Courses & Units

Forensic Science in Society HGA216


Forensic science has long captured the public imagination as evidenced in crime dramas, documentaries, and podcasts. However, the representations do not always reflect reality. This unit introduces the emerging field of forensic studies, contrasting the fiction with the facts, exploring the forensic processes that influence police investigations, disaster victim identification, understandings of patterns of crime, and even crime prevention. It will highlight with a range of forensic disciplines and applications of forensic science and invite a critical analysis of some of the challenges of using forensic science effectively in practice. The unit is informed by scholarship on the role of science in society and framed around the tensions between science, medicine and law as alternative knowledge systems (epistemologies) in contemporary society.


Unit name Forensic Science in Society
Unit code HGA216
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Social Sciences
Discipline Sociology and Criminology
Coordinator Doctor Loene Howes
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 2 On-Campus International Domestic
Online Semester 2 Off-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 22/7/2024 16/8/2024 9/9/2024 27/10/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the role of forensic science in achieving justice.
  • Analyse the critical decision-making points in the use of forensic science in serious criminal investigations.
  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of forensic disciplines and their use in criminal and civil investigations and court processes.
  • Communicate your ideas clearly, incorporating key elements of academic writing in criminology.

Fee Information

Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1,3 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1,3 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2,3 Domestic Full Fee 4
019903 $1,118.00 $1,118.00 not applicable $2,596.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

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Please note: international students should refer to What is an indicative Fee? to get an indicative course cost.


Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:



Teaching Pattern

Weekly 1.5 hour online Lecture

Weekly 1 hour tutorial or online discussion

AssessmentTutorial participation (10%)|Forensic quiz (20%)|Critical decision flowchart (30%)|Position Paper (40%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

LinksBooktopia textbook finder

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