• University of Strathclyde

Introduction to Forensic Science

Learn forensic science online, from crime scene investigation to reporting evidential value within a case.

126,121 enrolled on this course

Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

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.

You will learn forensic science through a theoretical murder case set on the murky shores of Loch Lomond. 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?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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, just a desire to learn forensic science. 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?

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?

University of Strathclyde

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

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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