Online course in Science, Engineering & Maths

Introduction to Forensic Science

Explore the methods underpinning forensic science, from crime scene investigation to reporting evidential value within a case.

  • Duration 6 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $69 Find out more

Why join the course?

The course addresses four major evidence types: drugs of abuse, DNA, firearms and impression evidence, and discusses these through the exploration of a case-based scenario presented across a six-week modular framework.

A murder case set on the murky shores of Loch Lomond provides the backbone to the course. As the case unfolds each week, a number of evidence types, and the forensic science approaches that may be used to evaluate the evidence, are explored. All will be revealed in the final week, so make sure you are there to find out the identity of the murderer!

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What topics will you cover?

  • Explore the methods underpinning forensic science, from crime scene investigation to reporting evidential value within a case
  • Examine the four major evidence types: drugs of abuse, DNA, firearms and impression evidence
  • Learn how the initial crime scene is processed
  • Review various types of evidence including drugs of abuse, fingerprints, DNA, footwear marks and firearms
  • Formulate (and defend!) opinions on the case, based on your evaluation of the evidence

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now
    This course started 30 Sep 2019

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe the fundamental principles applied to any investigation where forensic science is involved.
  • Summarise the basic principles of crime scene investigation.
  • Explain the theory of fingerprints, blood pattern analysis, DNA, footwear and tool mark impression evidence, and drugs of abuse in the context of Forensic Science.
  • Explore the nature and limitations of the evidence that scientific tests deliver.
  • Interpret the evidence presented as part of a case study by considering the subjective and objective nature of the evidence and what this may mean to the strength of your conclusions.
  • Reflect on the use of forensic science in the criminal justice system.

Who is the course for?

No special knowledge or previous experience of studying is required. Warning: Some of content presented in this course may be distressing to individuals, particularly younger learners. Notwithstanding, the material is representative of that encountered by forensic scientists and we have presented it in an objective and professional manner.

Who will you learn with?

Laura Reaney

Laura Reaney

Forensic science practitioner with over 10 years experience.

Expertise in DNA analysis, forensic biology, gunshot residue analysis and major crime examination.

Teaching Associate, Uni of Strathclyde

Who developed the course?

The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university located in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, committed to useful learning.

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