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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Criminal Justice (CRIMJ)

CRIMJ 310 Forensic Science I (3) Presentation of the techniques, skills, and limitations of modern crime laboratory.

CRIMJ 310 Forensic Science I (3)

Presentation of techniques, the principles underlying the techniques, skills and limitations of the modern crime laboratory for student who has no background in the forensic sciences form the basis of the course. The nature of physical evidence is emphasized along with limitations that technology and knowledge impose on its individualization and characterization. Particular attention is paid to the meaning and role of probability in interpreting the individual significance of scientifically evaluated evidence. Major, lecture topics include the following: The Crime Scene; Physical Evidence; Physical Properties of Glass, Soil, and Plastics; Organic Analysis; Inorganic Analysis; the Microscope; Hairs, Fibers, and Paints; Drugs; Forensic Toxicology; Forensic Aspects of Arson and Explosion Investigation; Forensic Serology; Forensic Anthropology; DNA; Finger Prints; Fire Arms; Tool Marks and Other Impressions; Document and Voice Examination; and Forensic Science on the Internet. To understand the techniques used in crime scene analysis hands-on activities as formal experiments in the laboratory setting form part of the course. The specific objectives of the laboratory components of the courses are: 1) To provide a first set of laboratory experiments for criminal justice and general science students who have had little or no previous science laboratory experience. 2) To show beginning students in criminal justice and general science the significance of physical evidence at the scene of a crime. 3) To demonstrate what happens to physical evidence when it is sent to the laboratory so that students will know what is needed, how much is needed, and how to prepare 4) To educate the student in basic laboratory practices so that they can ask and/or answer questions more intelligently in a court of law. And probably most important, to educate students so that they will not unintentionally destroy physical evidence at a crime scene, and will in fact try to preserve it for the trained forensic scientist. The experiments are designed to provide students with an overview of what can be done as a prelude to making them potential professional forensic scientists/criminologists. The proposed courses are meant for students majoring in the Administration of Justice Programs and should augment their knowledge of criminology and reinforce approaches utilized by law enforcement scientists. Students will carry out hands on experiments in biology, chemistry and physics in a dedicated laboratory setting. Use of instrument to analyze specimens and gather/interpret data using computers and statistical techniques form part of the course. Students will be graded based on their understanding of the principles involved in selecting and using specific laboratory techniques and on the quality of results of their laboratory experience. It is anticipated that the course will be offered once a year, first part during fall semester and the second part during the following semester. Since laboratory space and instruments are limited class size will not exceed fifteen.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2008
Prerequisite: CRIMJ 100

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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