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Forensic Science 1 (CHEM 1145)

Total Credits: 4
Lecture Credits: 3
Lab Credits: 1

Description: This course uses an application-based approach to understand the basic theories and methods for scientific investigation of physical evidence found at the scene of a crime, with an emphasis on laboratory analysis methods currently in use. You will explore the scope of forensic science, services provided by forensic laboratories, the role of a forensic scientist, the processing of crime scene, and the importance as well as the types of physical evidence. You will learn how various kinds of physical evidence such as chemical substances, microscopic evidence, hair, fiber, paints, glass, soil, body fluids, DNA, fingerprints, etc. are collected and analyzed. You will perform several laboratory experiments to learn the methods used in such analyses. Concurrent registration in lab is required. Some lab sessions will be held off-campus.

Topical Outline:
1. Scope of forensic science and functions of forensic scientists versus CSIs, their training, careers
2. Diverse disciplines within forensic science, organization of forensic laboratories and different service units for forensic evidence analysis
3. Physical evidence types/sources, legal considerations in acquiring physical evidence and appropriate scientific and legal methods of crime scene processing (hands-on experiences through mock crime-scene processing)
4. Scientific concepts, instrumentation principles and laboratory hands-on activities for the analysis of physical evidence (microscopy, organic and inorganic analysis of trace evidence, glass, soil, hair, fibers, paint, dyes/pigments, drugs, toxicology, DNA)
5. Impact of legal, sociological, cultural and ethical bearings in criminalistics (case studies and current events analysis, constitutional amendments and rules, rights and responsibilities of citizenship, crime and society)
6. Factors considered in charging a suspect and court-of-law trials processes (hands-on practice through mock court-of-law trial of charged suspect of mock crime-scene and role-playing)

Learning Outcomes:
1. Describe the scope of forensic science and applications of different disciplines in forensic science
2. Evaluate the significance of various types of physical evidence and identify appropriate scientific and legal procedures of crime scene processing
3. Demonstrate understanding of scientific methodology and apply science principles to lab experiments along with consideration of safety standards, good lab practices and documenting the work
4. Integrate basic communication skills, critical thinking and problem solving (through analysis of case-studies and published articles, interpretation and reporting of experimental findings, mock court-of-law trials role-playing)
5. Examine the constitutional rights of common man in the context of criminal justice system, constitutional amendments and other legal considerations
6. Analyze the dimensions of crime and society, cultural and sociological impact and apply their own ethical views, reflect on current real events in forensic investigations

Prerequisites:  Placement into ENGL 1110 or completion of ENGL 0900 or ENGA 0900 or ESOL 0051. It is also recommended to have successfully completed at least one science course in high school or college and to have placed into READ 1300 or have completed READ 0200 and to have placed into MATH 0070 or MATH 0077 or completed Adult Basic Education Math 60.

  • Goal 3: Natural Sciences
  • Goal 9: Ethical and Civic Responsibility