Fingerprint Detection and Identification
PHA 6935 Fingerprint Detection and Identification


This is a 3-credit course.


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.

This course is taught by Western Sydney University as part of a collaborative venture between the University of Florida and Western Sydney University, Australia.


Please review our recommended course order.


Module Topic
Module 1 Friction Ridge Skin & Fingermark Evidence
Module 2 Fingerprint Identification
Module 3 Light Theory & Optical Detection Methods
Module 4 Fingermark Detection on Porous Surfaces
Module 5 Fingermark Detection on Nonporous Surfaces
Module 6 Novel Approaches to Fingermark Detection
Module 7 Fingermark Detection on Miscellaneous Substrates
Module 8 Issues Related to the Exploitation of Fingerprints & Fingermarks

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Describe the origin and formation of friction ridge skin and the process that leads to the deposition of fingermarks as potential forensic evidence.
  • Appreciate the range of fingermark detection and enhancement methods that can be applied to the recovery of fingermark evidence from a range of different surfaces.
  • Articulate the recommended fingermark detection sequences depending on the substrate type.
  • Apply fingerprint identification methodologies related to ACE-V and understand the role that Bayesian statistics can play as an interpretation and reporting tool.
  • Acknowledge the contemporary issues related to the operational exploitation of fingerprint evidence.

Required Materials

Champod C, Lennard C, Margot P, Stoilovic M, Fingerprints and Other Ridge Skin Impressions, Second Edition, 2016, CRC Press, ISBN 9781498728935.

Library Access

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