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FSCS Course Descriptions

View the schedule of classes to determine course offerings by semester.

  • FSCS 301 Forensic Science (3)

    Introduces students to forensic-science topics, including crime-scene processing, fingerprints, firearms and toolmarks, questioned documents, serology, fire and ex plosives, trace evidence, pathology and instrumental analysis. Lectures, demonstrations and basic laboratory exercises are used to present the subject matter.
  • FSCS 307 Crime Scene Investigation (3)

    Focuses on the scientific techniques used to investigate different types of crime scenes, including burglaries, murders, rapes, arsons and bombings. Students learn to recognize, identify, collect, preserve, transport, record and process physical evidence such as body fluids, body fluid stains, items of trace evidence, tire and shoe impressions, latent fingerprints, weapons and tools. Laboratory fee required.
  • FSCS 400 Laboratory Safety and Quality Assurance (3)

    Introduces students to the various principles of safety and quality assurance in a forensic laboratory. Laboratory safety topics include OSHA standards, material safety data sheets (MSDS), workplace safety, personal protective equipment, employer liability and employee responsibilities. Quality assurance topics include quality concepts and quality assurance principles, documentation, document control, standard operating procedures, proficiency testing, validation standards, test standards, instrument calibration, instrument maintenance, auditing principles, laboratory accreditation and analyst certification. prerequisites: Biology I, Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, and Physics I and II
  • FSCS 401 Trace Evidence I (4)

    Introduces methods of collecting, handling, preparing, identifying and comparing items of trace evidence. Topics include hairs, fibers, fabric, cordage, tape, glass, paint, paint chips, wood, vegetation, soil and other items requiring microscopic examination. Laboratory fee required. prerequisites: Biology I, Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II, and FSCS 400, 405 and 407
  • FSCS 403 Trace Evidence II (4)

    A continuation of Trace Evidence I, this course focuses on items of trace evidence requiring instrument analysis. Topics include flammable liquids, explosives, bank dyes, plastics, polymers, gunshot residue, metals and natural elements. Laboratory fee required. prerequisites: Biology I, Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II, and FSCS 400, FSCS 401, FSCS 405 and FSCS 407
  • FSCS 404 Arson Investigation and Glass Analysis (4)

    An introduction to the theory and practice of arson investigation through use of gas chromatography and to the theory and practice of glass analysis through lab use of the GRIM III Refractive Index Measuring System. Laboratory fee required. prerequisites: Biology I, Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II and FSCS 400 and FSCS 407

  • FSCS 405 Microscopy (4)

    Provides instruction in the methods of collecting, handling, preparing, identifying and comparing items of trace evidence. Topics include use of the stereomicroscope, compound microscope, comparison microscope, microspectrophotometer, scanning electron mi cro scope, polarizing microscope, fluorescent microscope and hot-stage microscope. These methods are demonstrated, and students conduct hands-on analyses of ma terials using some of this equipment. Labora tory fee required. prerequisites: Biology I, Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, and Physics I and II; prerequisite or co-requisite: FSCS 400
  • FSCS 407 Instrumental Analysis (4)

    The use of scientific instruments in forensic testing. Lectures and laboratories cover instrumentation theory, data systems, method development and qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques. Techniques discussed include gas chromatography (GC), liquid chromatography (LC), thin-layer chromatography (TLC), ion chromatography (IC), capillary electrophoresis (CE), infrared spectrometry (IR), mass spectrometry (MS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Laboratory fee required. prerequisites: Biology I, Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II, and FSCS 400 and FSCS 405
  • FSCS 409 Drug Analysis (4)

    Introduces the scheduling of controlled substances and presents their analysis by crystal tests, color tests and instrumental techniques. prerequisites: Biology I, Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II, and FSCS 400 and FSCS 407

  • FSCS 410 Forensic Serology (4)

    Exposes students to both the theoretical and practical aspects of forensic serology. At the end of the course, students will have gained practical experience and will have a comprehensive knowledge of techniques presently being used in the forensic examination of body fluids. Laboratory fee required. prerequisites: Biology I, Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II, and FSCS 400 and FSCS 405
  • FSCS 418 Mathematical Applications in Police Science (3)

    Introduces the various uses and applications of mathematics in law enforcement. Students learn to interpret and construct graphs and tables, calculate clearance rates and conduct trend analysis. The basics of operational research are explored relative to the needs of law enforcement. Probabilities and statistical techniques, which provide the basis for DNA interpretation, are addressed.
  • FSCS 424 Fourth Amendment: Interpretation and Application (3)

    Covers the doctrines and cases inherent in and arising from the Fourth Amendment: the law of arrest, search and seizure, standing, forfeiture and derivative evidence. Organized as a topical analysis, the course identifies the elements of each constitutional area and references major federal and state cases to illustrate the application and source of the rules.
  • FSCS 426 Innovative Investigative Techniques (3)

    Advanced techniques and strategies designed to further aid in investigating serious or complex crimes are presented. Particular attention is paid to the procedural aspects of police activity as they relate to the admissibility of evidence in state and federal prosecutions. Content includes improvements to basic investigative skills and a discussion of alternative tactics. Also covered are the necessary, suggested and explicit requirements for a federal Title III investigation and a Maryland wiretap investigation.
  • FSCS 430 Specialty Warrants, Wiretaps and Historical Conspiracies (3)

    Focuses on the extreme recourses available to law enforcement in investigating serious offenders. Content includes the legalities involved in obtaining trap and trace devices, electronic and video surveillance and body wires. These investigative techniques are then combined with traditional investigative techniques to develop evidence of historical conspiracies against criminal organizations.
  • FSCS 440 Advanced Crime Scene Investigation (3)

    Introduces students to improved casting techniques, enhanced latent fingerprinting techniques and sophisticated new photographic techniques, which contribute to the complex procedures of protecting and analyzing a crime scene and gathering information via ever-expanding skills and technology. Laboratory fee required. prerequisite: FSCS 307
  • FSCS 454 Death Investigation (3)

    Presents the medical and legal investigation of death. The history and development of forensic pathology are considered. The course examines the manners of death, including homicide, suicide, accidental, natural and undetermined. Postmortem changes are also examined. The course is organized in a lecture series format. Lecture topics include sharp and blunt force trauma, thermal injuries, drowning, drug and alcohol abuse, pediatric forensics, gunshot injuries, asphyxia and motor vehicle trauma.
  • FSCS 455 Homicide Investigation (3)

    Analysis of homicide investigation from the viewpoint of the homicide detective exploring the legal issues and the practical use of interviews, interrogations, and medical and trace forensic evidence.

  • FSCS 456 Chemistry of Death (3)

    Explores the fate of the human body at the time of death to the decomposition of the body into the lithosphere. Study considers biochemical and physical processes involved in taphonomy.

  • FSCS 460 Forensic Photography (3)

    Familiarizes students with, and provides a basic understanding of, the camera (35mm, digital and video) with respect to crime scene analysis. Using photographic techniques, students learn how to document a crime scene and pertinent physical evidence including tire impressions, shoe prints, latent prints and blood spatter. In addition, students explore available light, flash, flash fill and painting-by-light processes. Students learn how to construct and maintain a photographic log and how to enter photographs into court as evidence. Students create a portfolio of their work. Laboratory fee required.
  • FSCS 462 Introduction to Document Examination (3)

    Focuses on the origins and styles of writing and materials used in writing and in the formation of documents. prerequisite: permission of the program director

  • FSCS 464 Handwriting Analysis (3)

    Introduction to the study of handwriting analysis as relevant to the forensic analysis of documents. prerequisite: permission of the program director

  • FSCS 466 Instrumental Analysis in Document Examination (4)

    Practical experience in using instrumental techniques to examine documents by spectral imaging and impression analysis. Laboratory fee required. prerequisites: FSCS 462, FSCS 464 and permission of the program director

  • FSCS 480 Forensic Documentation (3)

    Prepares students to document and manage cases properly from inception to successful conclusion. Students gain a basic understanding of investigative and forensic case documentation.
  • FSCS 482 Moot Court and Trial Advocacy for Forensics (3)

    Students learn courtroom presentation techniques designed to elicit direct, persuasive and comprehensive testimony as it relates to various evidentiary issues at criminal hearings and trials. Students prepare and present direct testimony and are cross-examined by attorneys in a simulated courtroom setting.
  • FSCS 484 Art and Forensics (3)

    An introduction to various styles of art and their analysis using forensic techniques. Security, storage and exhibition are examined. Laboratory fee required.

  • FSCS 487 Field Internship in Forensic Science (3)

    Provides field experience to students through laboratory assignments with various criminal justice entities. This requirement is completed at the end of the program. Eligible for continuing studies grade.
  • FSCS 493 Honors Seminar (3)

    An advanced interdisciplinary seminar that focuses on important books and issues and encourages independent thinking, clear presentation and an understanding of the concerns and methods of various disciplines. The course may be team taught; topic and instructor(s) may change from semester to semester. Course may be repeated for credit when topic changes. prerequisites: 3.3 GPA and permission of the Denit Honors Program director
  • FSCS 494 Honors Project (3-6)

    Directed individual instruction in an advanced project of a student's choice; the project must be academically related to this discipline. Each student works closely with a faculty director who guides his/her progress. The project must be of honors quality and must be finally approved by both the faculty director and a second faculty member. Course is eligible for a continuing studies grade. prerequisites: 3.3 GPA and permission of both the Denit Honors Program director and the faculty director
  • FSCS 496 Field Internship in Police Science (3)

    Broadens the educational experience of students through appropriate observational and work assignments with criminal investigation units. This requirement is completed at the end of the program. Eligible for continuing studies grade.
  • FSCS 497 Topics in Forensics (3)

    Examines special topics and issues in the field of forensics such as homicide investigation, blood spatter analysis, and forensic medicine and public health. Course may be repeated for credit when the topic changes.
  • FSCS 498 Laboratory Topics in Forensics (4)

    Examines special laboratory topics and issues in the field of forensics such as DNA analysis, questioned document examination and drug analysis. Course may be repeated for credit when the topic changes. Laboratory fee required. prerequisite: none unless listed in the class schedule