Module details for The Practices of Forensic Science


You will learn how crimes are investigated from the moment of reporting through to the presentation of the evidence in court. Forensic investigation involves a wide range of disciplines and this module will give an introduction to some of these. A typical investigation involves not only physical and electronic evidence, but also statements from witnesses, suspects and victims. This requires cross discipline collaboration of professionals.


The aim of this Module is to introduce students to the wide range of transferrable skills employed in investigating criminal cases and to show the need for a holistic approach drawing from various disciplines

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  To summarise the complexity of forensic investigations and the wide range of skills that may be required.

2.  To explain the complimentary nature of different disciplines and aspects of forensic investigation

Indicative Content

1 Crime Scene Investigation

How a crime scene is examined in the context of incomplete contextual information and to avoid loss or contamination of evidence and the maximising of the value of evidential material.

2 Forensic Biology

Examination and evidential value of body fluids, DNA, hairs and fibres.

3 Forensic Physical Evidence

Analysis for drugs, toxicological analysis, firearms, explosives, and trace evidence. Introduction to uncertainties in measurement.

4 Forensic Reasoning and Practice

An introduction to forensic problem solving, thinking styles, case assessment and interpretation.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 6
Tutorial/Seminar 18
Practical Activity 6
Assessment 40
Independent 130
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.