10 Courses on Investigation and Forensic Science

The nature of crimes is constantly evolving and criminals have been resorting to different means for accomplishing their motives. The following are ten courses that one can pursue to know more about different investigative processes, the science behind forensic analysis and how anyone with an interest in a criminal investigation can understand how experts investigate and come to conclusions during criminal investigations.

Global Muckraking: Investigative Journalism and Global Media

Journalism has helped humans fight wrongdoings and injustice for a long time and helped us bring about several social and political changes. This course will help students understand exactly how journalism could be used to bring about such change by simply increasing awareness amongst people. The course is being offered to students by Columbia University and is an introductory course that can be completed in about 5 weeks. In this course, students will delve deep into investigative journalism while understanding how journalists help by being government and corporate watchdogs. Students will look at several instances where reporters have uncovered injustice in the past and also understand the current trends in media in the context of journalism.

Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation

Would you be able to solve a case if all you had was a few eyewitnesses? This course will help you answer this question and is ideal for anyone with an interest in criminal investigation or psychology but requires no prior experience. The course is being offered by the Open University and can be completed in 8 weeks. Some topics that will be covered in the course are eyewitness testimony, witness memory, interviewing witnesses, facial recognition, visual identification, and inattentional blindness and observing criminal incidents. By the end of this course, students will understand the relationship between the limitations of the human brain and miscarriages of justice while also understanding the different types of mistakes the human brain can make. Students will be able to develop their investigative skills and understand criminal investigation better.

Fraud Investigation: Making a Difference

This is a unique course where students get to learn with the City Police of London the different skills that are required to fight fraud. The course is ideal for people in the UK who would like to protect themselves and others from fraud but some concepts are applicable globally as well. The course is being offered by Coventry University in association with the City Police of London and can be completed in 2 weeks. In this course, students will explore the different enablers of fraud, understand the psychology of fraud criminals, interpret the commonly occurring fraud types, etc. Students will also learn how to implement the Fraud Investigation Model while also learning about the principles while working with fraud victims.

International Law in Action: A Guide to the International Courts and Tribunals in the Hague

International Law in Action is a course through which students will be able to understand the functions of each international court and how tribunals present in Hague deal with modern-day problems. The course is being offered by the Universiteit Leiden and can be completed by students in 18 hours. In this course, students will begin by learning why international courts were created and also identify the community of international courts present in Hague. Students will learn about the international courts of justice; history, characteristics and processes in international arbitration; international criminal courts and ongoing cases while also focusing on state consent, law, politics and global values.

Computer Forensics

This course is a part of the MicroMasters Program in cybersecurity that is being offered by the Rochester Institute of Technology. This is an advanced level course where students will learn the process, techniques and tools used to perform investigative computer forensics. Over 8 weeks, students will learn about the different processes involved in computer forensics and also understand the different ethical and legal implications that come along with it. Students will learn about court admissibility of investigative procedures, how to perform digital forensics on different operating systems, reviewing other forensic reports and also identify the best tools and applications available for the same.

Hot Topics in Criminal Justice

This course is specific to the criminal justice system in the US and seeks to educate students about issues like mass incarceration and death penalty by those who have been handed undue power. The course is being offered by Vanderbilt University and can be completed in 19 hours. Students will learn about the different incarceration rates worldwide and compare it with America while looking at the reasons behind it; the purpose of punishment; the autonomy principle; sentencing factors; defenses based on mental disability and the economics of death penalty amongst several other topics. Post completion of the course, students will be able to suggest how incarceration can be reduced, understand some of the reasons innocent people are wrongly convicted and also list down the different technologies available to the police and the constitutional principles governing their use.

Forensic Facial Reconstruction: Finding Mr. X

This very interesting course is based on a real criminal case where forensic science was used to determine the face of a badly decomposed body to identify who the person was. The course is being offered by the University of Sheffield where students will learn the forensic reconstruction of faces in approximately 2 weeks. Students will learn about forensic anatomy, how to determine a skeleton’s gender and ethnicity by studying the skull, the different muscle groups in the face and the order in which they are applied to reconstruct the face. Students will also look at the different situations where facial reconstruction might be necessary and how facial reconstruction fits into the bigger picture of criminal investigation.

Forensic Science and Criminal Injustice

This free online course will help students look at the history of forensic science and how the police apply this science in forensic investigations. Students who would like to assist the police investigations by understanding them better or just have an interest in understanding forensic science in criminal investigation would find this course ideal. The course is being offered by the University of Leicester and can be completed by students in 6 weeks. In this course, students will learn about the different forensic techniques and their implications and applications in the criminal justice system, the portrayal of forensic science and the controversies surrounding them. They will also be able to determine what the future of forensic science looks like and where it is headed.

Identifying the Dead: Forensic Science and Human Identification

Post completion of this course, students will know how humans can be identified from their skeletal remains and what are the factors that can be determined. The course is being offered by the University of Dundee and can be completed in approximately 6 weeks. Students will learn how to identify victims through biological profiling, how facial construction is done and how one can determine if the person had been subjected to trauma before death. In this course, students will be able to streamline processes from the crime scene to the courtroom, learn about excavation, location and examination of unofficial burials.

Forensic Engineering: Learning from Failures

Investigating previous failures to understand their causes so that they can be avoided in the future forms the crux of this course. The course is being offered to students by the Delft University of Technology and can be completed by students in 6 weeks. In this course, students will look at several cases from building engineering, aerospace engineering and biomechanical engineering to understand technical and procedural causes of failure so that they can perform internal forensic investigations better. The course has been put together keeping safety issues, failure investigations and forensics in mind and is quite different from the nature of the courses mentioned above.

All of the courses mentioned above can be audited for free but for a few of them, a fee may be required to avail the certificate. The language of instruction for all the courses is English with subtitles in different languages. For some courses, students can also apply for financial aid if eligible.