NCLT 341 Criminal Science Investigation – Fact and Fiction

3 credit hours

Dr. Shelli Carter


An increasingly difficult obstacle in the US judicial system is the CSI-effect in which members of the general public expect more from the ‘science’ of crime scene investigations based upon what they have observed in popular shows such as CSI, Law & Order, and the like. How much of what is shown in these episodes actually matches the reality of criminal investigations and the capabilities of the disciplines associated with forensic science investigations? The assignments from this course seek to answer this question.

Learning Objectives

The student will be exposed to a variety of forensic science disciplines through the assigned readings. Forensic Science disciplines may include: criminalistics, engineering sciences, general science, jurisprudence, odontology, pathology/biology, physical anthropology, psychiatry and behavior sciences, questioned documents, toxicology, chemistry, ballistics, etc.

The student will then be asked to apply their knowledge and critical thinking skills to analyze three episodes of popular entertainment. By the end of this contract, the student should have a better understanding of the disciplines of forensic science and how they may, or may not, be misrepresented to the general public.

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