This course serves as an orientation and overview to hair examination as it relates to DNA analysis. The materials in the course have been gathered to assist the student in learning the preliminaries of forensic hair examination and are in no way meant to be a complete hair course.
Cost: $0-225. This course takes 28 hours to complete, on average.
Fall Term starts 8/1/2013 and ends 2/28/2014.
Registration Starts 7/15/2013 and ends 12/14/2013.
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
State the value of microscopic hair examinations.
Determine whether hairs are most likely suitable for nuclear or mitochondrial DNA analysis.
State how hair grows and identify the growth phases.
Discuss the value and limitations of animal hairs in the forensic context.
Describe the methodology, experience, and factors of the evidence and examiner in relation to admissibility of hair evidence.
Course Structure and Schedule
This is a non-credit course offering 5.8 ILUs. (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 28 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: Why Conduct Hair Exams?
Unit 2: Recovery and Collection of Hair Evidence
Unit 3: Basic Microscopy
Unit 4: Microscopical Hair Properties
Unit 5: Is it Human or Animal?
Unit 6: Race, Ancestry, and Ethnicity
Unit 7: Body Area (Somatic Origin)
Unit 8: Damage, Disease, and Treatment
Unit 9: Suitability
Unit 10: Examinations of Hair and DNA
Unit 11: Legalities of Hair Evidence
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
Will I be ready for casework after completing the course?
Answer: No. This course is an excellent starting point for more specialized training and practice in the discipline of hair examination. It is also beneficial to DNA Analysis to understand the basic principles of hair examination.
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.
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.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Adobe Flash Player
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.
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: email@example.com, 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.
WVU’s class titled, “Hair Evaluation for DNA Analysis” gave me a fundamental and essential understanding of hairs and trace evidence for my career. Before this class I had no prior education of forensics and this was perfect in terms of depth and overview for beginners. Having it online was a plus as well, it was nice to be able to have the ability to go at your own pace. I would suggest this class for anyone interested in getting a basic understanding of forensic hair evaluation.