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Forensic Science 201

FOSC 201: Innovations in Forensic Science

Prerequisite: BIOL 104:BIOL 105 or BIOL 131:BIOL 132 or CHEM 101:CHEM 102 or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

Designed for students new to the Forensic Science Minor or those interested in the discipline, this course provides an overview of current and innovative concepts, methods, and controversies in the Forensic Sciences, including Forensic Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, and Digital Forensics. Topics include the nature of scientific inquiry, testing, and interpretation of evidence in the Forensic Sciences.  Students participate in mock scientific forensic investigations from initial field search and recovery to final laboratory analyses of human remains and associated evidence.  


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Major topics covered in this course include:

• The major subfields in the discipline (e.g., Forensic Chemistry, Biology, Anthropology, Archaeology, ITEC), their connections, and their contributions to the Forensic Sciences in general;
• The value of the Forensic Science Minor in terms of a career and the skills, knowledge, and perspectives Forensic Science Minors bring to the workplace;
• Exposure to the major historical, theoretical, methodological, and controversial aspects of working in a medicolegal forensic setting;
• The nature of scientific inquiry in the Forensic Sciences, including the interpretation of statistical measures of scientific validity;
• Prominent approaches to Forensic Science research and the links between theory, methodology, and research;
• Differences between scientific, popular science, and common-sense approaches to the understanding of forensic events and evidence;
• Participation in mock scientific forensic investigations from initial search, recovery, and excavation carried through to laboratory analyses of human remains and associated evidence;
• The links between forensic science issues, students’ lives, and the world in which they live.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will be taught primarily in a traditional lecture format.  These lectures will come both from the instructor as well as numerous guest lecturers (e.g., Forensic Chemists, Biologists, Anthropologists) working in the scientific fields of Forensic Science. In addition to these lectures, field and laboratory exercises will also be incorporated into the course, providing students the opportunity to participate in mock scientific forensic investigations from initial search and recovery to final laboratory analyses of human remains and associated evidence.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

• Demonstrate an understanding of the major subfields in the discipline (e.g., Forensic Chemistry, Biology, Anthropology, Archaeology, ITEC), their connections, and their contributions to the Forensic Sciences in general;
• Demonstrate an understanding of the value of the Forensic Sciences Minor in terms of a career and the skills, knowledge, and perspectives Forensic Sciences minors bring to the workplace;
• Demonstrate an understanding of the major historical, theoretical, methodological, and controversial aspects of working in a medicolegal forensic setting;
• Demonstrate an understanding of the Forensic Science as a science, including the nature of scientific inquiry in the Forensic Sciences and the interpretation of statistical measures of scientific validity;
• Demonstrate an understanding of the major approaches to Forensic Science research and the links between theory, methodology, and research;
• Differentiate between scientific, popular science, and common-sense approaches to the understanding of forensic events and evidence;
• Demonstrate an understanding of the process of scientific forensic investigation from initial field search and recovery through final laboratory analyses of human remains and associated evidence;
• Demonstrate an understanding of the links between forensic science issues, students’ lives, and the world in which they live.


Assessment Measures
 
A variety of assessment measures will be used. These will include frequent writing assignments (e.g., research article reviews and summaries), exams, and class participation in field and laboratory exercises and class discussions.  


Other Course Information

Readings will be derived from the major journals in Forensic Science (e.g., Journal of Forensic Science) as well as selections from designated recent texts in the discipline—see bibliographic listing from which these readings may be selected in the library section of this proposal (4d).  Use will also be made of field and laboratory supplies and equipment already held within CSAT and RUFSI.


Review and Approval

04/2011