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CHEM306 Forensic Chemistry

Application of modern chemical analysis to practical scientific and technical situations, with particular emphasis on producing evidence for use in the judicial system.

This paper focuses on the application of modern analytical techniques used to support the legal system in providing forensic evidence. It also provides a sound analytical training and is recommended to all experimental chemists. Drawing strongly on examples from case studies, the paper provides the theoretical and practical framework for applying spectroscopic techniques for identification, quantification and fingerprinting of various materials, such as drugs, accelerants, environmental contaminants, materials and physical evidence. The emphasis of this paper is on the practical skills gained in the laboratory. The laboratory course is constructed to provide training in basic analytical chemistry before advancing to more sophisticated analytical techniques.

Paper title Forensic Chemistry
Paper code CHEM306
Subject Chemistry
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,110.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Prerequisite
FORS 201 or 18 200-level CHEM points
Schedule C
Science
Contact

Dr Christina McGraw
Tel 64 3 479 7907
Location: Science 2, 5c4
christina.mcgraw@otago.ac.nz

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Christina McGraw

Lecturers: Professor Keith Gordon
Professor Russell Frew
Professor Nigel Perry
Dr Alan Hayman

Paper Structure
  • Forensic Context
    • Legal context/expert witness
    • Crime scenes/evidence
    • Basic statistics
    • Quality control/quality assurance
    • Multivariate statistics
  • Separation Techniques
    • Partitioning, GC, HPLC, electrophoresis identification and characterisation
    • Physical character (fibres, polymers and colourants)
    • Spectroscopy (UV-Vis, IR, NMR, Raman)
  • Provenancing
    • Impurity profiling
    • Isotopic and elemental analysis
Teaching Arrangements
The lecture course is to support the laboratory course and will be a mixture of formal lectures providing theory, case studies and worked tutorial sessions.
Textbooks
Recommended:
Forensic Chemistry, Suzanne Bell, Pearson, Prentice Hall

Statistics and Chemometrics for Analytical Chemistry, Miller & Miller (6th Ed), Pearson

Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry, Skoog et al (9th Ed), Wadsworth
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Expectations at the end of the paper:
  • An understanding of how chemical knowledge is applied in support of the legal system
  • Mastery of the scientific concepts underlying the major analytical methods of chemical analysis as applied in forensic casework
  • A tested understanding of the application of these concepts to practical situations such as material analysis
  • Tested experience with the use and assessment of standard practical and experimental techniques
  • An understanding of how to obtain and validate high-quality data

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Timetable

Semester 2

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-38, 40-41
Thursday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Friday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41

Practical

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Thursday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41
A2 Friday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41

Advanced analytical chemistry methods for environmental, forensic, industrial and biological applications.

CHEM306 focuses on the application of modern analytical techniques, building on the fundamentals of analytical chemistry learned in CHEM206. Drawing on examples from a range of disciplines, the emphasis of this paper is on the practical skills gained in the laboratory. Here, students will learn the theoretical and practical frameworks needed to independently apply established techniques and develop new analytical methods.

Paper title Analytical Chemistry 2
Paper code CHEM306
Subject Chemistry
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for 2023 have not yet been set
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

Prerequisite
CHEM 206
Schedule C
Science
Contact

Dr Christina McGraw

Tel 64 3 479 7907

Location: Science 2, 5c4

christina.mcgraw@otago.ac.nz

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Christina McGraw

Lecturers: Professor Keith Gordon

Professor Nigel Perry

Dr Mohamed Sharafeldin

Paper Structure

Topics covered in CHEM306 include:

  • Instrumental analysis
    The design, development, and application of scientific instruments to understand complex chemical systems.
  • Spectroscopy
    The role of spectroscopy (UV-Vis, IR, Raman) and multivariate statistics in characterising chemical systems.
  • Separation techniques
    The use of analytical techniques (partitioning, GC, HPLC, electrophoresis) to separate, identify and quantify components in complex samples.

Within each topic, students will explore forensic, environmental, industrial and biological applications.

Teaching Arrangements

Short lectures will be incorporated into a single 8-hour practical each week. The self-directed experiments give students the flexibility to schedule their own breaks, lunch, and up to one hour of clash.

Textbooks

Highly recommended: Quantitative Chemical Analysis, 9th edition by Daniel Harris.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Expectations at the end of the paper:

  • An understanding of the scientific concepts underlying the major analytical methods of chemical analysis.
  • An understanding of the application of these concepts to forensic, environmental, industrial, and biological analysis.
  • Experience with the use and assessment of standard practical and experimental techniques.
  • An understanding of how to obtain and validate high-quality data.

^ Top of page

Timetable

Semester 2

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Practical

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Thursday 10:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41
A2 Friday 10:00-17:50 29-34, 36-41