Forensic Science (FSC)
FSC 1010 - Introduction to the Forensic Sciences - 4 credits
Fall and Spring Semesters
Forensic Science is the application of biology, chemistry, physics, and more to answer legal questions. In this introductory course, students will learn about the common fields in forensic science and how evidence is processed and interpreted for use in the court of law. Students will get hands on experience through activities and in laboratory while exploring ethical practice in forensic science. At the conclusion of the course, students will review, analyze, and interpret data collected from a crime scene and provide evidence based opinions about the case. Includes a required recitation.
FSC 1700 - Forensic Photography - 1 credit
Fall and Spring Semesters
Forensic Crime Scene Photography is a field of photography that deals with photographing crime scenes, corpses and evidences serving as a key part of police records for accidents and crime scenes. Forensic photographers must have the skills to utilize their cameras to capture a permanent visual record of any crime scene or accident. Their photographs must be detailed, and they must photograph every piece of evidence available at a scene. The final photographs can be used for evidence analysis and in court to attempt to prove or disprove what happened throughout the crime or accident. This course will utilize both lecture and lab activities. The photos are documented for use in investigations. Crime scene photographers are always allowed to enter the crime scene from the beginning in order to take detailed and accurate images. This course covers the operation of various photographic equipment and its application to criminal justice. Topics include cameras, analog and digital videography, proper light exposure, developing film and prints and preparing photographic evidence. Upon completion students should be able to demonstrate and explain the role of photography and proper film exposure and development techniques in crime scene investigation.
Pre-or corequisite: FSC 1010 with a grade of C- or higher.
FSC 2700, 2701 - Forensic Science I: Evidence Response and Recovery - 4 credits
In this course, students will learn about the proper procedures surrounding documentation, field testing, search methods, and recovery of physical evidence as it pertains to the forensic sciences. Students will learn about the basic steps involved in processing a crime scene, including the collection and preservation of evidence, the documentation of the scene, and on-site field-testing methods. The course will cover the tools and techniques used by crime scene investigators, including the use of sketching, measurements, alternative light sources, and chemical enhancement techniques. Students will also learn about the importance of protecting the crime scene and preserving the chain of custody of evidence. Through lectures, discussions, and hands-on exercises, students will gain practical experience in the processing of crime scenes and the collection and analysis of physical evidence. They will also develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as their ability to work as a team in a crime scene investigation.
Pre-or corequisite: FSC 1700 with a grade of C- or higher.
FSC 2710 - Forensic Science II: Criminalistics - 4 credits
This course focuses on the analysis of physical evidence in the investigation of crime. Students will study the scientific principles and techniques used to analyze and interpret ballistics, fingerprints, trace evidence, and blood spatter. The course will cover the anatomy and mechanics of firearms, as well as the interpretation of ballistics evidence at crime scenes. Students will learn about the principles of fingerprint analysis, including the classification and identification of fingerprints, and the examination of latent prints. They will also study the analysis of trace evidence, including hair, fibers, and paint, and the interpretation of bloodstain patterns. Through hands-on laboratory exercises and real-world case studies, students will gain practical experience in the analysis and interpretation of physical evidence. They will also develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as their ability to apply scientific principles to real-world situations. This course is designed for forensic science, criminal justice majors, and students with a strong interest in the field of criminalistics. Upon completion of the course, students will have a strong foundation in the analysis of physical evidence and will be prepared for further study and/or careers in the field.
Prerequisite: FSC 2700, FSC 2701 with a grade of C- or higher.
FSC 3010 - Forensic Anthropology - 4 credits
Every Other Year
Forensic Anthropology is the application of physical anthropology to law. Forensic Anthropologists are involved in the processing of skeletal materials, human decomposition, and forensic archeology. This class will review the concepts in biology, animal behavior, anatomy, and physiology as it pertains to legal investigations. By the end of the course, students will have a strong understanding of human skeletal anatomy, trauma, taphonomy, time of death estimates, appropriate techniques in archeological recovery, and ethical practice when working with and writing reports about human remains.
FSC 3020 - Medicolegal Forensic Entomology - 4 credits
Every Other Year
Medicolegal Entomology, a subcategory of Forensic Entomology, is the application of insect science to civil and criminal litigation as it pertains to neglect, abuse, and death. This class will review the concepts in biology, ecology, evolution, chemistry, and more that govern forensically relevant insect behaviors and taxonomy. By the end of the course, students will have applied the current science, techniques, and methodology in collection, preservation, and presentation of insect evidence as related to the court of law across Forensic Entomology with a particular emphasis on species of medico-legal importance.
FSC 3500 - Junior Seminar - 1 credit
This course design is to further foster the development of knowledge and skills used by professional scientists. The main goal is the production and delivery of professional quality written reports on current research. The knowledge discussed and accumulated in this course continues to enhance students’ awareness and understanding of scientific inquiry. Extensive analysis of primary scientific literature is central to this course and provides practical experience in developing the skills of written communication used by all scientists.
Prerequisite: Junior standing.
FSC 3700 - Crime Laboratory - 4 credits
This senior level capstone course provides students with a comprehensive overview of the operations and procedures of a fully accredited crime laboratory by building upon the skillset learned in previous Forensic Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Math courses. The course will cover the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are followed in crime labs, including evidence intake, examination, analysis, and reporting. Students will study the ethical considerations that are involved in the practice of forensic science, including the proper handling and preservation of evidence, the reliability of laboratory methods, and the impartiality of examiners. They will also learn about the legal requirements for laboratory accreditation and the impact of accreditation on the admissibility of evidence in court. The course will also cover the preparation and presentation of expert witness testimony in court, including the role of the forensic scientist, the importance of clear and concise communication, and the preparation of demonstrative aids. Through case studies, literature review, and mock trials, students will have the opportunity to practice the skills and techniques that are necessary for success in a crime laboratory setting.
Prerequisites: Senior standing, and BIOL 2100, CHEM 2030, CHEM 2130, FSC 2700, FSC 2701, and FSC 2710 with grades of C- or higher.
FSC 3800 - Special Topics in Forensic Science - 3 credits
Every Other Year
Forensic Science is a broad spectrum of sciences as it pertains to civil, criminal, and other forms of law. This course provides students the ability to gain skills in a broad range of forensic sciences. The course content will vary in accordance with student interest and instructor expertise. All special topics courses will incorporate peer reviewed literature relevant to the forensic science topic chosen and include legal and ethical practice relevant to the field. At the conclusion of each special topics course, students will complete a practical where they need to write an appropriate case report and testify in a mock deposition incorporating skills acquired in the course.
FSC 3900 - Senior Seminar in Forensic Science - 1 credit
This course design is to further foster the development of knowledge and skills used by professional scientists and engage in career preparation activities for Science Majors. The main goal is the production and delivery of professional quality oral presentations on current research. Extensive analysis of primary scientific literature is central to this course as it provides practical experience in developing the skills in oral communication used by all scientists. Students engaged in research projects also discuss their work/progress and problems that may be arising.
Prerequisite: 65 earned credits in the Forensic Science major.
FSC 4000 - Research Communication - 1 credit
Fall and Spring Semesters
Consists of supervised preparation, by the student, of a written report and an oral presentation based on their independent research.
Prerequisite: Permission of area instructor. Signature of faculty supervisor and Department Chair required. Strongly recommended that this be taken the semester after Independent Research 4010 but may be completed concurrently.
This course meets the General Education Active Learning requirement.
FSC 4000-H - Honors Thesis - 1 credit
Fall & Spring Semesters
This course will give students an overview of the relevant scientific literature relating to their research project with an emphasis on evaluating, analyzing and reporting their research findings. After completion of authentic
Prerequisite: Honors Research. Ideally this course will be taken in the spring semester of the student’s senior year. This course can serve as a substitute for BIOL/CHEM/ENVS/FSC 4000 for Honors candidates.
FSC 4010 - Independent Research in Forensic Science Research I - 1-3 credits
Fall & Spring Semester
Independent research on a topic of current interest. Principles of both literature and experimental (field or laboratory) and/or theoretical research are performed under a faculty member’s supervision. The student will be required to investigate literature in the field and gain understanding of the nature of the problem/question and methodology that will be used in investigation. Student will be required to do actual research in libraries or labs, on- or off-campus. Signature of faculty supervisor and department chair required. This course meets the General Education Active Learning requirement.
Pre-requisites: Permission of area instructor. The project must begin no later than the fall of the student’s senior year.
FSC 4010-H - Honors Independent Research - 3 credits
Fall and Spring Semester
Familiar with relevant research in the discipline, an ability to identify valid data and the use to data to drive decisions will be achieved through independent research on a topic of current interest. Principles of both literature and experimental (field or laboratory) and/or theoretical research are performed under a faculty member’s supervision. The student will be required to do authentic
Prerequisite: Honors candidate and permission of advisor. The project must begin no later than the fall of the student’s senior year.