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Introduction to Forensic Science

Nanyang Technological University via Coursera


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We have all seen forensic scientists in TV shows, but how do they really work? What is the science behind their work? The course aims to explain the scientific principles and techniques behind the work of forensic scientists and will be illustrated with numerous case studies from Singapore and around the world. Some questions which we will attempt to address include: How did forensics come about? What is the role of forensics in police work? Can these methods be used in non-criminal areas? Blood. What is it? How can traces of blood be found and used in evidence? Is DNA chemistry really so powerful? What happens (biologically and chemically) if someone tries to poison me? What happens if I try to poison myself? How can we tell how long someone has been dead? What if they have been dead for a really long time? Can a little piece of a carpet fluff, or a single hair, convict someone? Was Emperor Napoleon murdered by the perfidious British, or killed by his wallpaper? *For Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students, please be noted that this course will no longer be eligible for credit transfer.


  • Information
  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Chemical Analysis in Forensic Science
  • Time of Death; Blood
  • DNA in Forensics
  • Fingerprinting; Polymers & Fibres; Firearms
  • Narcotics
  • Toxicology
  • Case Studies

Taught by

Roderick Bates


4.4 rating, based on 18 Class Central reviews

4.9 rating at Coursera based on 2344 ratings

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  • This course is a great foundation for anyone interested to learn the basics of forensic science, and the assignments are both challenging and interesting. The assignments take a bit of time to think through and work on. I would say the only real dow…
  • Anonymous
    There are 2 main problems with that course 1. The information is unreliable! examples: a. The source that he gives for the Gareth Williams case said exactly the opposite of what he said. b. He completely misrepresented the George Metesky case. c. He…
  • Chloe
    I have completed this course. This is the first MOOC class I have took. But from what I heard from my peers, they said that this is the best course that they have taken. I agree with them. Prof Bates explain things clearly and simplify some subject that may be difficult for those who don't have more in depth background in chemistry.

    No pre-requisites is required, except knowledge of high school science. Prof Bates's occasional humor really helps liven up the dull, and sometimes dry material. So for anyone interested in forensic science, CSI fans? Wants to know more about forensics works? It is highly recommended.
  • This is one of the best courses in Coursera. It has a great scientific overview with carefully chosen real-life examples from previous historical cases, and even ones that happened a couple of years ago, which makes the forensic science even more al…
  • It was a nice course, having two cases to solve was definitely fun. It's helpful because you start seeing things better, and avoid thinking that cases are easy to solve, as an example: In one of the cases reviewed, each time they had to take more…
  • Kristina Bogovic
    Professor Bates takes extra time to explain material regarding forensic science, making it simplifed for beginners but also introducing us to more complex fields of work. Lectures are clear and notes are presented on screen for easy following. Lots of case studies and additional reading for understanding lectures and connecting them with real life forensics. Looking forward to finishing the course!
  • Mahnoor Khan
    this course is extremely interesting and very well presented. prof roderick bates speaks and explains eloquently, you understand everything. the slides are attractive and simple.
    do join! have fun!
  • Michael Avila
    This is the best MOOC class that I have taken. The instructor is incredible. He explains everything and uses videos top show what he is talking about. I recommend this course to anyone interested in forensic science.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this MOOC. If you have any interest in forensic science, I can't think of a better place to start than here. There is a lot of fascinating information that's broken down into manageable sections. It can get very technical at some points, but not so much that a beginner couldn't understand.
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