TCNJ Home : School of Science : Dept. of Chemistry : Forensic Chemistry : Forensic Chem @ TCNJ : CHE-360 Syllabus
CHE-360 Forensic Chemistry: Syllabus
This course approaches the challenges, methods and analyses of forensic science from a fundamental, chemical perspective. Topics include drug analysis, arson investigation, questioned document analysis, and the analysis of paint and gunshot residue samples.
For students interested in pursuing careers in Forensic Chemistry, the course helps the student to develop approaches to understanding, correctly using and further developing current chemical tools that are used in the Forensic Sciences. The course will be a required course for the Forensic Chemistry Concentration.
Two semesters of Organic Chemistry, one semester of Analytical Chemistry and one semester of Physical Chemistry are the prerequisites for the course.
This is a required course for students in the B.S. Chemistry program who are also completing the Forensic Chemistry Concentration. It can also be taken, based on availability, but students from other departments, if they have the prerequisites.
Lecture topics include:
Laboratory Experiences and Topics
Formal lectures, targeted discussions and laboratory experiences will be used. Methods learned will be applied in the investigation of a ‘crime scene’ on campus at the end of the course.
Students will be required to demonstrate a fundamental ability to question the chemical tools of forensic science, and to define approaches for developing their own chemical understanding – based on conceived experiments and literature investigations.
The course grade will be computed as follows:
quizzes will be given, the grade will be based on the 4 highest quiz grades
Comprehensive Final Exam 20%
Laboratory Reports 40%
Class Participation 10%
Forensic Chemistry Notebook 10%
will be given in class, during the last 30 minutes of a class period. Quiz topics
will be announced in advance. The final exam will cover the entire lecture and
lab experience. Each lab will be accompanied by specific instructions on both
how to complete the lab experience, and what is expected in the laboratory report.
Throughout the course, investigations into lecture topics will lead to a number of fundamental chemical questions, with the theme being ‘how does this work?’ Students will be sent on ‘chemical treasure hunts’ to collect information relevant to the chemical system, and a ‘round table discussion’ will occur in the next class period to present findings and reach new conclusions. Groups of four will be assigned to lead the discussion and process. Based on performance, effectiveness, reasoning skills, etc., a class participation grade will be assigned. The instructor will make regular assessments of this portion of the grade, and make clear what expectations there are for full credit in this category. Finally, throughout the course, class and lab topics will reveal ‘things a forensic scientist needs to know’. For example, it is useful to understand the chemical structures and functions of compounds found in materials found in the household (shampoo, gasoline, cleaning materials). Assignments will be regularly made and information found will be kept in the student’s forensic chemistry notebook. These notebooks will be collected four times throughout the semester to ensure that the assignments are being completed.