General Details

Full Title
Transcript Title
N/A %
Subject Area
FORS - Forensic Studies
LIFE - Life Sciences
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Aodhmar Cadogan, Geraldine Dowling
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 Science in Forensic Science and Analysis SG_SFORE_B07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Science in Forensic Investigation and Analysis SG_SANAL_G06 201900 Higher Certificate in Science in Analytical Science

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 by chemical analysis.  This module is linked to the Forensic Chemistry 2 module in year 3.  This module will focus mainly on use of microscopy and on those samples requiring inorganic chemical analysis.

Learning Outcomes

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


List the common types of physical evidence that may be collected from a crime scene focusing particularly on those requiring inorganic and chemical testing.


Discuss possible techniques for laboratory analysis of inorganic material such as paint, glass, soil, gunshot residue, hair and fibres and apply literature search techniques to prepare a technical report and present technical info in a manner understandable by the court of law.


Recognise the relevance of contamination avoidance procedures and give examples in relation to the location, extraction and analysis of contact trace material


Explain and demonstrate competence in the range of methods used for the recovery / extraction of the commonly encountered physical and chemical trace materials including the use of controls and reference materials.


Demonstrate competence in setting up and use of microscopes for locating, identifying and comparing commonly encountered contact trace material

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The module is delivered full time.  This will include lectures, laboratory practicals augmented occasionally by independent learning and directed learning.  This approach is expected to meet the student learning needs.  Laboratory practicals will be scheduled for 8 x 3 hour sessions in a science laboratory.  Moodle will be used as a repository of educational resources and as a means of assessment.  Teamwork is required in the laboratory. On occasion site visits may occur.

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

Module Assessment Strategies

This module is 60% continuous assessment and 40% final exam.

Laboratory skills, ability to work in a team and report writing are assessed as part of the practical work (40%) in the continuous assessment  performed during the module. The  other continuous assessment (20%) will involve the preparation of a technical report  around an assigned topic.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat continuous assessment and/or final exam

Module Dependencies


Indicative Syllabus

Microscopy: The basis of light and electron microscopy instruments e.g. Compound Microscope, Comparison Microscope, Stereo Microscope, Polarizing Microscope, Microspectrophotometer, Fluorescent Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and TEM.

Basis of spectroscopy and some simple spectroscopic instruments used for inorganic analysis. AAS, ICP-MS, XRF

Glass: Chemical structure and physical properties of glass.  Analysis of glass including refractive index GRIM, density, elemental composition.  Fracture Patterns.

Soil: Composition and evidential value of soil.  Analysis using microscopy, size fractionation, density gradient and instrumental techniques for elemental analysis.

Hairs and Fibres:  Hair structure, identification and comparison of Hair human vs. other mammalian hair.  Classification of Fibres;  collection techniques for Fibre Evidence; analysis and comparison.

Paint: Examination of Paint. Microspectrophotometry, FTIR, Pyrolysis Gas chromatography.  Preparation of paint for forensic analysis.

Gunshot residues:  Collection and analysis of residues. Spot tests and Instrumental analysis. GSR kits. Firearms and examination of cartridges by comparison microscopy.

Case studies to illustrate forensic case studies where the various type of evidence glass, paint, fibres etc were significant in the solving of the case. 

Technical report writing.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
60 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
40 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Feedback on assignments, presentations Formative Assessment - % OnGoing 3,4,5
2 Presentation Case Study Technical report Continuous Assessment UNKNOWN 20 % Week 8 2
3 Practical Evaluation Continuous Assessment UNKNOWN 40 % OnGoing 4,5

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final Exam Final Exam UNKNOWN 40 % End of Term 1,2,3,4

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Tiered Classroom Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Laboratory Practical Science Laboratory Practical 2 Weekly 2.00
Independent Learning UNKNOWN Self study 3 Weekly 3.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 4.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2016-08-24 Forensic Science Pearson Higher Ed
ISBN 9781292088235 ISBN-13 1292088230
Required Reading
2005 Practical Skills in Forensic Science Pearson Education
ISBN 0131144006 ISBN-13 9780131144002

Guides students through the complete range of practical skills needed to succeed in this course from general transferable skills to advanced technical skills as well as helping them to develop critical thinking and good study practice.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources


Investigating Chemistry, A Forensic Science Perspective, Mathew E. Johll, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 2007

Forensic Science, Stuart H. James and Jon J. Nordby, 2nd edition Taylor and Francis Group, CRCPress, 2005

Criminalistics: An Introduction To Forensic Science.  Clifton E. Meloan, et al; Prentice Hall; 8th Laboratory manual Edition (2003)

Journal Resources

Forensic Science International

Drug Testing and Analysis

Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine

Science Direct, Google Scholar etc


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 Scientist 




Other Resources