SGBK22000U Forensic Biology

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Biology - restricted elective
MSc Programme in Biochemistry - restricted elective

MSc Programme in Molecular Biomedicine - restricted elective


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
Learning Outcome


The student will gain knowledge about genetic investigations for individual and species identification in a forensic context. The student will be aware of 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.

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.
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.
Literature will be provided for self-studies before course-start.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 50
  • Preparation
  • 100
  • Practical exercises
  • 26
  • Project work
  • 30
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
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.
Exam registration requirements

90% participation

Obligatory events: group work presentations both fridays

All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.

As ordinary exam.

The written report can be handed in again in a revised form.

If the requirments for attendance (90 %) is not fulfilled the student will need to hand in an assignment within a theme of the teachers choice.

If the requirments for obligatory events (participation in group work presentations and ethical exercise) is not fulfilled the student must follow the course again next year.



Criteria for exam assesment

See "Learning Outcome".