Ethics in Forensic Science


This course has been developed in response to the lack of formal ethics education specific to forensic science. While this course includes many 'basics,' it also relates those ideas to the forensic science profession.

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


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

  • Describe the relationship between forensic scientists and law enforcement
  • Describe the differences between science and the law
  • Discuss the types of conflicts that can occur
  • State the pressures that can lead to ethical dilemmas
  • Determine what ethical standards are in place for forensic scientists
  • Describe some of the ethical issues affecting forensic scientists

Course Structure and Schedule

This is a non-credit course offering 3.78 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:

  • Unit 1: What is Ethics?
  • Unit 2: Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • Unit 3: Ethics in the Courtroom
  • Unit 4: Ethics in Science and Research
  • Unit 5: Conflicts
  • Unit 6: Forensic Ethics
  • Unit 7: Codes of Ethics
  • Unit 8: Ethical Dilemmas
  • Unit 9: Misconduct


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

Does this class meet ASCLD-LAB’s requirement for ethics training?

Answer: Yes, it does.

Do I have to post on the discussion board?

Answer: Yes, all discussion questions for this course are required and are graded.

What is meant by “responses to classmate’s posts”?

Answer: You must respond to at least 3 of your classmate’s discussion posts. They should be in response to different topics and are required.

How do I know that I have successfully completed all assignments?

Answer: You may follow your progress by clicking on “My Grades” in the left toolbar. If something does not have a grade or does not meet the 80% minimum standard, it must be completed.

Can I look at the material while taking the quiz?

Answer: Yes, the quiz will open in a new window so you can review the course content information.

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 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

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

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

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.


J.D. Brink

“The Ethics in Forensic Science course offered by the Extended Learning Department of WVU was nothing short of great!

"Although the course was established for forensic scientists, all members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Crime Laboratory are now required to take this course of instruction in order to have a better understanding of the challenges of our assigned Criminalists.

"Although the Ohio State Highway Patrol has maintained a set of Core Values throughout our 75 year history, this course not only encompassed our Core Values, but outlined the specific values that make the discipline of forensic science so valuable to the law enforcement and criminal justice communities.

"It would not be proper not to mention the fantastic staff that made this course 'work' for our personnel. Special appreciation goes out to Robin Bowen who was always available to answer questions and to assist.

"This is a timely course of greatness that I encourage West Virginia University to maintain and offer to forensic scientists.

Jessica Evans“I am just starting out in this field as a student intern at a local law enforcement agency, with the goal of working in the local Crime Lab, as soon as I am able to. This course has helped me gain a much better understanding on the material and also has given me experience I can take with me into the job I will one day be doing. I learned so much from this class and would recommend it to anyone and everyone!”

Stewart Mosher

"I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to enhance my proficiency by participating in the Ethics in Forensic Science Training online. I would not have had this opportunity had it not been for West Virginia University and its relationship with the National Institute of Justice. Working in the training modules each day was an evolving learning experience. The ability to interact with the course coordinator/instructor and students kept me quite interested."

"I look back upon my 32 years as a law enforcement officer and clearly realize how much better I could have served my community had this training been available sooner. I have placed into practice what I learned. We no longer view personnel issues in the proverbial black & white...understanding that "the grey area" reveals more probative information. I now supervise and work in a much more productive frame of mind with quality assurance guided by a clear understanding of ethical behaviors and practices."

Bruce Tackett“I did think that the class was well organized and presented a lot of material that has been and will continue to be useful to me.”

Steven Greene“I found the Ethics in Forensic Science course to be informative and thought provoking. We are requiring everyone in our laboratory system to complete the course for both accreditation compliance and personal enrichment. This will be a permanent requirement for all new employees.”