Forensic Biology

Course content

Through an intensive two-week summer school, this course will provide students with an overview of various kinds of biological methods and topics in forensic investigations. The main focus is on forensic genetics / dna-analyses and its applications in crime cases, kinship analysis and species determination. Exercises will focus on how to evaluate DNA profiling results and from these calculate the likelihood ratio; the strenght of the evidence. The students will also be introduced to the interdisciplinary forensic topics of entomology, pathology, genome sequencing, quality assurance, geological forensics, ancient DNA and soil analysis, population genetics, human and vertebrate anthropology and botany. The teaching consists of lectures in combination with exercises relevant for forensic investigations. There will be group work during the course where students get to choose a subject related to forensic research. Exercises and group assignments will be evaluated individually and in group during the course.

The course starts with a brief introduction to Cell Biology, Genetics, Genetic Variation & Regulation and Molecular Biology Techniques, focusing on areas relevant to the forensic applications.

When the course is completed, students will have gained insight and skills regarding the application of the following areas in a forensic context:

  • Individual and species identification
  • STRs and SNPs
  • DNA profiling
  • Likelihood ratio calculations
  • Population dynamics
  • Heredity & kinship analysis
  • Physical traits
  • Probability/likelihood calculations in forensic genetics
  • Human crime case investigations
  • Wildlife forensics
  • Animal, plant and soil traces in forensics

MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Biochemistry

Learning outcome


The student will gain knowledge about genetic investigations for individual and species identification in a forensic context. The student will be aware several aspects and applications of biological methods and subjects in forensic case work


The student can apply statistical methods used in forensic genetics and describe the methodological advances and research within the different aspects of forensic biology.


After following the course the student will be able to critically assess and analyze forensic data and outline the current baseline for forensic biology and investigations scientifically. The student will also be able to describe different genetic variations and what makes them useful in a forensic context.

The summer school will be based on a series of lectures followed by individual and group exercises. Specialist within the specific forensic areas will come and present. Students will be presented to forensic casework examples. A substantial part of the course will be preparation of a group work presented on the last day of the course.

Scientific articles, manuals and protocols

BSc degree from the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen or similar.
Knowledge within basic cell biology and genetics.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Literature will be provided for self-studies before course-start.

Continuous feedback during the course
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Type of assessment details
The portfolio exam consists of the following: Evaluation of 1 written report and 2 oral presentations. The evaluation is based on an overall assesment of the two sub-parts.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See "Learning Outcome".

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 50
  • Preparation
  • 100
  • Practical exercises
  • 26
  • Project work
  • 30
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
August 2023 - specific dates will be announced later
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • Globe
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Anders Johannes Hansen   (8-6c75736c797e70794b7e80796f397680396f76)
If you need to contact the study secretary, please see the Student Affairs Department contact information (list in Danish only): https:/​/​​kontakt/​aus-medarbejderoversigt/​#Studieservice

Maria Asplund, Peter Johansen, Vania Pereira + Guest lecturers

Saved on the 06-10-2022

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