Department of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies & Social Work

Course Descriptions

forensic

LAW 500 Basic Forensic Pathology and Death Investigation (3 hours) A required course for the Certificate and Masters Program designed to present the basic topics in forensic pathology. These topics include manner, cause and mechanism of death, sharp force trauma, blunt force trauma, gunshot wounds, child abuse, deaths from drug abuse, motor vehicular deaths, sex-related deaths, and sudden-unexpected deaths. Students will attend a series of forensic autopsies to observe the role of this procedure in determining the cause, manner, and mechanism of death.

Forensic 5LAW 505 Research Methods in Criminal Justice (3 hours) A required course for the Masters Program that provides a comprehensive overview of key methods of evaluation and research in criminal justice. This includes essential components to consider prior to evaluation; such as organizational mission and ethical dilemmas. Techniques of sampling, data gathering, and evaluation will be demonstrated via classroom application and academic resources. Academic writing skills will be generated within the framework of a research proposal. Requirement will be waived for students with comparable credit or suitable professional experience, to be determined by the director. Prerequisite for Law 505 is fulfillment of graduate entrance requirements.

LAW 510 Bloodstain Pattern Analysis in Violent Crimes (3 hours) This course is a combination of lecture and laboratory experiences. It is designed so that the student understands the physics of bloodstains and what forces act on blood in forming bloodstains. At the completion of the course students should be able to analyze bloodstains found at the scenes of various crimes and determine the sequence of events that occurred at that crime scene. Topics presented include angles of impact, directionality of impact, and velocity of impact, pattern transfer and photography of bloodstains.

LAW 520 Quantitative Analysis in Criminal Justice (3 hours) A required course for the Masters Program. Quantitative analysis bridges the gap between evaluation and policy implication by providing the student experience utilizing, interpreting, and presenting statistics and statistical models. A key component of this course will be examining restrictions on data and matching the appropriate statistical technique to the date source. Requirement will be waived for students with comparable credit or suitable professional experience, to be determined by the director. Prerequisite is Law 505.

LAW 525 – Forensic Anthropology for Law Enforcement (3 hours) A required course for the Masters Program designed to allow the student to study human skeletal material and determine basic information from this material. Topics include establishing age, sex, race, stature, and other individual characteristics from skeletal remains. Special lectures on recognition of trauma, common bone diseases, and the taphonomy of bone will also be provided. Laboratory exercises will allow student groups to analyze forensic cases to reinforce lecture material.

Forensic 3LAW 530 Human Remains: Search, Recovery, and Identification (3 hours) This course provides the student with a series of lectures and field experiences in the various methods of the recovery of human skeletal remains. Lecture topics include recovery techniques, map reading, scene documentation, and basic forensic anthropology to aid in identification. Forensic odontology, forensic radiology, and other basic methods of identification will also be presented. Field experiences on recovery and documentation of surface scenes, grave scenes, and fire scenes, will be provided to support principals discussed in lecture.

LAW 535 Introduction to Computer Forensics (3 hours) The course will cover the basic concepts of computer forensics including computer file systems, file attributes and data structures. Processes and procedures to recover and interpret digital evidence will be discussed. The legal theory and evolution of the field will be covered in depth.

LAW 540 Forensic Entomology (3 hours) A course designed to provide students with the basic concepts of forensic entomology. Topics covered will include insect identification, proper specimen sampling and collection of field data, and the importance of collecting, preserving, and rearing immature forms of insects of forensic interests. Field exercises using animal models will be used to reinforce lecture topics.

LAW 600 Criminal Law, Evidence and Legal Procedures (3 hours) A required course for the Certificate Program and the Masters Degree introducing the student to the basic principles of criminal law as it applies to physical and biological evidence and the presentation of this evidence in court. Other topics will include the role and qualifications of the expert witness, rules of evidence, maintaining a chain of custody and administrative procedures that apply to the forensic scientist and courtroom presentations.

LAW 610 Moot Court (3 hours) This course is designed to prepare the student for courtroom testimony. Prosecution and defense attorneys will serve as instructors. Topics include examination of expert witnesses, admissibility of evidence, maintaining a chain of custody, use of notes and reports while on the witness stand, and courtroom ethics and protocol.

LAW 615 Forensic Photography and Crime Scene Documentation (3 hours) A course designed to provide the student with the basic concepts of crime scene photography and documentation. Special lectures will be given on use of Polaroid’s, videotaping, copy stand photography, bloodstain documentation, tool mark analysis, and court presentations. Staged crime scenes will be used to support the concepts provided in lecture. These scenes will be designed to allow the student to photograph and document difficult pieces of evidence such as bloodstain patterns. Group discussions and critiques will also allow participants to present their assessments and scene evaluations to the class and instructors.

Forensic 6LAW 620 Analysis of Biological Evidence (3 hours) A required course for the Certificate Program and the Masters Degree, this course presents a series of lectures given by invited experts in biological evidence. Topics include collecting biological evidence, examination of hair, DNA evidence, and the analysis of blood and other body fluids. This course will allow students to be introduced to the latest developments in the fields of biological evidence. A series of landmark cases will be used to illustrate the role of this type of evidence in forensic science.

LAW 630 Analysis of Physical Evidence (3 hours) A required course for the Certificate Program and the Masters Degree, this course presents a series of lectures by invited experts in physical evidence. Topics include collecting physical evidence, fingerprints, tool marks, ballistics, and fiber analysis. This course will allow students to be introduced to the latest developments in the field of physical evidence. A series of landmark cases will be used to illustrate the role of this type of evidence in forensic science.

LAW 650 Advanced Research Methods (3 hours) A course for the Masters Program designed to provide students with advanced research methods, statistics and design. As part of this course students will be required to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Science, attend a pre-determined number of presentations, and submit a written critical review of the presentations and the published abstracts. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in Law 505 and Law 525, or consent of instructor.

LAW 670 Graduate Internship (3 hours) This Internship is a three credit hour course that is an applied learning opportunity for your Master’s of Applied Science Degree in Forensic Investigations. It requires the student to engage in a field experience of at least 150 hours, provide documentation and evaluation of work experience, participate in online discussions, and develop a paper which is of publishable quality.

LAW 680 Research and Publication (3-6 hours) A required course for the Masters Program designed to allow students to develop independent research projects or case studies. Students should select an advisor with expertise appropriate for the proposed project. The culmination of the project is the presentation of the work at a regional or national meeting and acceptance for publication in a recognized professional journal. Research projects are usually awarded 3 hours credit and case studies 1 hour credit for each case. Students are limited to three case studies for credit. Offered on demand.

LAW 596-599 or 696-699 Special Topics in Forensics (3 hours) Courses that have been offered in the past are Law 625 Crime Scene Reconstruction, Law 635 Internet Commerce Fraud and Investigation, and Law 640 Cyber Crime Investigation.