Professional Course

Forensic Science: DNA Analysis

edX, Online
5 weeks
199 USD
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
5 weeks
199 USD
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
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Course description

Forensic Science: DNA Analysis

Have you always wanted to learn more about forensic science and crime scene investigation? Are you a fan of books, podcasts and shows featuring true crimes? Do you work or aspire to work in law enforcement, public policy, science or research and gain an understanding of DNA analysis?

In this course you will be given a clear introduction to both genetics and forensic science by geneticist expert Dr. Susan Gurney.

From understanding the different types of DNA to how DNA is collected and examined at a crime scene, this course offers you an opportunity to understand the science (molecular biology) and techniques employed by forensic scientists.

Case studies will delve into real life examples of criminal investigations where biological evidence, genetics and forensic DNA analysis was used to solve the investigation and also where genetics and forensic DNA analysis was used to exonerate people who have been imprisoned for a crime they did not commit.

You will appreciate not only how genetics has changed over the years and the effects that this has had on forensic investigation, but also how future advances in genetics might affect both future criminals and investigations.

Verified Track students will also have the opportunity to create their own crime scene casebook, and attend webinars with the Tutor.

Upcoming start dates

1 start date available

Start anytime

  • Self-paced Online
  • Online
  • English

Who should attend?


This course is open to everyone, and you don’t need any previous knowledge or experience of the subject to attend.

Training content

Introduction to Forensic Genetics

  • A basic understanding of genetics
  • What is genetics
  • What is DNA
  • Structure of DNA
  • Basics of inheritance
  • An understanding of forensic science
  • What is the role of a forensic scientist
  • An understanding of the role of genetics in forensic science

Collecting and Examining DNA

  • An understanding of how DNA can be identified at a crime scene
  • An understanding of which samples might contain DNA (human DNA, plant DNA, animal DNA)
  • Knowledge of how DNA can be extracted from a cell
  • Knowledge of the types of analysis which can be completed using DNA
    • DNA extraction
    • Polymerase chain reaction
    • Restriction fragment length polymorphism
    • DNA extraction from a single cell

DNA Profiling

  • Knowledge of how to analyze a DNA profile
  • Knowledge of the statistical analysis relating to DNA profiles
  • Knowledge of how to confirm or disprove a DNA profile match
  • An understanding of how the statistics used during course cases (for example, one in a billion chance of the DNA belonging to someone else) is calculated
  • An understanding of the differences in DNA between unrelated individuals and family members

Other Types of DNA

  • Knowledge of mitochondrial DNA, its structure and mode of inheritance
  • An understanding of the use of mtDNA in forensic cases involving identification
  • Knowledge of chloroplast DNA
  • An understanding of the use of chloroplast DNA in forensic cases

Ethical Issues Relating to DNA

  • An understanding of the information contained within the DNA database
  • Knowledge of the ethics issues relating to the database
  • An understanding of how familial searches can be used to aid a forensic investigation.

Course delivery details

This course is offered through University of Cambridge, a partner institute of EdX.

2-5 hours per week


  • Verified Track -$199
  • Audit Track - Free

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of genetics
  • Understand how genetics can be utilized in a forensic investigation
  • Study the ethical issues surrounding genetics and its use in forensic science, for example the National DNA Database

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141 Portland Street
02139 Cambridge Massachusetts


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