Free forensics course explores how science helps police to solve crimes

Posted by ap507 at Sep 15, 2016 12:55 PM |
University of Leicester and FutureLearn to offer popular free course on Forensic Science and the Criminal Justice system from 3 October 2016

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 15 September 2015

A popular free course offered by the University of Leicester showcasing how police use forensic science to solve crimes will be running for its fourth time starting from 3 October.

The course, ‘Forensic Science and Criminal Justice’, offered by the University of Leicester in partnership with FutureLearn, provides people with the chance to learn directly from professional criminologists.

The course is taught by Drs Lisa Smith and John Bond OBE from the University of Leicester’s Department of Criminology and focuses on advances such as DNA profiling in cases involving the identification of perpetrators and the exoneration of innocent people, examining how the criminal justice system is changing.

The course will start on Monday 3 October 2016 and will last for six weeks. It will entail around two hours of study per week.

The course content is also supported by a supplementary text book entitled ‘Criminal Justice and Forensic Science: A Multidisciplinary Introduction’ which has been published by the lead academics.

Dr Smith said: “Forensic science is a subject that many people have an interest in, particularly as it features in the plots of some very popular fictional television shows, movies, and crime fiction novels.

“This course will give learners the opportunity to explore how science helps police to solve crimes, and goes one step further by encouraging participants to consider some of the controversies and issues associated with the use of science by the law."

The course begins with an introduction to the historical context of forensic science and how the police use it during criminal investigations.

It will then explore the implications of forensic techniques, including:

•       How forensic techniques are used in the courtroom

•       The controversy surrounding biometric databases

•       The appearance of forensic science in popular media

•       Where the discipline will be heading in the future

The course features a mix of video lectures, audio podcasts, articles, and open discussions and has been designed to encourage both independent learning as well as collaborative activities.

The course aims to give its students an insight into the real world use of forensic techniques and dispel some of the myths about forensic science perpetuated by fictional portrayals.

‘Forensic Science and Criminal Justice’ is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), an online course that is free and open to all. This is the fourth time this course has been offered by the University.

There are no specific entrance requirements for the course – all that is required is an interest in the ways forensic science affects police investigations and the criminal justice system.

To find out more or to sign up for the course, visit the website:

The course content is also supported by a supplementary text book entitled ‘Criminal Justice and Forensic Science: A Multidisciplinary Introduction’ recently published by the lead academics. The book is available from the publisher’s website here:

Other MOOCs offered by the University of Leicester include ‘Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum’ and ‘England in the Time of Richard III’.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact: Dr Lisa Smith, Associate Professor in Criminology, or alternatively visit:

About FutureLearn

FutureLearn is a social learning platform based in the UK and providing free, online courses from world-class universities. The FutureLearn course experience centres on social interaction, whereby people learn by engaging in conversations around the learning material. A partnership of higher and specialist education institutions from around the world joins three cultural organisations – the British Library, British Council and the British Museum – to offer quality, higher education courses to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world. FutureLearn is wholly owned by The Open University, which has over 40 years’ experience in distance and online learning.

For more information, visit

For more information about FutureLearn email

Share this page: