Southern Institute of Forensic Science has provided a wide selection of courses and seminars. Below is a list of courses routinely offered by nationally recognized experts in the field. These courses are not always offered, but we allow prospective students interactively to help choose future courses. If you see a course that specifically interests you, then let us know on the Contact Us page. Depending on a course's potential popularity, we may offer it to see if a minimum number of students register for it. We will keep students updated on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook, so make sure to like us for updates.
Basic Forensic Anthropology (3 Hours)
A required course designed to allow the student to study human skeletal material and determine basic information from this material. Topics include osteometry, the use of the Fordisc system, establishing, age, sex, race, statue and other individual characteristics. Special lectures on recognition of trauma and common disease processes in bone will also be provided. Laboratory exercises will allow student groups to analyze forensic cases to reinforce lecture material.
Basic Forensic Anthropology for Law Enforcement and Death Investigators (3 Hours)
This course is designed especially for students, law enforcement, and death investigators. Topics include basic techniques to determine the sex, age, ancestry, and stature of an individual and skeletal remains. Other topics include lectures on bone trauma, recovery techniques, and time since death. Instructors will also provide case studies from their own experiences. Laboratories allow the students hands-on experiences to reinforce lecture topics.
Digital Police Photography (3 Hours)
This is a hands-on course designed to teach the basic fundamentals, as well as forensic applications, of digital photography at various types of scenes. The participant will be taught how to use their department camera equipment, focusing on manual modes, automatic modes, digital SOP’s, flash operation and many other practical applications. A variety of photographic assignments will be covered to challenge each student and help prepare them for any situation they may encounter as a crime scene specialist, crime scene investigator or forensic scientist involved in investigative photography.
A digital SLR camera, tripod, shutter release cable, external flash with sync cord and flashlight are required for the practical exercises. Students should also have the camera user manual. (Point and Shoot Cameras are not acceptable.)
Human Remains: Search, Recovery, and Identification (3 Hours)
This course is taught in an intensive one week format. This course provides the student with a series of lectures, labs, and field experiences on the various methods of locating and recovering human remains and the preliminary techniques for identifying the remains. Lecture topics include recovery techniques, scene documentation, evidence collection, methods of identification, use of odontology and forensic radiology, along with basic methods of skeletal identification. A field practicum for a grave site recovery along with a surface recovery and identification of bones from fire scenes is taught.
Bloodstain Pattern Analysis in Violent Crimes (3 Hours)
This five day intensive course is a combination of lectures and laboratory experiences. It is designed so that the registrant understands the physics of bloodstains and what forces act on blood in forming bloodstains. At the completion of this course, registrants should be able to determine the sequence of events that occurred at a crime scene. Topics include angle of impact, directionality of impact, pattern transfer, and techniques for photography of bloodstains.
Forensic Entomology (3 Hours)
A course designed to provide students with the basic concepts and an overview of forensic entomology. Topics covered will include insect identification, proper specimen sampling and collection of field data, and the importance of collecting, preserving, and rearing immature forms of insects of forensic interest. Field exercises using animal models will be used to reinforce lecture topics.
Forensic Photography and Crime Scene Documentation (3 Hours)
A course designed to provide the student with the basic concepts of crime scene photography and documentation. Special lectures will be given on the use of digital photography, video, copy stand photography, blood stain documentation, tool mark analysis and court presentations. Staged crime scenes will be used to support the concepts provided in lecture. These scenes will be designed to allow the student to photo and document the difficult pieces of evidence such as blood spatter patterns. Group discussions and critiques will allow participants to present their assessments and scene evaluations to the class and instructors.
Shooting Reconstruction and Violent Crime Scene Investigation (3 Hours)
This is a hands-on course designed to teach the forensic investigation and reconstruction of shooting incidents. Live-fire demonstrations will be utilized to illustrate the physical characteristics and dynamics of bullet impacts on metal, glass and other common substrates. Mock crime scene assignments and exercises will be used to challenge each student and help prepare them for any situation they may encounter as a crime scene specialist, criminal investigator, death investigator, or forensic scientist involved in shooting scene investigations.
Techniques of Facial Reconstruction (3 Hours)
A combination of lectures and laboratory exercises to demonstrate the techniques of facial reconstruction on a human skull. This technique is used in the identification of unknown remains and in constructing facial likeness of historical individuals. Special topics include characteristics of facial anatomy, photographic superimpostion and age progression techniques.
Basic Human Osteology (3 Hours)
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the anatomy and functional mechanics of the human skeleton. Lectures will be provided in bone histology, skeletal development, muscle attachments, major osteological structures, and articulations of the skeletal system. The course will emphasize skeletal anatomy, bone variations and some commonly occurring bone anomalies and pathologies. Special laboratory experiences will be scheduled to provide the student with opportunities to examine materials covered in lectures.
Understanding Bone Trauma and Bone Disease (3 Hours)
A course designed to provide an understanding of bone disease and bone trauma. Topics covered include blunt trauma, sharp trauma, gunshot wounds, burn patterns, infections, fractures, and tumor formation as seen in bone. Laboratory exercises will be provided to allow students to examine examples of bone trauma and bone disease during lectures.
Paleopathology (3 Hours)
This one-week intensive course is designed for students with an interest in anthropology, pathology, and archeology. Topics include tumors, infection, metabolic diseases, trauma, and bone repairs. The pathology of populations of ancient Egypt, pre-Columbian America, Colonial America, and the American Civil War will be discussed. Skeletal material will be available for students to examine and reinforce lectures.
Practical Applications in Forensic Anthropology (3 Hours)
A course designed to provide students with some of the advanced techniques in forensic anthropology. Special topics include radiographic anatomy, forensic odontology and other identification exercises, age determination by various methods, metric and nonmetric determination of sex and race, recognition and identification of fetal and infant bones, dental exclusion exercises, and superimposition demonstrations. Special laboratory exercises will provide students with hands on experiences to support the material presented in lectures.
Moot Court (3 Hours)
A course designed to prepare the student for courtroom testimony. Prosecution and defense attorneys will serve as instructors. Topics include examination of expert witnesses, admissibility of evidence, maintaining a chain of custody, use of notes and reports while on the witness stand, and courtoom ethics and protocol.