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CRJ 210: Forensic Science

Course Description

This course will focus on the basic principles and uses of forensic science in the American system of justice. It covers crime scene investigation, collection and categorization of physical evidence, the physical properties of glass and soil, instrumental analysis, hair, fiber and plant evidence, forensic serology, arson evidence, DNA evidence, fingerprints, tool and firearm marks, and document and voice analysis. Students will gain a basic understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the forensic sciences as they are presently practiced. This course cannot be used towards science concentrations. (3 credits)

Prerequisite

  • None

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Understand the fundamentals of forensic science and be able to describe in writing, forensic science's role in the larger criminal justice system.
  2. Understand and be able to list and discuss the responsibilities and procedures of persons conducting forensic examinations of crime scenes.
  3. Understand the different broad categories of physical evidence and have the ability to match and discuss the best analytical techniques to each physical evidence category. The student will appreciate the different roles of each broad category of evidence in the deductive process of solving crimes.
  4. Describe in writing how forensic science is being applied to new types of evidentiary material such as DNA and computers and analyze the ramifications on scientific, ethical and privacy issues.
  5. Discuss and evaluate a topic in forensic science, research and analyze that topic further and produce a cogent research paper on the subject.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

Assignment(s)

Weight

Discussions (Weeks 1-8)

25%

Quizzes (Weeks 2 & 6)

10%

Midterm Exam (Week 4)

25%

Research Paper (Week 7)

15%

Final Exam

25%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

Available through Charter Oak's online bookstore

  • Saferstein, Richard. Criminalistics: An introduction to Forensic Science. 12th ed. Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2018. ISBN: 9780134477596

Additional Resources

  • In addition to the text book there will be scholarly articles and technical informational material posted to the class web site. The class site will also feature several Power Point presentations, streaming media and hyperlinks to other sources of information about forensic science as well as a glossary.

Course Schedule

Week

SLOs

Readings and Exercises

Assignments

1

1,2,3

Topic: Introduction: The Crime Scene

Readings:

  • Chapters 1 & 2
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

2

1,2,3,4

Topics: Physical Evidence, Crime Scene Reconstruction and Death Investigation

Readings:

  • Chapters 3, 4 & 5
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Quiz (Chapters 1-5)

3

2

Topics: Fingerprints, Forensic Biometrics, the Microscope

Readings:

  • Chapters 6, 7 & 8
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Submit Topic for Research Paper Due Week 7 (Not graded)

4

2,3,4

Topics: Firearms, Tool Marks and Other Impressions, Matter, Light and Glass, Hairs and Fibers

Readings:

  • Chapters 9, 10 & 11
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Midterm Exam (Chapters 1-11)

Midterm Exam (Due Sunday 11:59pm EST)
Chapters 1-11
SLOs 1-4

5

2,3

Topics: Drugs & Forensic Toxicology

Readings:

  • Chapters 12 & 13
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

6

2,3,4

Topic: Metals, Paint and Soil, Serology, DNA

Readings:

  • Chapters 14, 15 & 16
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Quiz (Chapters 12-16)

7

2,3,5

Topic: Forensic Aspect of Fire and Explosion Investigation, Document Examination

Readings:

  • Chapters 17 & 18
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Submit Research Paper (Due Sunday 11:59pm EST)
  • Optional lab activity (not graded)

8

4

Topic: Computer Forensics, Mobile Device Forensics

Readings:

  • Chapters 19 & 20
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete Final Exam (Chapters 12-20)
  • Complete Course Evaluation
Final Exam (Due Sunday 11:59pm EST)
Chapters 12-20
SLOs 1-4

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.