CCST9010 Science, Technology and Big Data
The Science of Crime Investigation

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)

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

[This is a certified Communication-intensive (Ci) Course which meets all of the requirements endorsed by HKU’s Senate, including i) the teaching and assessment of visual and digital communication ‘literacies’; and ii) at least 40% of the course grade assigned to communication-rich assessment tasks.]

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 communication and collaboration skills in working with students from different backgrounds.
  4. Demonstrate awareness of the importance of professional standards and ethical practices.
  5. Recreate the crime scene by accurately and coherently interpreting scientific evidence, and communicate the findings effectively in visual and written means.

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 assignment 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. [Chaps. 1 & 2]
  • Vanezis, P., & Busuttil, A (1996). Suspicious death scene investigation. London: Arnold. [Chap. 1]
  • Lee, H. C., Palmbach, T., & Miller, M. T. (2001). Henry Lee’s crime scene handbook. San Diego, CA; London: Academic. [Chaps. 1-7]

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 2685
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr S.L. Beh
Department of Pathology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 2255 2685
Dr W. S. C. Chan
Department of Pathology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine