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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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Prerequisite
54 points
Schedule C
Science
Eligibility
This paper is available for interest only enrolments.
Contact
forensic.biology@otago.ac.nz
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.
Textbooks

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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Timetable

Summer School

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
None

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
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

Tutorial

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

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

Key insights from the various fields within forensic biology to provide vital evidence in investigations of, violent crime and disaster victim identification.

The paper is designed as an introduction for the student who is interested in analysing the biological aspects of forensic science at the crime scene and in a laboratory. Students will have the unequalled opportunity to interact with a range of national and international forensic experts, providing a sense of reality and authority that is unique.

The interactive practical sessions examine the entire process of conducting a forensic investigation, from the evidence at the mock ‘crime scene’, through the examination, and evaluation of that evidence, to the story the media portray of violent crimes.

Warning: The content and discussion in this paper will necessarily include many aspects of criminal death investigation. Some lectures and the reflective essay assessment may be emotionally challenging to engage with. The course coordinators will foster a teaching environment of respect and sensitivity, whilst thoughtfully and critically engaging with potentially disturbing content. Graphic and intense content will be highlighted during summer school lectures.

Paper title Forensic Biology
Paper code FORB201
Subject Forensic Biology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Summer School
Domestic Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for 2021 have not yet been set
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

Prerequisite
54 points
Schedule C
Science
Eligibility
This paper is available for interest only enrolments.
Contact
forensic.biology@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff

Paper Co-ordinators: Dr Angela Clark and Professor Richard Cannon

Forensic Expert Guest Lecturers

Tutors

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 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

Textbooks

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

^ Top of page

Timetable

Summer School

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
None

Lecture

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

Tutorial

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Thursday 09:00-09:50 3, 5-7
A2 Thursday 10:00-10:50 3, 5-7
A3 Thursday 11:00-11:50 3, 5-7
A4 Thursday 13:00-13:50 3, 5-7
A5 Thursday 14:00-14:50 3, 5-7
AND one stream from
B1 Thursday 09:00-09:50 4
B2 Thursday 10:00-10:50 4
B3 Thursday 11:00-11:50 4
B4 Thursday 12:00-12:50 4