Forensic Science

Module titleForensic Science
Module codeBIO2066
Academic year2019/0
Credits15
Module staff

Dr Katie Solomon (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

11

Number students taking module (anticipated)

200

Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module, delivered over term 2, will provide you with a scientific understanding of the detection of crime through a series of expert witness lectures supported by lectures on the scientific principles. We have an extensive programme of expert witness lectures from professionals working in the field nationally. In collaboration with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, we have lectures from crime scene investigators, a forensic pathologist, a criminal barrister, a terminal wound ballistics expert, forensic psycho-profiling, and DNA fingerprint experts; we also hold a firearms workshop to provide hands-on experience. The module is an excellent test of logical reasoning with foundations in scientific methods.

Students with no scientific training are encouraged to take BIO2068 Forensic Science instead of BIO2066; BIO2068 is the 30 credit version of BIO2066 and introduces all of the relevant science in the first term.

Module aims - intentions of the module

We aim to teach you about some of the kinds of physical evidence found at crime scenes (e.g. fingerprints, firearms and ammunition, hair, fibres, glass fragments, impression, splash patterns, arson and paint fragments; drug identification; forensic serology (blood group analysis, the characterisation of semen and saliva); DNA fingerprinting and elements of forensic pathology. We will also teach you how to apply your knowledge to construct a sequence of events from presented evidence. The assessments are an excellent test of the ability to marshal a body of facts and construct a logical, scientifically justified, critical analysis.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Critically analyse forensic evidence in the detection of crime
  • 2. Evaluate aspects of human biology as it relates to forensic investigations
  • 3. Analyse a crime scene and explain how material is collected and how subsequently that material is interrogated by a range of forensic techniques
  • 4. Describe how forensic evidence is presented in court
  • 5. Discuss the application of science in the context of crime detection and the law

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Apply scientific principles to real life situations
  • 7. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Apply factual information to develop, with some guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with valid conclusions
  • 9. Work in a small team and deal proficiently with the issues that teamwork requires (i.e. communication, motivation, decision-making, awareness, responsibility, and management skills, including setting and working to deadlines)
  • 10. Collect and interpret appropriate data, drawing on a range of sources, with limited guidance
  • 11. Communicate ideas, principles and theories fluently by written means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

You will use the principles of physical science for the detection of crime. The module will introduce you to the elements of physical science and mathematics and examine the analytical techniques that are relevant to forensic science In addition, relevant aspects of human biology will be covered. The module will then cover some of the kinds of physical evidence found at crime scenes (e.g. fingerprints, firearms and ammunition, hair, fibres, glass fragments, impression, splash patterns, arson and paint fragments; drug identification; forensic serology (blood group analysis, the characterisation of semen and saliva); DNA fingerprinting and elements of forensic pathology.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
221280

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching18Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Workshop
Guided Independent Study113Case study preparations
Guided Independent Study15Independent online research

Assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Case study examination in lecturesAllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
10000

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Case study 2:1401000 wordsAllWritten and oral
Case study 2:2602000 wordsAllWritten and oral

Re-assessment

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Case study 2:1Case study 2:1AllAugust Ref/Def
Case study 2:2Case study 2:2AllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to represent the relevant failed case study/studies. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 40%.

Resources

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Criminalistics Richard Saferstein, 7th Edition Prentice-Hall, USA (2001), ISBN 0-13-013827-4 (or later editions)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Forensic science, crime scene, post mortem

Credit value15
Module ECTS

7.5

Module pre-requisites

BIO1333 Fundamental Principles for Bioscientists

Module co-requisites

None

NQF level (module)

5

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

01/10/2011

Last revision date

08/03/2018