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: $0-225. This course takes 38 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 38 hours. The course cost is $225 per registration (with the exception of public lab employees, law enforcement, public attorneys, and federal employees – please see "Registration Information" below). 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.
Mozilla Firefox (recommended) or Internet Explorer
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Macromedia Flash Player
(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.
Sarah is a Forensic Science Technician 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-293-9540.
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: Robin.Bowen@mail.wvu.edu, 304-293-6214
Please read below to determine your eligibility. If you have any eligibility questions please contact Forensic Science Initiative at FSI@mail.wvu.eduBEFORE you register. Registration is accepted year-round for this course.
For general FAQs for the FSI online courses please click here.