Course Outline

CRM203 Homicide, Investigations & Forensic Science

Course Coordinator:Kelly Hine ( School:School of Law and Society

2022Semester 1

USC Sunshine Coast

USC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to the USC website for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course introduces students to the crime of homicide, including the investigation processes and elements of forensic science. Initially, students focus on the key fundamentals of the crime event and develop an understanding through the lens of offenders and victims and experts in the field, including police. Students also learn how various criminal justice systems respond to lethal violence, including the application of forensic science. Using a real life, case study approach, students learn how homicides are detected and investigated by the police; how they are processed in the courts, including the criminal trial process and sentencing; and the management and prison experience of convicted offenders.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Online learning materials for 13 weeks (or equivalent) 1hr Week 1 13 times
Seminar – On-campus seminar - Weeks 1 and 9 2hrs Week 1 2 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus tutorial - weeks 2-8 and 10-13 2hrs Week 2 11 times
Learning materials – Online learning materials for 13 weeks (or equivalent) 1hr Week 1 13 times
Seminar – Recorded seminar in Weeks 1 and 9. The recording will be made available after the on-campus seminar. 2hrs Week 1 2 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Tutorial via Zoom - weeks 2-8 and 10-13. 2hrs Week 2 11 times

Course Topics

  • Intimate Partner Homicide
  • Child Homicide
  • Multiple Homicide
  • Offender Profiling
  • Explanations of Homicide
  • Detecting Homicide
  • Forensic & Evidence Gathering
  • Prosecution
  • Preventing Homicide

What level is this course?

200 Level (Developing)

Building on and expanding the scope of introductory knowledge and skills, developing breadth or depth and applying knowledge and skills in a new context. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally, undertaken in the second or third full-time year of an undergraduate programs.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Demonstrate an understanding of how homicide is defined and explained. Knowledgeable
2 Develop an in-depth understanding of different types of homicide and forensic science. Knowledgeable
3 Gain an understanding of the strengths and limitations of key investigative strategies used in the detection of serious violent offenders. Knowledgeable
4 Demonstrate an understanding of the criminal trial process and its limitations. Knowledgeable
5 Develop an understanding of the punishment for homicide. Knowledgeable

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the USC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

You will be provided with early feedback on knowledge for this block of work via a non-examinable quiz within the first 2 weeks of tutorials.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Essay Individual 25%
1000 words
Week 5 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Case Study Individual 45%
2500 Words
Week 11 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Examination - Centrally Scheduled Individual 30%
2 hours
Exam Period Online Submission
All - Assessment Task 1:Minor Essay
The purpose of this essay is for you to demonstrate your early learning of the nature and theoretical explanations of homicide, the characteristics of offenders and victims, prevalence, and the reasons for homicide.
Product: Essay
The written essay will require you to use information covered in the course and academic literature to address the issue of homicide.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
You will be assessed on your ability to research homicide and write an essay on the nature of child homicide, the reasons, and prevalence of this phenomenon. You will be required to demonstrate accurate referencing and citation practices
1 2
All - Assessment Task 2:Case Study Report
The goal of this assessment task is for you to demonstrate your ability to research, analyse and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the detection, investigation and prosecution process of a homicide case study. You are to recommend ways in which the failures could have been overcome.
Product: Case Study
This task will require you to write up a report on the homicide criminal justice process involved in a homicide case.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
You will be assessed on your ability to identify, communicate and critically assess the entire process from the case information and academic literature. You will also be required to demonstrate standard referencing.
2 3 4
All - Assessment Task 3:Final Exam
The end-of-semester exam allows you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of course materials covered during the semester.
Product: Examination - Centrally Scheduled
This task will take the form of an exam.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrate an understanding of homicide types, forensic science, the punishment for homicide, and prevention.
2 5

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Directed study hours may vary by location. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required Fiona Brookman 2005 Understanding Homicide n/a SAGE

Specific requirements

Not applicable

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

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