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FRSC 2100

This is an archive of the Common Course Outlines prior to fall 2011. The current Common Course Outlines can be found at
Credit Hours 3
Course Title Introduction To Forensic Science
Prerequisite(s) Exit or exemption from all Learning Support and ESL requirements
Corequisite(s) None Specified
Catalog Description
This course will familiarize students with the basic principles and uses of forensic science in the American system of justice.  Forensic science is the study and application of science to the processes of law and involves the collection, examination, evaluation and interpretation of evidence.  This field encompasses many scientific areas, which, if used properly, can make invaluable contributions to the resolution of social and legal disputes.  The course will review the basic applications of the biological, physical, chemical, medical and behavioral sciences to questions of evidence and law.  In doing so, students should gain a basic understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the forensic sciences as they are presently practiced.

Expected Educational Results
As a result of completing the course the student will be able to:

1. Properly recognize, document and collect
physical evidence from various types of
crime scenes.
2. Understand the capabilities and limitations
of forensic examinations performed in
federal, state and local crime laboratories.
3. Understand the various examination and
comparison processes that occur in crime
4. Discuss and understand courtroom procedures
for criminal trials.
5. Differentiate between crime scene
processing and crime scene reconstruction.
6. Differentiate between class characteristics
and individual characteristics in various
disciplines and understand their
significance to items of evidence.

General Education Outcomes
This course addresses the general education outcomes of identifying, analyzing, and evaluating social, political, historical forces and communicating effectively through speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Course Content
I.   The Crime Scene and the Collection of
A.  Search for physical clues.
B.  Preservation, marking, maintaining
chain of evidence.
C.  Screening of evidence: social and
resource concerns.
D.  Basic types of physical
evidence/identification vs.
II.  Methods of Forensic Science

A.  Physical properties
B.  Glass and soil
C.  Organic analysis
D.  Analytical techniques – separation and
E.  Inorganic analysis
F.  Emission spectroscopy, atomic  
absorption, neutron activation
G.  Microscopy – five basic light microscopes
H.  Scanning electron microscopy/x-ray
III. Trace Evidence: Hairs, Fibers, and Paint
A.  The exchange principle/trace evidence
B.  Hairs and fibers
C.  Paint
D.  Expressions of individuality
IV.  Drug Identification
A.  Major drug categories/substance of abuse
B.  Statutory control of drugs
C.  Analytical procedures for identification
V.   Toxicology and Pathology
A.  Alcohol, breath testing, field sobriety
B.  Identification of drugs/poisons in body
C.  Determination of cause and manner of
D.  Role of medical examiner/coroner
VI.  Physical Anthropology and Odontology
A.  Homicide investigations: race, age,
gender, stature
B.  Special problems posed by mass murders,
C.  Dental evidence: identification of human
D.  Violent crimes and bite marks
VII. Serology and DNA Typing
A.  Nature of blood
B.  Dried bloodstains, forensic
C.  Other body fluids
D.  DNA typing: legal challenges/issues of
VIII.Finger Prints
A.  Historical issues
B.  Fundamental principles
C.  Detection, preservation, development
D.  Automated identification systems
IX.  Arson, Explosions
A.  Recovery of evidence/reconstruction of
fire scene
B.  Detection of accelerants
C.  Explosives – detection, tagging
X.   Impressions, Firearms and Toolmarks
A.  Pattern, impression evidence
B.  Bullet and cartridge comparisons
C.  Toolmarks
D.  Gunpowder patterns, residues
XI.  Document, Voice Examination, Polygraph
A.  Handwriting, printing, typewriting
B.  Alterations, reconstruction, ink analysis
C.  Voice spectrograph
D.  Polygraph – questions of validity/legal
XII.  Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences
A.  Role of the psychiatrist in the legal
B.  Determination of sanity and fitness to
stand trial
C.  Correctional psychiatry/prediction of
D.  Social sciences and the civil law
XIII.Contemporary Issues and the Future of
Forensic Science
A.  Professionalizing the field
B.  Certification of personnel
C.  Proficiency testing and quality assurance
D.  Ethical conflicts

Assessment of Outcome Objectives
Tests, a written assignment and a final exam prepared by the instructor will be used to determine the course grade, along with any other assignments required by the instructor.  The final exam will include a 20-question multiple choice assessment instrument that will count for at least 20% of the grade on the final exam.  The assessment instrument will have questions that sample the material found in the above objectives.  It is expected that writing skills will be emphasized by the incorporation of a written assignment component in the course.

Last Revised: Aug. 08, 2011
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