CHEM 3010 Forensic Chemistry

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 300868

Coordinator Val Spikmans Opens in new window

Description This subject extends the student's knowledge and understanding of chemical topics that are relevant to forensic investigations, and provides a deeper understanding of the underlying chemical and physical principles. Topics are taught in the context of the correct principles and procedures for collecting and conserving evidence, and the safe handling of chemical substances. Topics include an extended range of modern chemical instrumentation; the chemistry and analysis of various classes of drugs; clandestine drug laboratories; fire, arson and accelerants; explosions and explosives; and various forms of trace evidence (including textile fibres, glass and paint).

School Science

Discipline Forensic Science

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 2 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Pre-requisite(s) NATS 2019 Forensic and Environmental Analysis


Successful completion of 60 credit points

Assumed Knowledge

Knowledge of general and analytical chemistry equivalent to satisfactory completion of Chemistry 1, Chemistry 2, Essentials of Chemistry 1, Essentials of Chemistry 2 and a second year analytical chemistry subject.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Apply advanced knowledge of a range of chemical topics that are relevant to forensic investigations, and give evidence of an understanding of the underlying chemical and physical principles.
  2. Use modern chemical instrumentation for analysing forensic samples, and explain the underlying chemistry and physical principles of the analytical methods.
  3. Collect and analyse chemical data, demonstrating appropriate laboratory skills, and incorporating relevant Quality Assurance and Work Health and Safety principles.
  4. Handle chemical substances safely, and critically evaluate the risks associated with forensic casework, in the context of Work Health and Safety practices and legislation.
  5. Write scientific laboratory reports and critically evaluate the relevance of forensic chemistry to professional forensic practice.
  6. Understand the role of a forensic chemist in the investigation of criminal and terrorist incidents.

Subject Content

- advanced instrumental methods for Analysing forensic samples.
- applications of Chemical instrumentation in real-time policing.
- Chemistry and analysis of illicit drugs.
- trace evidence such as textile fibres, glass and paint.
- Fire, arson and accelerants.
- Explosions and explosives.
- application of forensic Chemistry for The investigation of criminal and terrorist incidents.
- principles and practice of work health and safety and quality assurance in The recovery and analysis of Chemical residues.


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Case Study No set length 30 N Group
Report 2,000 words 30 N Individual
Quiz Assessment 1 (10%) Assessment 2 (15%) Assessment 3 (15%) 1 hours for each assessment 40 Y Individual

Teaching Periods

Spring (2024)



Subject Contact Val Spikmans Opens in new window

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