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Forensic Science Online Courses

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    UF AffordableCourses with an asterisk have earned the Affordable UF badge by selecting required materials that cost less than $20 per credit hour.


    Our online forensic science programs are designed to meet the needs of today’s working professionals. There are several areas of concentration, many offering a graduate certificate or master’s degree option. To learn more, browse through the list of programs below and let us know if you have questions.

    Course Syllabus Catalog

    The general course policies and the most recent course syllabus catalog are available as a PDF for download here.


    All Courses

    PHA 6354 Natural Medicinal Products

    This course has been developed to introduce students to the procedures and processes associated with the production, isolation, characterization, and use of medicinal drugs of plant origin.

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    PHA 6417 Pharmaceutical Analysis II

    This course focuses on the characterization and the structural proof of drug compounds routinely encountered in forensic and pharmaceutical laboratories. Each module, accompanied by specific aims, will be supplemented with figures, animations, and links to appropriate websites that will provide the materials necessary for course completion. Grades will be based on performance on the assignments accompanying each module.

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    PHA 6425 Drug Biotransformation & Molecular Mechanisms of Toxicity

    This course provides a strong conceptual foundation of enzymology and mechanisms of drug biotransformation pathways. As a foundation for learning, we will provide examples of drugs and other xenobiotics that exhibit toxicity related to biotransformation. Students are expected to use information presented in each module to develop and complete given assignments.

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    PHA 6471 Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry

    This course focuses on the methods used in the synthesis of organic compounds with particular attention to medicinal products and illicit substances. Students are expected to utilize information presented in each module to develop and complete their module assignments. Other activities will include online discussions of course topics and current issues that relate to the synthesis of medicinal products and illicit substances.

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    PHA 6534 Toxicology of Chemical Weapons

    This 3-credit course is structured to comprehensively provide the student with the fundamental toxicologically relevant concepts of weapons that can be used to create mass casualties. These weapons are often called weapons of mass destruction, a term that is closely related to—but not synonymous with—mass-casualty weapons (a technically more appropriate term).

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    PHA 6535 Principles of Nucleotide Activity

    This course will introduce students to the chemical structure of DNA and RNA; the synthetic processes for DNA and RNA synthesis; biochemical reactions and pathways for nucleotide synthesis; DNA replication, transcription, and translation; covalent and reversible interactions of nucleic acids with small molecules and proteins; and an overview of techniques for the analysis of nucleic acids.

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    PHA 6840 Medicinal Chemistry of Drugs of Abuse*

    This course will introduce the students to the Controlled Substances Act; the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; chemical and pharmacological information relating to CNS depressants, stimulants, inhalants, and hallucinogenic drugs of forensic significance; and an overview of legal and forensic implications.

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    PHA 6850 Principles of Forensic Science

    This course is structured to introduce the basic disciplines of forensic science. The course is composed of 12 modules.

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    PHA 6851 Forensic Analysis of DNA

    This course will introduce students to the identification and evaluation of biological evidence in criminal matters using DNA technologies. This includes methods routinely used for the isolation of DNA from cells and techniques applied to DNA quantitation, electrophoretic separation, sequence determination, as well as data interpretation, analysis, and reporting.

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    PHA 6935 Forensic Analysis of DNA 2

    Forensic Analysis of DNA 2 is a continuation of PHA6851 Forensic Analysis of DNA where students learned about the methods routinely used for the isolation of DNA from cells and techniques applied to DNA quantitation, electrophoretic separation, as well as data analysis, interpretation and reporting. In DNA 2, students learn how to interpret DNA data to include mixture deconvolution and the statistics that apply to DNA matches/inclusions. Modules also guide the student through the basis of Y-STR and Kinship testing statistical applications. Students will also learn the report writing, review and testimony skills required of a DNA analyst.

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    PHA 6852 Mammalian Molecular Biology

    This course will focus on the principles of modern molecular biology and biochemistry and expand on the concepts you may have already encountered in other classes in this program. The content will also include the application of experimental techniques and procedures routinely used in this field.

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    PHA 6853 Biological Evidence and Serology

    This course is structured to provide the basic concepts of forensic serology as it applies to the collection, preservation, and testing of biological evidence. Each module will be supplemented with figures, animations, and links to appropriate web sites that will provide the materials necessary for course completion. This course will use an ongoing case study to reinforce concepts and to combine individual topics covered in each module.

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    PHA 6854 Forensic Immunology

    This course will introduce students to the principles of immunology, immunological techniques, and their application to forensic analyses.

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    PHA 6855 Forensic Genetics

    This is a foundation course in human molecular genetics designed to provide an understanding of basic genetic principles. This precursor to forensic DNA analysis will address some of the important issues in genetics including genome mapping and the role of gene dysfunction in disease.

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    PHA 6856 Blood Distribution and Spatter

    This course will address the principles of blood spatter creation and bloodstain interpretation as it pertains to biological evidence and will include processes for the appropriate recording, collection, and processing of bloodstains and blood spatter evidence.

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    PHA 6935 Advanced Criminalistics II

    This course is designed to provide in-depth knowledge of the following eight evidence categories: glass, textile fibers, paint, fire debris, explosives, firearm discharge residues, illicit drugs, and hair. Each standalone module introduces the evidence type and its forensic significance, details the relevant distinguishing and discriminating characteristics for the trace material in question, presents the analytical techniques commonly applied in the criminalistics laboratory, and discusses data interpretation and evidential value.

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    PHA 6935 Applied Statistics for Data Analysis

    Applied Statistics for Data Analysis provides students with the basic knowledge of how scientific evidence is classified and how statistical procedures are utilized to analyze data. This encompasses common descriptive measures such as the mean, standard deviation, and uncertainty of measurements, as well as comparative statistics that aim to compare two or more population means or perform simple linear regression.

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    PHA 6935 Biosecurity and Microbial Forensics

    This course is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the risks associated with intentional and unintentional release of biological agents and the systems and practices used to investigate, contain, or control these releases. Each module will introduce various aspects of biosecurity and microbial forensics, with a focus on the types of biological agents or situations that pose a potential security risk.

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    PHA 6935 Crime Scene Investigation

    A substantial amount of forensic evidence used in the prosecution of criminal cases is initially established at the crime scene. Recognising, detecting, recovering, preserving and recording this evidence forms a critical function within forensic science and criminal investigation. This course explores the main aspects of crime scene investigation, including: crime scene processes, recognition of evidence, documentation of crime scenes, evidence detection and enhancement, maintaining evidence integrity, and bloodstain pattern analysis. It also covers professional practices associated with evidence handling and case file management.

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    PHA 6935 Environmental Forensics I

    This course will introduce students to principles of environmental forensic science. In particular, you will learn about the transport and fate of chemicals in the environment. The environmental “crime scene” where pollution first occurs is often hundreds of kilometers away from the area most impacted by the pollution. Along the way, pollutants undergo changes as they interact with the environment. Linking a pollutant to its source involves understanding and quantifying these changes.

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    PHA 6935 Environmental Forensics II

    This course will advance the knowledge gained in Environmental Forensics I with case studies drawn from actual contamination events. There are four case studies or modules which have been prepared with assistance from practitioners in the field of environmental forensic science. They are enquiry-based learning modules, which will require students to interpret data and synthesize information from a number of sources, drawing upon subject matter from different disciplines. The learning outcomes for this course are therefore of a higher order than those for Environmental Forensics I.

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    PHA 6935 Fingerprint Detection and Identification

    This course provides a detailed understanding of the scientific methodologies applied to the detection, enhancement and identification of fingerprint evidence in a forensic context. The detection methods presented cover all of the current optical, physical and chemical techniques, as well as an insight into new approaches that are likely to have an impact over the next decade. The generally-accepted ACE-V methodology for fingerprint identification is discussed, together with the application of Bayesian statistics that has gained momentum as a preferred assessment method for this form of forensic evidence.

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    PHA 6935 Forensic Anthropology I

    This course will provide an introduction to the basic knowledge of human anatomy and osteology, including human remains recovery and laboratory processes that are required for a forensic anthropologist. Each module will substitute the hands-on experience typically found in a laboratory setting by presenting carefully selected photographs and illustrated materials that will familiarize students with the practice of the discipline.

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    PHA 6935 Introduction to Forensic Medicine 2

    This course gives knowledge and understanding of all relevant medical concepts, techniques, and methods so that the student has sufficient competence to interpret human diseases, conditions, and behavior in a forensic setting. The organizational structures involved in the practice of forensic medicine both locally and internationally, how forensic medicine relates to the wider context of society and how it contributes towards improving that society are all issues that will be covered in this course.

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    PHA 6935 Metabolic Biochemistry

    This book-based course will introduce students to the principles of anabolic and catabolic pathways and cellular energy efficiency. The course also provides an understanding of the biological, physical, and chemical processes for each reaction pathway.

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    PHA 6935 Organic Structure Elucidation

    This course introduces the use of spectroscopic methods and tools (IR, NMR, MS, UV) for the accurate determination of molecular structure. This skill is essential for chemists in many areas, such as medicinal chemistry, process chemistry, natural products chemistry, forensic chemistry, and many other subspecialties of analytical chemistry. This course will prepare students with an up-to-date presentation of the tools used for the advanced analysis and structure elucidation of organic molecules.

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    PHA 6936 Literature Survey (DNA and Serology)

    This 2-credit course involves the completion of a term paper on a relevant topic of DNA & serology or a closely related topic. Students will research the scientific literature available to them online, through UF’s e-journals, appropriate websites, and other relevant sources. Students will prepare a fully referenced term paper in no less than 5,000 words on a relevant subject approved by the course instructor.

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    PHA 6936 Literature Survey (Drug Chemistry)

    This 1-credit course involves the completion of a term paper on a relevant topic of drug chemistry. Students will research scientific literature available to them online, through UF’s e-journals, and other relevant sources. Students will prepare a fully referenced term paper in no less than 3,500 words on a drug chemistry-related subject approved by the course instructor.

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    PHA 6936 Literature Survey (Forensic Science)

    This 2-credit course involves the completion of a term paper on a relevant topic of forensic science. Students will research scientific literature available to them online, through UF’s e-journals, and other relevant sources. Students will prepare a fully referenced term paper in no less than 5,000 words on a forensic science-related subject approved by the course instructor.

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    PHA 6936 Special Topics in DNA and Serology

    This 1-credit course consists of online, proctored, comprehensive final examinations in fulfillment of the MS program requirements. These closed-book exams will be taken online via ProctorU and our e-learning system. Students should register for this course in their final semester.

    The University of Florida requires that you are registered for the following number of credits during the term you are graduating: Summer term: 2 credit hours; Fall/Spring term: 3 credit hours. Since the Special Topics course is only 1 credit, you will need to be sure you meet the credit requirement as noted above.

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    PHA 6936 Special Topics in Drug Chemistry

    This 1-credit course consists of online, proctored, comprehensive final examinations in fulfillment of the MS program requirements. These closed-book exams will be taken online via ProctorU and our e-learning system. Students should register for this course in their final semester.

    The University of Florida requires that you are registered for the following number of credits during the term you are graduating: Summer term: 2 credit hours; Fall/Spring term: 3 credit hours. Since the Special Topics course is only 1 credit, you will need to be sure you meet the credit requirement as noted above.

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    PHA 6936 Special Topics in Forensic Science

    This 1-credit course consists of online, proctored, comprehensive final examinations in fulfillment of the MS program requirements. These closed-book exams will be taken online via ProctorU and our e-learning system. Students should register for this course in their final semester.

    The University of Florida requires that you are registered for the following number of credits during the term you are graduating: Summer term: 2 credit hours; Fall/Spring term: 3 credit hours. Since the Special Topics course is only 1 credit, you will need to be sure you meet the credit requirement as noted above.

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    VME 6602 General Toxicology

    This 3-credit course, which is primarily book-based, is structured to comprehensively provide the student with the fundamental concepts of toxicology as they relate to specific organ and tissue systems. We aim to supplement this information with online study guides, detailed module objectives and critical thinking exercises.

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    VME 6604 Literature Survey (Forensic Toxicology)

    This 2-credit course involves the completion of a term paper on a relevant topic of toxicology. Students will research scientific literature available to them online, through UF’s e-journals, and other relevant sources. Students will prepare a fully referenced term paper in no less than 5,000 words on a forensic toxicology-related subject approved by the course instructor.

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    VME 6605 Toxic Substances

    This course will provide in-depth information on the physiological, pharmacological, and toxic effects of chemical toxins and carcinogens. Each module will contain detailed learning objectives and reading assignments. Students will be graded on their responses to critical thinking exercises linked to the course reading materials, which will require the interpretation of research data, clinical data, and toxicological testing methodologies, as well as online timed quizzes. Other activities will include online discussions of current news articles and scientific publications that relate to toxicology and biochemistry.

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    VME 6613 Forensic Toxicology I

    This course is structured to provide the basic concepts of analytical chemistry as it applies to drug and body fluid analyses. The course is composed of seven modules. Each module will be supplemented with figures, animations, links to appropriate websites and self-test questions. A series of case studies will be used to reinforce concepts and to combine individual topics covered in each module.

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    VME 6614 Forensic Toxicology II

    This course will expand on concepts encountered in Forensic Toxicology I (VME6613), providing in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and toxicology as it pertains to commonly encountered abused and toxic substances. This course is unique in offering modules in doping control, expert testimony and human performance, and postmortem toxicology.

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    VME 6650 Principles of Mammalian Pharmacology

    This introductory course covers key concepts related to the cellular actions, therapeutic uses, side effects, and toxic actions of major drug classes used in human and non-human species. Students will learn key concepts that are important to understanding drug actions, including principles of pharmacokinetics (e.g., absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of drugs), as well as the physiological and cellular basis for a host of diverse drug actions.

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    VME 6766 Laboratory QA/QC

    This course teaches the key components of QA/QC and will help students to understand the need to produce sound scientific data using appropriate standards and controls, written procedures, and method validation no matter what field they are employed in. This course will offer a generic description of what is required in the formation of a quality system in any laboratory. This will be achieved by describing the key principles in any QA/QC program with reference to the FDA, EPA, and ISO guidelines, together with specific examples from different specializations in those particular fields.

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    VME 6934 Introduction to Forensic Medicine 1

    This course covers the basic elements of forensic medicine and focuses on the role of the forensic pathologist in the investigation of crime and death. Although much of forensic medicine, based as it is on observations made at a post-mortem examination, relies on the principles of morbid anatomy as discovered in earlier centuries, more recent techniques are also presented.

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    VME 6934 Special Topics in Forensic Toxicology

    This 1-credit course consists of online, proctored, comprehensive final examinations in fulfillment of the MS program requirements. These closed-book exams will be taken online via ProctorU and our e-learning system. Students should register for this course in their final semester.

    The University of Florida requires that you are registered for the following number of credits during the term you are graduating: Summer term: 2 credit hours; Fall/Spring term: 3 credit hours. Since the Special Topics course is only 1 credit, you will need to be sure you meet the credit requirement as noted above.

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