Courses & Units

Forensic investigation HGA313


This unit does not count toward the Sociology major. Students can take this unit as a student/degree elective or as part of the Criminology major.


Forensic science is an integral component of the criminal justice system with applications in investigations, intelligence, courts, and disaster victim identification. However, it has been the subject of international critiques and a factor in high-profile cases of wrongful conviction. This unit examines forensic science as the object of study from a critical social sciences perspective. It highlights some pervasive issues such as the development of forensic science and limited foundational research, the challenges of communication to non-scientists, and the potential human rights issues associated with ongoing scientific advancements. The unit examines innovative research and practice that can contribute to addressing these complex and nuanced issues. It considers the potential for, and next steps in, the development of a critical social science approach to the role of forensic science in and beyond the criminal justice system.


Unit name Forensic investigation
Unit code HGA313
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
Level Advanced


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 10/7/2023 8/8/2023 28/8/2023 15/10/2023

* 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 2023 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2023 will be available from the 1st October 2022. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the strengths and limitations of various forensic roles and techniques as applied in the criminal justice process.
  • Analyse the social processes that can impact the effective collection, analysis, and use of forensic science in the process from crime scene to court.
  • Evaluate the use of forensic science in the criminal justice system.
  • Communicate your ideas clearly in written and verbal form.
Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1,3 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1,3 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2,3 Domestic Full Fee 4
099903 $1,892.00 $888.00 not applicable $2,213.00

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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25 points at introductory level in any discipline in any faculty


AssessmentAssessment Task 3: Take-home exam (30%)|Assessment Task 1: Short answer (20%)|Assessment Task 4: Tutorial participation (10%)|Assessment Task 2: Essay (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.

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