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Introduction to Forensics (NCAA Approved)

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Open to: Students currently enrolled in grades 6 - 9

Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level math or verbal score required

Course Format: Session BasedSee calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length: 12 weeks (Early Fall, Late Fall, Winter, Spring, Early Summer, Mid-Summer)

Course Code: IFOR

Course Description


This course is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts in Forensic Science, beginning with historical perspectives and covering the use of forensics to investigate and solve crimes. Units include history and development, crime scene evaluation, the crime lab, trace evidence, impressions, fingerprints, blood and DNA. Students watch online lessons, complete virtual lab activities, communicate with classmates in online forums, conduct hands-on lab activities, write a research report, and much more. They acquire knowledge of the skills, equipment and technology used to analyze physical evidence and how to examine and interpret this evidence. Skills in data analysis, critical thinking and problem solving, reinforce their understanding of the scientific process. This course does not have any synchronous class meetings, but students may schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns.

Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in this course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations.

Materials Needed

This course requires the use of any microscope and the purchase of a lab kit and manual:

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

History and Development

  • Timeline
  • Anthropology
  • Pioneers in FS
  • Frye v. US
  • Frye Standard
  • General Acceptance
  • Gate Keeper
  • Federal Rule of Evidence
  • Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals
  • Locard’s Principle

The Crime Scene

Type of Evidence

  • Testimonial
  • Physical

First responders

  • Protecting the Scene
  • Outer Perimeter
  • Inner Perimeter
  • Core

Processing the Scene

  • Securing the scene
  • Separating witnesses, collusion
  • Sketching the scene
  • Rough Sketch
  • Final Sketch

Search Patterns

  • Grid
  • Linear
  • Spiral
  • Quadrant/Zone

Processing Evidence

  • Evidence Log
  • Packaging Evidence
  • Chain of Custody

The Crime Lab

Federal Agencies

  • FBI
  • DEA
  • ATF
  • US Postal Inspection

Basic Crime Lab Services

  • Physical Science Unit
  • Biology Unit
  • Firearms Unit
  • Document Examination Unit
  • Photography Unit
  • Toxicology Unit
  • Latent Fingerprint Unit
  • Crime Scene Investigation Unit

Specialized Services

  • Forensic Pathology
  • Anthropology
  • Entomology
  • Psychiatry
  • Odontology

Trace Evidence

Fiber Evidence

  • Direct Transfer
  • Secondary Transfer
  • Value of fibers
  • Collecting Fibers

Fiber Comparison

  • Polarizing Light Microscope
  • Infrared Spectroscopy

Natural Fibers

  • Animals: Hair, Fur
  • Plants: Seeds, fruit, stems, leaves
  • Minerals: Fiberglass, asbestos

Synthetic Fibers

  • Rayon
  • Acetate
  • Nylon
  • Polyester

Hair Shaft

  • Cuticle
  • Cortex
  • Medulla
  • Root

Microscopic Hair Analysis

  • Medullary index
  • Medulla pattern

Life Cycle of Hair

  • Anagen Phase
  • Catagen Phase
  • Telogen Phase

Physical Properties of Glass

  • Density
  • Refractive Index

Comparing Glass

  • Floatation Method
  • Immersion Method
  • Match Point
  • Becke Line



  • Class
  • Individual

Type of Impressions

  • Patent
  • Latent
  • Plastic

Bite Marks

  • Bite pattern
  • Points of comparison

Tool Marks


  • Indentation Marks
  • Abrasion Marks
  • Cutting Marks

Shoe Print Impressions

  • Stride Pattern
  • Wear Pattern

Casting Impressions

Tire Marks

  • Tread Pattern


Principles of FP

Friction Ridges

Types of FP

  • Patent
  • Plastic
  • Latent

FP Patterns

  • Loops
  • Whorls
  • Arches
  • Minutiae and points of comparison

Computer Technology

  • IAFIS Database

Chemical Methods for Developing Latent Prints

  • Ninhydrin
  • Superglue Fuming
  • Silver Nitrate
  • Iodine Fuming

Blood and DNA

Components of Blood

  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells
  • Platelets
  • Plasma

Blood Typing: A, B, AB, O

Rh factor

Testing for blood

  • Luminol
  • Kastle Meyer Test
  • Leukomalachite Green

Structure of DNA

Sources of DNA

DNA Fingerprinting

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

Zoom online virtual classroom
This course uses an online virtual classroom which can be used for instructor-student communication if the student has any questions about the course or curriculum. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client and also tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Students will need a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed to watch any recorded meetings. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both available for free download.

Students must use Adobe Acrobat Reader to fill PDFs in this course. The latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader can be downloaded for free.