The French forensics pioneer Edmond Locard postulated that 'every contact leaves a trace' with the microscopic fragments of evidence that collect on an object acting as a 'mute witness' to the other objects with which it has come into contact. Read more Read less

The distribution of this trace evidence can be used to infer the way that objects have come into contact.

The aim of the course is to provide a general understanding of physical trace evidence and its associated forensic examination.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 02 - 06 Mar 2020
    • 01 - 05 Feb 2021
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost£1,750 Concessions available

Course structure

The course is run once each year. Each course lasts for 5 days.

What you will learn

To understand how the concept of trace evidence is used in a forensic investigation and how scientific techniques can be used to locate, collect, classify and compare evidence types.

The objectives of the course are:

  • To fully understand the concept of “trace” evidence and how the term can be applied to a wide range of physical evidence types
  • To understand how this range of physical evidence can be located and investigated using forensic techniques
  • To transfer the theoretical knowledge of trace evidence into a practical forensic examination investigation.

Core content

  • Trace evidence concepts, direct and indirect transfer, retention time, transfer diagrams
  • Fibre and hair construction
  • Fibre and hair microscopy for identification and comparison
  • Fabric comparison and damage
  • Glass construction and forensic examination
  • Paint characterization
  • Soil analysis
  • Shoe & Tyre Print Examination
  • Tool marks and fingerprints
  • Case studies in trace evidence.

Upgrade to a professional qualification

This short course will be taught at Masters Standard as it is one of the modules that comprise the postgraduate Forensic Modular Masters Programme. Registering for this accredited short course and successfully passing the associated assessment will gain you 10 Cranfield credits. These could then be used to apply for a transfer towards a PgCert/PgDip or MSc in the Forensic Programme should you wish to complete one of these courses within 5 years.

Who should attend

  • A graduate who is new to the field of forensic analysis and/or requires appropriate degree or experience.


The short courses are modules of the Forensic Modular Masters Programme, which is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.


£766 - Individual (anyone paying for themselves to attend).

£383 - Student (a current student from any university or a former student of Cranfield University).

Accommodation options and prices

Please contact us for information regarding accommodation.

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

For further location and travel details

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.