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

    This fundamental paper in forensic science revolves around three core topics: crime scene investigation, biological evidence, and human identification, and is accessible to students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. By delving into the theory and practice of forensic investigations, you'll cultivate a critical mindset that will positively impact your future studies, career, and personal growth.


    An interactive mock crime scene scenario enables the development of transferable skills while offering a first-hand understanding of the operational environment in Aotearoa New Zealand, through our partnerships with the New Zealand Police and the Forensic Scientists at ESR. Engage with distinguished guest lecturers, renowned experts in their respective fields, as they provide engaging presentations that offer an unparalleled sense of reality and authority.


    Join the ranks of those who have discovered the enduring popularity of FORB201 as a summer school paper and embrace the art of forensic science with confidence and competence. This paper offers you an opportunity to embark on an extraordinary journey, unlocking the secrets of forensic biology, expanding your horizons, and shaping your analytical thinking skills.


    Content Warning: FORB201 explores the multifaceted realm of criminal death investigation. Please be aware that certain lectures and assessments may contain emotionally challenging content. Our course coordinators prioritise a respectful and sensitive teaching environment, fostering thoughtful engagement with potentially disturbing topics. During lectures, graphic and intense content will be clearly highlighted for your awareness.

    About this paper

    Paper title Forensic Biology
    Subject Forensic Biology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Summer School (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    54 points
    Schedule C
    This paper is available for interest only enrolments.
    Teaching staff

    Course Co-ordinators: Dr Angela Clark and Professor Warwick Duncan

    Forensic Expert Guest Lecturers


    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
    • Forensic Anthropology
    • Forensic Pathology and Trauma
    • Disaster Victim Identification
    • Forensic Entomology
    • Forensic Bias and Expert Testimonies
    • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

    Students must submit both assignments before sitting the final exam, which include:

    1. Short Answer In-Class Test (20%)
    2. Reflective Essay Assignment on a student-led topic involving human identification and methods of disaster victim identification (30%).
    Teaching Arrangements

    Four 50-minute lectures per week, plus five tutorials over the Summer School teaching period


    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 an overview of the multidisciplinary nature of forensic science
    • Understood and explain some of the contemporary issues in forensic biology
    • Develop key critical and self-reflective skills required of a forensic-thinker
    • Be able to apply basic critical analysis to forensic questions
    • Have developed an understanding of the processes that govern the collection and examination of evidence at a crime scene
    • Have a firm grasp of the standard Interpol process for Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) and able to synthesise and produce an original piece of reflective work based on a mass disaster


    Summer School

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 2-5, 7
    Tuesday 14:00-14:50 2-5, 7
    Wednesday 12:00-12:50 5
    Wednesday 13:00-13:50 2-7
    Friday 13:00-13:50 2-7


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Thursday 09:00-09:50 4
    Thursday 10:00-10:50 3, 5-7
    A2 Thursday 10:00-10:50 4
    Thursday 11:00-11:50 3, 5-7
    A3 Thursday 12:00-12:50 4
    Thursday 13:00-13:50 3, 5-7
    A4 Thursday 13:00-13:50 4
    Thursday 14:00-14:50 3, 5-7
    A5 Thursday 14:00-14:50 4
    Thursday 15:00-15:50 3, 5-7
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