Forensic Entomology for the Crime Scene Investigator


Forensic entomology is the use of insects and their arthropod relatives to aid legal investigations. The proper identification of the insect and arthropod species present in a forensic entomology case is important. The genus/species identification helps the forensic entomologist retrieve the correct developmental data and distribution ranges needed for the case. An incorrect identification can lead to a potential error in the estimations and effect the estimation of the total postmortem interval.

Cost: $125.00. This course takes 15 hours to complete, on average.


At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Define entomology and forensic entomology
  • Describe three basic areas of forensic entomology
  • Define the body regions of an insect
  • List the taxonomic categories of insects
  • Describe the development stages of a fly
  • Discuss the forensic importance of flies
  • Describe the basic anatomy of a beetle
  • Describe the differences between the forensically important beetles
  • Discuss how insects and arthropods, other than flies and beetles, are forensically important
  • Describe the scavenging arthropods and their significance to forensic investigations
  • Define postmortem interval
  • Describe how entomological evidence can help in estimating postmortem interval
  • List the factors that can influence the insect succession and insect development
  • Describe sampling of arthropod specimens for collection.
  • Define ecological succession and how it relates to forensic entomology
  • Describe the five stages of decomposition and the insects associated
  • Discuss the different applications that DNA analyses can be used for in forensic entomology
  • Describe drug and toxin impact on insects and insect developments

Course Structure and Schedule

This is a non-credit course offering 2.68 ILUs.  (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 15 hours.  The course cost is $125.00 per registration. A certificate of completion will be issued to students successfully meeting course requirements.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction to Forensic Entomology
  • Flies of Forensic Importance
  • Beetles of Forensic Importance
  • Other Arthropods of Forensic Importance
  • Postmortem Interval
  • Collection, Preservation, and Sampling
  • Insect Succession and Development
  • DNA and Drug Chemistry Applications in Forensic Entomology


There are no prerequisites for this class.  A printable version of the course content is available in PDF format in the course library for future reference. Course readings are also available in PDF format.

Computer Requirements

  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Quicktime
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Java

There are free software plug-ins available in the Getting Started area of the course.

Basic computer skills required (i.e. turning on your computer, navigating the websites, etc.).  The course is user-friendly but support is available if needed.

All Students: Using Internet Explorer (IE) 10? Read info on eCampus Main Page

Instructor Information

Samantha Neal is the Instructional Coordinator for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops research, scientific resources, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities are the development and coordination of online continuing education courses in forensic science and continuing education programs. She has undergraduate degrees in both Forensic and Investigative Sciences and Chemistry.
Contact:, 304-293-5836

Robin Bowen is the Assistant Director for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops scientific resources, outreach opportunities, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities include coordination of continuing education programs, management of grant funded projects, and correspondence of progress to the National Institute of Justice. Bowen is the author of Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science. She is a former advisory member of the Outreach and Communication Interagency Working Group (IWG) under the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee (NSTC) on Forensic Science. She is also on the Editorial Advisory Board for the revised edition of Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences. Bowen is the primary developer of the Forensic Educational Alliance, an initiative to offer a variety of forensic science continuing education courses online. She has an undergraduate degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences and a graduate degree in Secondary Science Education. Robin is the online course instructor for Ethics in Forensic Science, Fibers and Textiles for Forensic Science, and Transition to Leadership. Contact:, 304-293-6214

Registration Information 

Click on the "Register Now" button at the top to register online through our secure server. You will be receiving email with your online course access information within five working days. Please check your spam or junk folder in case the confirmation email was misplaced there. Call 1-800-253-2762, or email if you have any questions. Major credit cards are accepted.

Check our FAQ page for refund policy and class access information.

Group Discount

We offer discounts for groups over 10. All individuals in the group need to register for the same course to take advantage of the discount. Discount rates vary by group size as follows:

  • 10-20 people 10% off
  • 21-30 people 15% off
  • 31-40 people 20% off
  • Above 40, contact for special pricing

Interested in a group discount?  Please contact the Continuing & Professional Education office at (304) 293-7570 or email us at for a coupon code.

Check our FAQ and Refund Policy for refund and class access information.