy of a specially-written murder mystery by international best-selling crime novelist Val McDermid.

Can you use the skills that you will learn on this course to identify the dead?

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

After a meticulous recovery of the remains, it was the learner’s job to:

  • document and attempt to explain any evidence of trauma;
  • identify the victim through biological profiling;
  • and undertake a facial reconstruction.

Experts from the University of Dundee’s award-winning Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHId) guided learners through the process of human identification.

They introduced the fields of human identification; forensic anthropology and archaeology; craniofacial identification; and the study of the human body.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Explore the principles of human identification
  • Explore location, excavation and examination of a clandestine burial
  • Apply new knowledge to trauma analysis of a recovered body
  • Contribute to the biological identification of a recovered body
  • Produce a forensic facial reconstruction with the help of expert practitioners
  • Debate the three primary identifiers
  • Summarise the events and processes from crime scene to courtroom

Who is the course for?

No special knowledge or previous experience of studying is required.

Warning:

Although this course involves the investigation of the death of a fictional character, some of the content may be distressing to individuals, particularly younger learners. However, this material is representative of that encountered by forensic experts.

Who will you learn with?

Helen Meadows

Former Post-Doctoral Researcher at The University of Dundee's Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification. Online Learning Design & Content Developer for The University of Dundee

Who developed the course?

The University of Dundee is one of the world’s Top 200 universities and was named Scottish University of the Year for both 2016 and 2017. Dundee offers one of the UK’s best student experiences.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £59.00

Statement of Participation £34.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.