CCST9010 Scientific and Technological Literacy
The Science of Crime Investigation

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]


Non-Permissible Combination:
CCST9030 Forensic Science: Unmasking Evidence, Mysteries and Crimes

Course Description

This course introduces students to the scientific, legal and ethical concepts that underpin forensic science. Forensic science spans all scientific disciplines such as anthropology, biology, chemistry, computing, medicine, physics, etc. Students will explore and develop an understanding of the principles of forensic science through an overview as well as more topic-specific lectures, and experience hands-on tutorials involving scientific analysis of forensic evidence. Knowledge gained will be applied and assessed through individual tasks as well as a collaborative project on an assigned case.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the basic rules that define science and apply them to crime investigation.
  2. Analyze and integrate various sources of data and understand their validity and limitations when used to support or negate a hypothesis.
  3. Display interpersonal communication and collaboration skills in working with students from different backgrounds.
  4. Demonstrate awareness of the importance of professional standards and ethical practices.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 8
Case-based inquiry (incl self-directed learning) 40
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 12
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 30
Assessment: Development of case file 10
Total: 120

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Written assignments 30
Problem-based Learning tutorials 20
Analysis and preparation of a case file 20
Presentation case analysis and conclusions 30

Required Reading

  • Pyrek, K. M. (2007). Forensic pathology under siege: The challenges of forensic laboratories and the medico-legal death investigation system (1st ed.). London: Elsevier. [Chapters 1 & 2]
  • Vanezis, P., & Busuttil, A (1996). Suspicious death scene investigation. London: Arnold. [Chapter 1]
  • Lee, H. C., Palmbach, T., & Miller, M. T. (2001). Henry Lee’s crime scene handbook. San Diego, CA; London: Academic. [Chaps. 1-7]

Recommended Reading

  • Barnett, P. D. (2001). Ethics in forensic science: Professional standards for the practice of criminalistics. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
  • Collected writings on the washing away of wrongs. Chinaculture.org. From http://www1.chinaculture.org/library/2008-01/31/content_26879.htm
  • Fisher, J. (2008). Forensics under fire: Are bad science and dueling experts corrupting criminal justice? New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Recommended Websites


Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr S.L. Beh
Department of Pathology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 2255 4863
Email: philipbeh@pathology.hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr S.L. Beh
Department of Pathology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 2255 4863
Email: philipbeh@pathology.hku.hk
Dr W. S. C. Chan
Department of Pathology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel:
Email: wincy@hku.hk