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Introduction to Forensic Science

University of Strathclyde via FutureLearn


The course addresses four major evidence types: drugs of abuse, DNA, firearms and impression evidence, and discusses these through the exploration of a case-based scenario presented across a six-week modular framework.

You will learn forensic science through a theoretical murder case set on the murky shores of Loch Lomond. As the case unfolds each week, a number of evidence types, and the forensic science approaches that may be used to evaluate the evidence, are explored. All will be revealed in the final week, so make sure you are there to find out the identity of the murderer!

No special knowledge or previous experience of studying is required, just a desire to learn forensic science. Warning: Some of content presented in this course may be distressing to individuals, particularly younger learners. Notwithstanding, the material is representative of that encountered by forensic scientists and we have presented it in an objective and professional manner.


  • Principles and practice of crime scene investigation
    • Welcome to Week 1
    • Our case study - the scene
    • Important aspects of CSI - introduction
    • Basic principles of crime scene investigation
    • Roles and reconstruction
    • End of week summary
  • Fingerprints
    • Welcome to Week 2
    • Fingermarks, detection and enhancement
    • Fingermark identification
  • Blood pattern analysis and DNA
    • Welcome to Week 3
    • Blood pattern analysis
    • DNA an introduction
    • DNA analysis
  • Footwear and toolmark impression evidence
    • Welcome to Week 4
    • Firearms
    • Toolmarks
    • Footwear marks and tyre marks
    • The scene
  • Drugs of abuse
    • Welcome to Week 5
    • Semi synthetic drugs
    • Synthetic drugs
    • Drug identification
    • Drug profiling
    • Scene
  • The silent witness
    • Welcome to Week 6
    • The "forensic" in "forensic science"
    • Putting the pieces together

Taught by

Jim Fraser


4.7 rating, based on 7 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 231 ratings

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  • This was a fantastic course, and I enjoyed it so much I am now enrolled in a bachelors degree in accident forensics. The lectures are devised as part of an actual case, you follow through each week with different forensic subject areas such as fingerprints, DNA, blood, tools etc. Any fan of CSI will have a blast:)
  • Nancy Edwards
    This was a fascinating course, and the google hangouts were quite helpful. The amount and depth of information presented was amazing. That the instructors invested this much time and effort in offering this course is much appreciated.
  • Teresa Tse

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