CCOG for CJA 215 archive revision 201403

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Effective Term:
Summer 2014 through Summer 2024

Course Number:
CJA 215
Course Title:
Forensic Science and Criminalistics
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Explores how scientific principles help in crime detection and solution. Familiarizes students with analysis of fingerprints, DNA, body fluids, and other evidence that may be contained at a crime scene. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course provides a broad survey of forensic science applications in criminal investigations. Those areas of sciences that are applicable to crime scene investigations will be covered: geology, biology, chemistry, physics, serology.
Information will be provided on recognizing evidence, how evidence is classed by its value
(class vs. individual), how evidence is submitted to a crime lab to ensure its integrity, and what tests the evidence undergoes in the lab. Students will practice evidence recognition and processing skills, detail-oriented skills by observing and identifying evidence through magnifying glasses, public speaking skills by explaining their processes and results to others, and observation and writing skills by describing a mock death scene and evidence.
This course is designed primarily for those interested in criminal justice as a career and/or desire to learn more about the scientific investigative process. It is required for the Associate°s Degree in Criminal Justice at Portland Community College. Course work will include textbook reading, worksheets on the textbook reading, practical demonstration exercises, lecture/group discussions, videos, student presentations, guest speakers, instantaneous quizzes, and pre-announced multiple choice, true/false, and short essay examinations.

Intended Outcomes for the course

  • Recognize and collect crime scene evidence
  • Analyze evidence using scientific reasoning
  • Properly sketch a crime scene

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Examinations, practical exercises.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

This course will address topics including, but not limited to:

  • Definition and scope of Forensic Science
  • History of Forensic Science
  • Crime Lab Capabilities
  • Crime Scene searching, analyzing, processing, sketching
  • Legal considerations at crime scenes
  • Definition of physical evidence
  • Comparison and identification of physical evidence
  • Class vs. individual evidence
  • Metric measurement
  • Glass, soil, hairs, fibers, and paint evidence
  • Fingerprint evidence recognition, methods, and processing
  • Toxicology
  • Ballistics, tool marks, shoe-sole impressions
  • Blood evidence, DNA and other areas of Forensic Serology