Forensic Entomology for the Crime Scene Investigator

Overview

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.

Objectives

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

Prerequisites

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 https://ecampus.wvu.edu/

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:  samantha.neal@mail.wvu.edu, 304-293-5836


Sarah is a Instructional Coordinator with Forensic Science Initiative. She has a Bachelor's in Biology from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Sarah has also earned her Master's in Forensic Science from Towson University. During her graduate studies, Sarah was involved in research funded by the NIJ. The project focused on finding new serological tests using DNA as the substrate. Her responsibilities include assisting with online classes, developing a relationship with vendors, and helping with training. Sarah is a native of Wyckoff, NJ. Contact: sarah.ellis@mail.wvu.edu, 304-293-9540.

Registration Information 

Registration is accepted year-round for this course. 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 WVUEnrich@mail.wvu.edu 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 fsi@mail.wvu.edu for special pricing

How to register for a group discount:

  1. One contact person for each group registers.
  2. Click on “Register Now” button at the top of the page.
  3. Click on “add to cart” to add course to cart.
  4. Sign into online registration system with existing account.
  5. If not, click on “Create New Profile.”  Choose “Create a Student Profile (single user).”  Create your profile.
  6. How many students to register?  Enter total number of students in your group.
  7. Checkout with credit card.
  8. Send a list of each student(s) contact information to fsi@mail.wvu.edu  (Include full name, email, phone, date of birth).
  9. Course access instructions will be sent by email within 5 business days.


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