Module details for Special Topics in Forensic Biology


This module provides an introduction to the identification and confirmation of body fluids in forensic biology casework and the scientific interpretation of blood stain patterns. The contribution of further selected areas of the biological sciences to specialised aspects of forensic science is also critically evaluated.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with an understanding of examination strategies for the range of body fluids encountered in forensic biology casework together with the science underpinning the interpretation of bloodstain patterns. An awareness of the contribution of selected areas of the biological sciences to specialised forensic science studies is also given.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Understand the rationale for undertaking different body fluid examinations as an aid to crime investigation.

2.  Relate the biological characteristics of different body fluids to the methods used for location and identification in the forensic laboratory.

3.  Identify and interpret bloodstain patterns and relate these to a theoretical treatment of blood dynamics.

4.  Have a basic understanding of how the results of biological examinations are used in the context of case interpretation.

5.  Analyse and critically evaluate the contribution of selected areas of biology to specialised aspects of forensic science.

Indicative Content

1 Body Fluids

Methods for detection and confirmation of the presence of blood, saliva, semen, faeces and urine. Interpretation of the presence and distribution of such staining and an understanding of body fluid persistence.

2 Blood Dynamics and Blood Stain Patterns

Rheology of blood and blood behaviour. Impact, cast- off, arterial and transfer patterns, interpretation and evidential value.

3 Selected Areas of Biology Relevant to Forensic Science

For example: aspects of entomology, trichology and other specialist areas of forensic biology may be considered.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 22
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Practical Activity 18
Assessment 27
Independent 133
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.