Forensics and Criminal Behavior

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, and Spring 2018 quarters

Taught by

biology, genetics, microbiology
sociology, gender studies


Although there are no prerequisites for this program, proficiency in high school algebra and science is strongly recommended.

How can we think analytically and critically about crime in America? Why is crime such a central focus in modern American society? How is a crime scene analyzed? How are crimes solved? How can we prevent violent crime and murder? This program will integrate sociological and forensic science perspectives in order to investigate crime and societal responses to it. We will explore how social and cultural factors including race, class, and gender are associated with crime and criminal behavior. In addition, we will consider criminological theories and explore how social scientists can help identify offenders through criminal profiling and forensic psychology.

Through our forensics investigations, we will learn biology, chemistry, pathology, and physics. We will study evidentiary techniques for crime scene analysis, such as the examination of fingerprints, DNA, blood spatter, fibers, glass fractures and fragments, hairs, ballistics, teeth, bones, and body remains. Students will learn hands-on laboratory and field approaches to the scientific methods used in crime scene investigation. They will also learn to apply analytical, quantitative, and qualitative skills to the collection and interpretation of evidence. Students can expect seminars, labs, lectures, guest speakers, and workshops, along with both individual and group project work.

This is an introductory program about science; critical thinking; and the perspectives of sociology, chemistry, and biology as applied to crime analysis. Students interested in developing their skills in scientific inquiry, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary studies should consider this program. Students who may not consider themselves to be "science" students are encouraged to enroll.

Internship Opportunities

With faculty approval, students may engage in limited (e.g., 4-credit) winter and/or spring internships with organizations that work to prevent crime, violence, incarceration, and their effects on individuals, families, and communities.

Program Details

Fields of Study

biology chemistry mathematics sociology writing

Preparatory For

biology, chemistry, criminalistics, criminal justice, education, forensic science, general science, and sociology


Fall Open Winter Open Spring Closed

Location and Schedule

Final Schedule and Room Assignment

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Monday, September 25 at 9am (Sem II D1105)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

May be offered again in