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Top 5 Online Courses to Learn More About Criminal Law and Justice

Psychology of Criminal Justice

The Psychology of Criminal Justice is a free online psychology course offered by the University of Queensland in Australia. The course gives students a chance to learn about the intersections of criminal justice and psychology by analyzing a real world criminal investigation. During each week of the eight-week class, students watch a video lecture that examines one aspect of the case. Topics include investigating the crime scene, interviewing the witness, identifying the suspect, questioning the suspect, getting ready for trial, and the trial. Deadlines are flexible, but the instructor suggests that most students devote 1 to 2 hours of study time to the course each week.

Introduction to International Criminal Law

Introduction to International Criminal Law is a free online law course offered by Case Western Reserve University in the United States. The course introduces students to the concept and features of criminal law, using real world examples to illustrate key points. Students complete a series of eight video lectures: History: From Nuremberg to The Hague; International Crimes Part 1: War Crimes, Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, and Torture; International Crimes Part 2: Terrorism and Piracy; Special modes of liability: command responsibility, co-perpetration, and incitement; Special defenses: insanity, obedience to orders, duress, and head of state immunity; Gaining custody of the accused: extradition, luring, abduction, and targeted killing; Pre-Trial Issues: plea bargaining, self-representation, and exclusion of torture evidence; and  Maintaining Control of the Courtroom. Although no previous legal coursework or work experience is necessary to enroll, students should be at a college level in terms of reading and writing skills. In addition to video lectures, the eight-week course includes group discussions and role-play activities.

Hot Topics in Criminal Justice

Hot Topics in Criminal Justice is a free online sociology course offered by Vanderbilt University in the United States. By the end of the class, students will be acquainted with various issues that are of concern among individuals working in criminal justice, social justice advocates and researchers. The course lasts for seven weeks and includes the following video lectures: Mass Incarceration; Punishment & Prevention; Insanity & Neuroscience; The Death Penalty; Police Use of Force; and Police Surveillance. At the end of the class, students complete a final quiz.

Forensic Science and Criminal Justice

Forensic Science and Criminal Justice is a free online science course offered by the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the history of forensic science and to help them understand how science influences criminal investigations and trials. Students will also have a chance to explore controversial issues in forensic science, such as biometric databases and the portrayal of crime scene investigation in popular media. The course lasts for six weeks and includes video lectures, assignments, and quizzes.

Human Rights and International Criminal Law: An Introduction

Human Rights and International Criminal Law: An Introduction is a free online human rights course offered by the University of Padova in Italy. The course can benefit anyone who has an interest in learning how international criminal law can both protect and hamper human rights, including students of law and international relations, human rights activists, and NGO officers. Students should expect to devote about six hours of study time to the coursework during each week of the six-week class.

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