Basic Crime Scene Investigation - Syllabus

Instructors: Carlos A. Gutierrez, M.S.F.S.
Kamalu J. Beamer , M.S.F.S.
Version: Spanish
Duration: Six weeks total; one 60-90 minutes class per week + Self-study material


Students will have access to each of the classes, and self-study material related to the class topic, per one week within which the students also, have to email their answers to a set of questions that the instructor will provide at the end of each class, related to the topics learned during the class. These questions will be graded and will be part of the student final grade.

Last class/week, it will be available a final exam that students must complete and email to the instructor, which will be also part of the student final score. A certificate of approval is issued to students that successfully complete the course with a score equal or over 75%.


  1. Upon completion of this online course, students will be able to:1.) Approach a crime scene safely and methodically
  2.  Recognize, collect, and/or preserve different types of physical evidence
  3.  Document crime scenes completely and accurately
  4.  Understand the entire sequence of protocols involved in an investigation, from entry to the crime scene until the case is completed


Self-study material will be provided after each weekly class by the instructors.

Material from four texts will be used for lectures and examinations:

Forensic Science: An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques. 4th Edition. Edited by: Stuart H. James, Jon J. Nordby, & Suzanne Bell. 2014.
Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation. 2nd Edition. Author: Ross M. Gardner. 2012.
Crime Reconstruction. 2nd Edition. Authors: W. Jerry Chisum & Brent E. Turvey. 2011.
Crime Scene Analysis: Practical Procedures and Techniques. Author: Wilson T. Sullivan III. 2007.
Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab. 2nd Edition. Author: Richard Saferstein, Ph.D. 2013.


The final grade for the course will be totaled using the following weighting:

Weekly questions: 50% (total)
Final Exam: 50%
Approval grade: 75% or more


Students will need a computer with internet access. Classes may contain also Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents, Adobe PDF documents (Adobe Reader) and video animations (QuickTime player)

Tablets and mobile devices may not allow all courses content function entirely.


Class 1: Basic Principles of Forensic Sciences

  • Welcoming and course introduction
  • Brief explanation and definition of forensic sciences and criminalistics
  • Crime scene definition
  • Police and forensic work objectives
  • Evidence definition and its importance (Case analysis)
  • Information obtained from the evidence usage and its importance for the investigation
  • Investigation ethics
    * Answer five questions related to these topics


Class 2: Crime Scene Management

  • General procedures in the crime scene
  • First responders to a crime scene
  • Securing the crime scene
  • Crime scene first respondent safety
  • Emergency care
  • Dos and Don’ts in Crime Scene
  • Documenting initial crime scene information
    * Answer five questions related to these topics


Class 3: Evidence Management in Crime Scene and Laboratory

  • Description, Collection, and preservation of physical evidence:
  • Biological, Documents, Drugs, Trace Evidence, Fingerprints,
  • Firearms and Ammunition, Toolmarks and Impressions
  • Case analysis
    * Answer five questions related to these topics


Class 4: Forensic laboratories and the role of the Criminalist

  • The forensic laboratory
  • Types of Labs (government, private)
  • Qualifications of a forensic examinator and differences with the police officer (patrol)
  • Understanding the role of the criminalist
  • The investigator
  • Associate evidence
  • Laboratory sections (forensic biology, chemistry, firearms, etc.)
    * Answer five questions related to these topics


Class 5: Expert Opinion and Forensic Evidence in Court

  • Expert opinion in Court
  • Loyalty to science and respect for the law
  • The crime scene and the forensic evidence in Court
    * Answer five questions related to these topics


Class 6: Course summary and Final Exam

  • Course summary (five classes)
  • Answering final questions sent by students throughout the course.
  • Provide the final exam to the students
  • Course closing


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