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Forensic Entomology

  • PHA 6935 Forensic Entomology

    Credits: 3
    Tuition: $1,725


    Forensic Entomology is the study of insect biology relevant to legal issues and its application to legal investigation and courtroom cases. Primarily, it is the study of insects associated with death and the recycling of organic material Its practical application is certainly not for the faint hearted and the subject consequently suffers a poor reputation. It has an image of gruesome examinations and morbidity, but somehow, it still draws widespread fascination in the media and the public from a “casual onlooker” stance.

    In reality, the application of this science is much broader than dealing only with death, because it spills over into narcotic, medical and Public Health investigation and is thus sometimes termed ‘Medicolegal Entomology’. In this course we will focus specifically on the investigation of Post Mortem Interval (PMI), since this pertains more than 90% of cases, but nevertheless, I want to draw your attention to the wider aspects to which Forensic Entomology can be applied.


    Module Topic
    Module 1 Introduction and legal context
    Module 2 Understanding insect diversity, classification and morphology
    Module 3 Decomposition, carrion ecology and insect succession
    Module 4 Understanding thermal biology
    Module 5 Post-mortem estimation (PMI)
    Module 6 Extrinsic factors affecting PMI
    Module 7 Applications of entomology in the legal context
    Module 8 Entomotoxicology
    Module 9 Analytical techniques for identification of flies
    Module 10 Entomology and National Security

    Course Instructor

    Andrew Whittington, Email:

    Recommended Materials

    There are no required texts for this course. For the latest update on recommended textbooks please go to the course website. Forensic Science website: Courses

    Familiarity with Microsoft Excel is a requirement for the course assignment, thus a working knowledge of Microsoft Excel is of great benefit to students wishing to take this course.

    Library Access

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