The Basics of Biological Evidence


This course will be an introduction to the basic concepts of biological evidence. Biological evidence is valuable evidence and is an excellent way of identifying potential suspect, associating suspects or victims to a crime scene or to one another and linking crimes through databases. In this course, students will learn about the different types of biological evidence, how to collect, identify, and analyze them. This will show them why biological evidence is so important. While this course will be an excellent foundation for new scientists and a good review for seasoned professional this course will not replace on the job training and does not qualify any one as an expert.

Cost: $125.00. This course takes 25 hours to complete, on average.


Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Identify and understand different types of biological evidence
  • Identify the function of biological evidence
  • Understand the different presumptive and confirmatory tests
  • Understand the role of DNA in modern forensic science
  • Identify the safety hazards involved with biological evidence
  • Know and properly implement the different types of collection and testing methods
  • Understand biological evidence applications in the forensic science community

Course Structure and Schedule

This is a non-credit course offering 4.88 ILUs. (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 25 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:

Unit 1 - Introduction to Biological Evidence
Unit 2 - History of Biological Evidence
Unit 3 - Cell Biology
Unit 4 - Safety and Biological Hazards
Unit 5 - Collection and Storage
Unit 6 - Presumptive and Confirmatory Testing
Unit 7 - DNA Analysis
Unit 8 – Mitochondrial and Y-STR DNA Profiling
Unit 9 – Forensic Applications
Unit 10 – Biological Evidence and Court


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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do we need a CODIS System for this course?
    Answer: No, a CODIS system is not required for this course. CODIS will be explained but you will not have access it to complete this course.
  • Am I required to get any of the presumptive test materials?
    Answer: No, this course is an online only course. There are no required materials.
  • Do I need to have a biology background to take this course?
    Answer: No, this course covers the basic concepts and ideas behind biological evidence. If you feel you do not understand any of the material please contact the instructor for help.

Computer Requirements

  • Mozilla Firefox (recommended) or Internet Explorer
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • QuickTime
  • Macromedia Flash Player
  • Java

(Free software plug-ins are available in the Getting Started area of the course.)

Basic computer skills required (i.e. turning on your computer, navigating to 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

Brianne Miller is an Instructional Coordinator for the Forensic and Investigative Science Outreach program. Brianne earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in Forensic Science from Waynesburg University in 2011. In 2013, she also earned her Masters of Science degree from the Forensic and Investigate Science Program here at West Virginia University. Prior to joining the Outreach program, Brianne worked as an adjunct Chemistry Professor at Waynesburg University where she taught Organic Chemistry lab and lecture. Brianne is an online instructor for Biological Evidence, Bloodstain Pattern, Chemical Spot Testing, DNA Analysis of Forensic Based Evidence, Evidence Analysis, Forensic Toxicology and Hair Evaluation.

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.