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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.

Forensic Science (FRNSC)

FRNSC 427W (CHEM 427W) Forensic Chemistry (4) Analytical and instrumental methods used in the forensic sciences with special emphasis on the analysis and characterization of trace evidence.

FRNSC (CHEM) 427W Forensic Chemistry (4)

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a rigorous and comprehensive exposure to the techniques and methods used in private, state and federal crime labs in the analysis of trace evidence. The course thoroughly integrates lecture and laboratory activities to explore the history, controversies and current issues related to each topic. The laboratory component incorporates skill-building exercises with open-ended guided-inquiry laboratory exercises and a semester-long laboratory- and literature-based research project. Students work in small groups (2-3 students) to complete each assignment. Students are required to write five research papers during the semester. Four of the reports are linked to the core course topics and the fifth is associated with the semester-long research project. All reports require students to search for and read the relevant published literature.

The course is relevant to any student majoring in Forensic Sciences or who has an interest in obtaining employment in a crime lab. The course is required for accreditation through the American Association of Forensic Sciences and is recommended by the National Institute of Justice in their published recommendations for undergraduate curricula in the forensic sciences. The proposed course and the course in Forensic Anthropology/Biology comprise the core 400-level science courses required in the Forensic Sciences major.

The course is designed to be rigorous and comprehensive in scope. Grades will be based on in-class lecture examinations (20%), problem sets (10%), laboratory notebooks (15%), laboratory write-ups (30%), and a term project (written and oral presentations; 25%). The writing component for this course includes: maintaining a proper laboratory notebook; five approximately 10-page reports; and an oral poster presentation. All writing elements are reviewed and graded by the instructor and teaching assistants. Students are allowed to correct, or rewrite, and resubmit notebook entries for three separate submissions (notebooks are graded a total of eight times throughout the semester) and the written reports excluding the final project report. Students are required to submit a preliminary poster for a ) non-graded) review prior to the oral presentation. The writing component of the course accounts for 55% of the total course grade.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Fall 2012
Prerequisite: CHEM 213, CHEM 227 andFRNSC 411 orCHEM 431W

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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