B.C.'s Energy College

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CHEM 170 - Introduction to Forensic Chemistry
CHEM 170

This is an introductory forensic chemistry course investigating the physical and chemical properties of matter. Specific chemical topics include: significant figures, naming compounds, structure of an atom, VSEPR theory, properties of solutions, organic chemistry (functional groups and DNA), thermodynamics, ideal gas law, reaction kinetics, equilibrium and nuclear chemistry. These concepts are linked to criminal cases and how chemical evidence help to solve crimes. Students will also be exposed to forensic techniques and their relevant chemical principles in the laboratory. 

This course is intended for students in an Associate of Arts or Bachelor of Arts program at receiving institutions to partially fulfill science credits. It is not a prerequisite for higher level chemistry courses. 

Credits:  4

  • Total Hours: 67.5
  • Lecture Hours: 45
  • Laboratory Hours: 22.5
Total Weeks:  15

This course is offered online:  No

Prerequisites:  None
Learning Outcomes:
  • Students will demonstrate a basic understanding of chemistry, and how it pertains to criminal investigations.
  • Be able to apply these concepts and the scientific method to solve problems and explain various types of chemical analyses used by criminal investigators.
  • Be able to use basic laboratory equipment safely to take measurements and analyse various substances. Proficiently use least significant figures in their calculations.
To pass this course. Students will have to
  • Demonstrate creative thinking and problem solving skills by solving problems in the class and laboratory.
  • Participate in class discussions with other students from diverse backgrounds and work collaboratively with a lab partner. 
  • Record observations and produce clear and legible lab reports, and write logical, concise answers to questions on lab assignments and tests.
  • Be able to research and present a forensic chemistry-based topic for their project.
  • Solve mathematical problems, perform unit conversions, handle exponential notation and use a scientific calculator.
Grading System:  Letters

Passing Grade:  D (50%)
Writing Assignments:
  • There is a lab write up associated with each laboratory.
  • An oral or written project examining the chemistry behind a criminal case is also required.
Percentage of Individual Work:  100

Course Offered in Other Programs:  Yes

Other Programs: Associate of Arts Degree, Associate of Arts Degree - Criminology Specialization, University Arts and Sciences certificates

Textbooks: Textbooks are subject to change. Please contact the bookstore at your local campus for current book lists.

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