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FORB201 Forensic Biology

An introduction to forensic biology. Trace and contact evidence, DNA, body fluids, traumatology, forensic entomology, toxicology and fibre analysis.

Increasingly, forensic investigations have come to rely on the techniques of forensic biology to provide vital evidence in homicides, violent crimes, disaster identification and even minor crimes. Students will have an unequalled opportunity to interact with a range of national and international forensic experts, providing a sense of reality and authority that is unique.

The paper is designed as an introduction for the student who is interested in analysing biological evidence at a crime scene or in a laboratory. The Forensic Biology paper provides a strong basis in modern forensic biology techniques. The multidisciplinary nature of forensics depends on the integration of scientific skills within a forensic context, and hence the paper includes a wide spectrum of topics.

Paper title Forensic Biology
Paper code FORB201
Subject Forensic Biology
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Summer School
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,080.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,159.70

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54 points
Schedule C
This paper is available for interest only enrolments.
Teaching staff
Paper Co-ordinators: Dr Angela Clark and Professor Richard Cannon
Lecturers to be advised
Paper Structure
National and international forensic experts are invited as guest lecturers to broadly discuss the following topics:
  • Trace and Contact Biological Evidence, including DNA and Body Fluids
  • Forensic Odontology and Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Pathology and Medicine
  • Disaster Victim Identification
  • Forensic Entomology
  • Ballistic Trauma
  • Forensic Bias and Expert Testimonies
  • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
Students must submit both assignments before sitting the final exam.
Teaching Arrangements
Four 50-minute lectures per week, plus four tutorials over the Summer School teaching period

Please be advised that some of the content and material in this paper may be disturbing, such as photographs of corpses in varying states of decay or postmortem photographs.

Jackson and Jackson (2017) Forensic Science. Fourth edition. Harlow : Pearson Education Limited

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this paper, students should:
  • Have acquired a strong background in modern forensic biology techniques
  • Understood the multidisciplinary nature of forensic science
  • Understood the integration of scientific skills within a forensic context
  • Have been introduced to the analysis of biological evidence as it relates to legal and other investigations
  • Have developed an understanding of the processes that govern the collection of evidence at a crime scene

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Summer School

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 2-7
Wednesday 13:00-13:50 3-7
Thursday 13:00-13:50 2-5, 7
Friday 13:00-13:50 2-7


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 09:00-09:50 3-5, 7
A2 Wednesday 10:00-10:50 3-5, 7
A3 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 3-5, 7
A4 Wednesday 14:00-14:50 3-5, 7
A5 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 3-5, 7
AND one stream from
B1 Wednesday 09:00-09:50 6
B2 Wednesday 10:00-10:50 6
B3 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 6