General Details

Full Title
Transcript Title
N/A %
Subject Area
FORS - Forensic Studies
LIFE - Life Sciences
07 - NFQ Level 7
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Geraldine Dowling, Aodhmar Cadogan
Programme Membership
SG_SFORE_G07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Science in Forensic Invest & Analys(Emb) SG_SFORE_H08 201900 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Forensic Investigation and Analysis SG_SFORE_B07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Science in Forensic Investigation and Analysis

To provide an overview of the types of evidence that may be collected from a crime scene and the range of methods used in the collection, preservation, examination, analysis and interpretation of physical evidence.  This module is linked to the Forensic Chemistry 1 module in year 2.  The module will focus on mainly on those samples that are organic or biological in nature and require chemical analysis.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Outline the analytical techniques for presumptive and confirmatory testing of a range of range of organic materials of forensic importance including drugs, alcohol, carbon monoxide, accelerants and explosives.


Illustrate the range of presumptive and confirmatory methods used for the location, recovery, presumptive and confirmatory testing of commonly encountered biological material of forensic important including blood, semen and saliva.


Apply literature search techniques to an assigned  topic and practice oral and presentational skills to present technical information in a manner understandable in a court of law.


Evaluate and interpret data from examination and/or analytical equipment and apply to a range of forensic examinations in the biological and organic chemistry areas while demonstrating safe working practices and team skills.


Write robust, balanced, impartial, logical and transparent reports which are unbiased, comprehensive and comprehensible to the intended recipients.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module will be delivered full time.  It will include lectures, laboratory practicals and guest speakers augmented by independent learning and self directed learning.  This approach is expected to meet student learning needs.  Laboratory practicals will be scheduled for 8 x 3 hour sessions in a science laboratory.  Moodle will be a repository of education resources and as a means of assessment for uploading assignments.  Team work is required in the laboratory.

The student must meet an assigned gate (mark) in the final exam and achieve 40% overall to pass the subject.

Module Assessment Strategies

This module is 50% continuous assessment and 50% final exam.

Laboratory skills, ability to work in a team and report writing ability are assessed as part of the practical work (40%) performed during the module.  The continuous assessment (10%) will involve the preparation of a piece of research around an assigned topic in the form of a poster.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat continuous assessment and/or final exam

Module Dependencies


Indicative Syllabus

Drugs: Drug Dependence; Legislation, Classification of drugs. Source, structure, effect and presentation of drugs of some selected drugs of abuse e.g. cannabis, diamorphine, cocaine, amphetamine derivatives, XTC.  Arbitrary and statistical (hypergeometric) drug sampling.  Analysis methods including presumptive and confirmatory testing.e.g. GC-MS and HPLC-MS.
Toxicology:  Toxicology of Alcohol; Analysis of alcohol by breathalyzers and GC headspace.  Carbon Monoxide poisoning and analysis. Case Studies.

Arson and Explosives: Fire triangle, fire investigation, flammable residues and their analysis, laundered diesel.  Explosives, Ballistics and explosion.  Spot tests and instrumental methods of analysis e.g GC-FID, Xray Fluorescence, IC.  Sampling and investigation of fire and explosion crime scene.  Choice of suitable control samples. Case Studies.

Clothing damage

Biological: Presumptive and confirmatory tests for blood, serum, urine, saliva. Persistence data for Biological fluids and consideration in case assessment. Blood pattern analysis. 

Practical syllabus to cover some of the above topics.  Build awareness of the importance of the crime scene to court chain and the investigative circumstance and case specific evidential requirements. Demonstrate competence in the location and recovery of trace evidence from case materials including the taking of control and reference sample such as buccal samples.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
50 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
50 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Formative and Summative Assessment Case studies, class discussion Formative Assessment - % OnGoing 1,2,4
2 Laboratory Work and Reports Coursework Assessment Practical Evaluation 40 % OnGoing 4,5
3 Assigned topic poster presentation Coursework Assessment Group Project 10 % Week 9 3

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final Exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 50 % End of Term 1,2

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Flat Classroom Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Practical / Laboratory Science Laboratory Laboratory practical 2 Weekly 2.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Self study 3 Weekly 3.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 4.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2013-07-23 Forensic Chemistry Pearson Education Limited
ISBN 129202044X ISBN-13 9781292020440
Required Reading
2016-08-24 Forensic Science Pearson Higher Ed
ISBN 9781292088235 ISBN-13 1292088230

Required Reading
Practical Skills in Forensic Science Pearson Education Limited

Required Reading
2003-07-25 The Analysis of Controlled Substances John Wiley & Sons
ISBN 0470864559 ISBN-13 9780470864555

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

See book list

Journal Resources

Science and Justice

Forensic Science International

Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine

Other located at Web of Science and Science Direct

URL Resources

United nations office on Drugs and Crime

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

European network of Forensic Science Institutes

Chartered Society of Forensic Science, UK

Other Resources



Additional Information