Minor in Forensic Science

The Minor in Forensic Science aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles behind the application of scientific techniques to forensic investigations and to the criminal justice system. Advances in basic scientific research have had a rapid and dramatic impact in these fields and it is only through an understanding of these fundamental scientific concepts that the legal system may be effective in criminal investigations.This Minor offers a strong complementary training in criminal justice to students from all disciplines. Undergraduates from all Faculties/Schools are welcome to apply.

To be awarded the Minor, the following requirements are to be fulfilled:

Minor Component

Minor in Forensic Science Requirements

Cumulative Minor MC

Essential Modules (12 MC)

Pass the following THREE modules.

  • LSM1306 Forensic Science
  • SP3202 Evidence in Forensic Science
  • CM3301 Advanced Forensic Science

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Elective Modules (12 MC)

Pass 12MC modules from the following list of modules, including:
a) A maximum of 4MC from Level 1000 modules.
b) A minimum of 4MC from Level 4000 modules (for Cohort AY2017/18 onwards)

  • SP4261 Articulating Probability and Statistics in Court
  • SP4262 Forensic Human Identification
  • SP4263 Forensic Toxicology and Poisons
  • SP4264 Criminalistics: Evidence and Proof
    [This is a 2MC module. Please complete an equivalent of 12MC of elective modules for the purpose of Minor requirements fulfilment.]
  • SP4265 Criminalistics: Forgery Exposé with Forensic Science
    [This is a 2MC module. Please complete an equivalent of 12MC of elective modules for the purpose of Minor requirements fulfilment.]
  • SP4266 Forensic Entomology
  • FSC4206/LL4362V Advanced Criminal Litigation – Forensics on Trial
  • CM2101 Physical Chemistry 2
  • CM3242 Instrumental Analysis II
  • LSM1102 Molecular Genetics
  • LSM3211 Fundamental Pharmacology
  • PC1141 Introduction to Classical Mechanics
  • PR1110/A Foundations in Medicinal Chemistry
  • PR3116 Concepts in Pharmacokinetics & Biopharmaceutics
  • ST2334 Probability and Statistics; OR MA2216/ST2131 Probability
  • CM/FST/LSM/MA/PC/PR/ST/ZB3288 Advanced UROPS I (forensic science related; subject to approval of Minor programme coordinator)

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Note:
Please take note that the double-counting between a Major and this Minor in Forensic Science is up to 8MC or typically two modules only. Please read sufficient additional modules to fulfill the two programmes.

 

Application

This is a restricted Minor and application is open to undergraduate students from all disciplines. Applicants should have passed or are reading LSM1306 and have obtained or expecting a good grade for the module, and preferably a CAP of at least 3.5. Successful entry to the Minor is subject to approval. The application to join the Minor should be made by the start of the fifth semester of the undergraduate candidature.

Application is via EduRec. Please refer to the Academic Plan Application/Declaration (APAD) website for more details.

To join the Minor in Semester 2 of AY2020/21, please submit the application start of reading week to end of first week of examinations (i.e. from 14 Nov to 28 Nov 2020).

For enquiry on Minor in Forensic Science, you may contact the Programme Coordinator, Assoc Prof Stella Tan dbstwls@nus.edu.sg.

 

Specially designed modules for Minor in Forensic Science

Crime is one feature of human behaviour that fascinates our community. How crimes impact our society and how crimes are investigated and solved in the Singapore context is the focus of the module. The module is designed to enable students to appreciate why and how crimes are committed, to understand how crimes are solved in Singapore using investigative, and the latest scientific and forensic techniques, and to learn the role of the major stakeholders in the Criminal Justice System. Experts from law, pharmacy, statistics, the Health Sciences Authority and the Singapore Police Force will cover topics related to forensic science.

This module covers forensic identification, criminalistics, DNA profiling, narcotics and toxicology. Topics on forensic identification and criminalistics includes crime scene investigation, nature of physical evidence, characteristics of evidence, an in-depth study of glass and fibre as sources of evidence in criminalistics investigations. For DNA profiling, this module would focus on screening methods for biological materials, the various instrumentation platforms and the application of forensic DNA in Singapore crime cases. In narcotics, the topics covered include forensic drug analysis and legislation, clandestine drug manufacturing, drug metabolism and analysis of urine for drug abuse. For toxicology, an in-depth study of toxicological analysis will be covered.

This module introduces students to Singapore’s basic criminal laws, evidence and procedures. The module also focuses on the scene of the crime and evidence found there. Topics include crime scene protocols, recognition, collection and preservation of evidence.

Probability and statistics provide powerful tools for quantifying the weight of forensic evidence. These quantities often come along with associated assumptions and need to be interpreted and articulated in a manner that is easily understood. Students will learn the necessary probability and statistical techniques in quantifying forensic evidence and error evaluation metrics. The fallacies and errors in interpreting results of selected forensic topics such as paternity testing and representative drug sampling will be covered. Additionally, students will learn the art of articulating these quantitative findings to non-scientists through real case studies involving DNA evidence, illegal drugs, forensic toxicology and criminalistics.

Ever wondered how DNA Evidence makes its way from the crime scene to the courtroom? This module is delivered in an interactive seminar-style format, where students will experience first-hand challenges and practical usage relating to Forensic DNA Evidence. Students will undergo practicals to learn the entire chain of forensic DNA techniques, from collection, characterisation, and storage to processing DNA Evidence. Students will also play the role of expert witnesses for the prosecution or defence based on evidence gathered at mock trials. Students will appreciate the importance of DNA as part of a toolkit used for individualisation in forensic investigations.

Ever wondered how much of the coffee you consumed is subsequently metabolised? Find out using forensic toxicology! This multi-disciplinary module aims to support medical and legal investigation into the cause of death, poisoning and adverse responses to substances. Drawing from the foundational principles in toxicokinetics, students will be able to (1) study the physicochemical properties of substances and their effect(s) on the host and (2) consider the toxicological outcomes of exposure due to the unique handling of substances by organ systems. The lectures will conclude with real-life applications led by practitioners.

The central dogma of Forensic Science is “every contact leaves a trace”, popularly known as the Locard’s principle. However, in reality, juxtaposed against this central dogma is that evidence of absence is not necessary absence of evidence. To scintillate the bridge between science and law, which is exactly what forensic science is, this interactive module will be taught in three parts, 1)proof beyond a reasonable doubt; 2) not all evidence are proof; and 3) evidence of absence is not absence of evidence.

Forgery is a perennial problem and exists everywhere – in fake jewellery, counterfeit medications, fake death to scam insurance, fake signatures. The question this module seeks is how do we use forensic science to expose forgery for justice to be meted out. Students will learn fundamental scientific concepts and will apply them in case studies, such as establishing anachronism in cheques and wills; determining whether the person is dead or alive when an insurance payout for his death was made and if the gold bars which were stolen were indeed gold.

This module introduces students to forensic entomology, the study of insects for medicolegal issues, which has been dated back to China in the 13th century. Studying these forensically important insects is useful in estimating post-mortem intervals. Legal implications will be explored using various case studies. A 5-day field course is incorporated and will be conducted by the forensic entomologist expert in Medical Faculty, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Kuala Lumpur. Students will also visit the Entomology Unit and the Forensic Laboratory in KL. Students will observe the progression of decomposition and be exposed to the different families of forensically important flies.

Forensic science can play a large part in criminal litigation, from DNA and fingerprint evidence to the detection of forgery. Forensic scientists can play a significant role by presenting evidence in a trial, and effective trial lawyers should be equipped with the skills and knowledge to manage, present, and challenge forensic evidence. This interdisciplinary module brings law and science undergraduates together to equip them with key communication and analytical skills to present forensic evidence in Court in the most effective way. Key topics covered include advance trial techniques, the law of evidence, and aspects of forensic science.