Forensic Science for Writers

Learn the secrets behind forensic science and add new characters, depth, and marketability to your fiction.

Ready to add a new level of intrigue, characters, depth, zest, and marketability to your fiction? This course will provide you with a quick education in forensic science, revealing all the secrets you'll need to know in order to write about crimes and crime-solving with knowledge and confidence. You'll get to know the key players in a criminal investigation--the first responder, the lead investigator, and the crime scene experts--just the sort of people who make great characters. You'll explore how investigators analyze physical evidence, including blood, DNA, fingerprints, hair, documents, ammunition, and corpses. And you'll discover historical highlights and common misconceptions about forensic analysis that will help you avoid introducing errors that have sabotaged other films and novels.

for just $129.99.

Multiple Start Dates -


About Forensic Science for Writers

You've followed forensic investigators as they solve crimes in novels, movies, and TV shows, unearthing facts hidden from the normal human eye. And now you want forensics to play a starring role in your fiction, but you need a quick education on the subject. This course will reveal all the secrets you need to know in order to craft a gripping and realistic work of fiction.

During this six-week course, we'll explore how investigators analyze physical evidence, including blood, DNA, fingerprints, hair, documents, ammunition, and corpses. From the code-breaking tricks of the cyber-sleuth to the traditional procedures of the autopsy room, we'll look at the strengths and weaknesses of forensic technology. And we'll cover common misconceptions about forensic analysis found in films and novels, errors that you'll want to avoid in your own writing.

This course will also introduce you to the major players of a criminal investigation--the first responder, the lead investigator, and the crime scene experts--just the sort of people who make great characters. You'll meet forensic pioneers who can provide role models for fictional investigators. And you'll explore historical highlights of forensic crime detection, which will prove helpful when you write about historical periods other than our own.

Prerequisites & Requirements

Forensic Science for Writers


Hardware Requirements:

  • A basic knowledge of high school science, Internet access, e-mail, the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox web browser, and the Adobe Flash and PDF plugins (two free and simple downloads you obtain at by clicking Get Adobe Flash Player and Get Adobe Reader).



In this lesson, you'll discover how forensic evidence fuels a criminal investigation. We'll look at the many uses of forensic science—from the crime scene to the courtroom. And you'll find out about the professionals who extract clues from the scene of a crime: the first responder, lead investigator, crime scene specialists, and evidence analysts. You'll also find out how writers take advantage of the limitations of real forensic analysis to create plot twists.


Investigators find a reddish stain at a crime scene. Is it blood? If so, is it human blood? If it is human, then whose blood is it? In this lesson, you'll learn how forensic scientists examine blood chemistry to answer these questions. We'll also explore how experts reconstruct a crime scene using the physical characteristics of blood. This is the science of blood spatter analysis, which we'll explore in this lesson. You'll also become familiar with classification and individualization, processes that can link a victim, a crime scene, and the perpetrator.


The year 1986 marked the first time that a scientist used DNA analysis to aid a criminal investigation. Since then, DNA profiling has emerged as a vital tool of law enforcement. In this lesson, you'll discover the techniques that forensic scientists have employed to analyze DNA, including current tactics supported by extensive DNA databanks. You'll also learn a few tricks that your fictional villains can use to duck DNA analysis.


Edmond Locard, one of the true pioneers of forensic science, says that every contact leaves a trace. In this lesson, you'll see how trace evidence—hair, fibers, glass fragments, paint chips, and dirt—can link a suspect and a crime. We'll also see how fictional investigators have benefited from trace evidence analysis.


Do you know what a fire and an explosion have in common? Either can occur by accident or by design. And either may be used to commit a crime or to cover a crime. In this lesson, you'll discover how arson investigators determine the cause of a fire. Then, we'll explore techniques for examining the scene of an explosion. You'll also learn how your fictional protagonist can investigate a homicide-by-poison.


Forensic ballistics has played a role in criminal investigations for over 200 years. In this lesson, you'll learn how experts currently perform forensic examinations of firearms. You'll find out how investigators determine the type of weapon used in a crime and link ammunition fragments to a weapon. You'll also learn about methods that experts use to reconstruct a shooting. How should your fictional investigators inspect the scene of a shooting? What can the evidence suggest about the crime? You'll learn the answer here.


In this lesson, you'll see how experts scrutinize one of the oldest types of evidence used in criminal investigations: fingerprints. You'll find out how your fictional crime scene specialists can visualize hidden fingerprints, and how experts can distinguish one fingerprint from another. You've undoubtedly seen movies or TV programs that show computers conclusively matching a suspect with a fingerprint scan. But did you know this just doesn't happen in real life? In today's lesson, you'll find out the real role computers play in fingerprint analysis.


Fingers aren't the only things that leave impressions at crime scenes. Tools, feet, footwear, tires, palms, teeth, lips, and even ears leave prints, as well. Today, you'll learn how investigators use these marks, and which of these techniques are frowned upon most by judges. You'll also discover how some investigators scan a suspect's brain to examine a very different type of impression: those residing in memory.


In this lesson, you'll find out about two very different types of tracks: computer traces and audit trails. Computer forensic experts can use electronic evidence to establish that a crime has been committed or to link a crime with a victim or its perpetrator. You'll see how experts hunt down incriminating bits in a computer and the techniques used to thwart them. You'll also learn about forensic accounting, a specialty that has gained popularity in fact and in fiction.


Today, you'll explore the contributions forensic document examiners make to an investigation. You'll find out how experts detect hidden writing, date documents, link a document with the machine that created it, and unmask forgeries. You'll also learn how adding a document examiner to your story can be of benefit. You'll even get a tip or two about what your fictional investigators should avoid when examining paper evidence.


Do you know the difference between a coroner and a medical examiner? How do death investigators determine the time of death? You'll find out in this lesson. You'll also learn how investigators seek the identity of a corpse and uncover clues about the cause and manner of death.


In this lesson, you'll discover how an analysis of language and behavior can support a criminal investigation. We'll also survey some exciting new techniques on the horizon, explore a brief history of forensic science developments, and we'll even investigate some famous fictional forensic investigators. You'll even learn how the current popularity of forensic science-based fiction impacts criminal trials and writers.


Forensic Science for Writers Instructor

Phillip Jones

Phillip Jones, Ph.D., J.D., a former science and medicine instructor, has practiced extensively in both scientific and legal arenas. As a fulltime freelance writer, Jones has published over 100 articles that blend science, law, and history. He earned a certificate in forensics and has published articles on forensic science and historically prominent criminal investigators in Forensic Nurse Magazine, The Strand Magazine, The Forensic Center Newsletter, Today's Science, Forensic Magazine, and Law and Order Magazine, as well as a mystery story in Futuristic. His writings in forensic science earned him associate membership with the Mystery Writers of America.

Keep Learning

The ExpertRating Forensic Science for Writers is designed keeping in mind your comfort and convenience. You can access the course from anywhere, anytime. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or an always-on-the-go working professional, you can keep learning. Access it from your home computer, your tablet or your mobile phone – whatever or whenever is convenient for you.

When you choose the ExpertRating Forensic Science for Writers, you can be sure that you are choosing a respected certification that is recognized by hundreds of private employers in the US and other countries.

ExpertRating offers its training and testing services to some of the biggest and best companies in the world, such as Convergys Corp, UPS, GAP, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Coke, Citrix, IKEA Systems, Google and Ericsson, to name a few.


Life Coach Certificate

When you purchase the Forensic Science for Writers, you also receive the highly recognizable hard copy certificate at your physical address within 12-15 days of taking the exam.

  • The certificate can be used to prove your certified status and does not mention the word "online".
  • You will receive an online transcript that mentions your score and you can use it to prove your certified credentials on the internet or to employers and customers.
The Forensic Science for Writers is by far the "best value-for-money"
Forensic Science for Writers -- FOR JUST $129.99

Forensic Science for Writers - ExpertRating Advantages


At just $129.99, the ExpertRating Forensic Science for Writers is your 'best value-for-money' option for enrolling in a Life Coach Program. Payments can be made using all major credit cards or PayPal. All payments are through secure online transactions. ExpertRating is a PayPal verified seller with 200,000+ sales through PayPal.


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