Courses & Units

Forensic Science in Society XBR205




This unit provides an introduction to the emerging field of 'forensic studies'. While forensic science usually refers to technical and vocational expertise, forensic studies explores the 'forensic sciences' as a social phenomenon.

The main emphasis of forensic studies is on providing a generalist understanding of the forensics field, including how developments across the field might feed into particular social and criminal justice processes. Topics explored include the rise of popular media in which forensic science plays a central role; the effects of these media on the criminal justice system (e.g. 'the CSI effect'); the strengths, weaknesses and status (are they 'junk' science?) of various forensic disciplines (e.g. DNA, fingerprinting, bite-mark analysis, voice recognition); eye witness memory and false confessions; questions regarding the admissibility of various types of forensic evidence in the courts and levels of forensic science knowledge among actors in the criminal justice system (including police, lawyers, judges and juries); as well as the role of forensic science in wrongful convictions.

Forensic studies is an interdisciplinary field. The unit will explore the role of forensic science in society from a range of disciplinary perspectives such as: sociology, science, criminology, law, medicine, psychology, media studies and police studies. This unit is relevant to students interested in the workings of the criminal justice system, especially policing and the courts.


Unit name Forensic Science in Society
Unit code XBR205
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Social Sciences
Discipline Health Sciences|Media|College Office - CSE|Law|Sociology and Criminology

Dr Kate Cashman

Teaching staff

Lecturers: Dr Katrina Clifford, Professor Rob White,  Dr Jeremy Prichard, Dr Matthew Palmer, Dr Jim Sauer, Dr Anne-Marie Williams, Professor Michael Breadmore

Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? Yes


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 1 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 1 24/2/2020 23/3/2020 31/5/2020 31/5/2020

* 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 (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2020 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2020 will be available from the 1st October 2019.

About Census Dates



Band CSP Student Contribution Full Fee Paying (domestic) Field of Education
1 2020: $835.00 2020: $1,729.00 091101

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.



Mutual Exclusions

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

HGA213 / HGA 313 -- IF completed in 2011 or 2013


Teaching Pattern

Weekly Lectures


Forensics online Quiz, 20%;

Participation in online discussions, 10%;

Critical decision flow charts, 1000 words, 30%;

Position paper, 1500 words, 40%.

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



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