This module can be taken as a Short Course for Credit

Please go to the 'Upgrade to a professional qualification' section for more information.

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

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
  • 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 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 Short Course for Credit 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.

Find out more about

Who should attend

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


The course is a module of the Forensic Modular Masters Programme, which is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.


Sponsored by company - £1,750

Individual (anyone paying for themselves to attend) - £875

Alumni/Current Student - £435

Accommodation options and prices

We are pleased to offer an exclusive accommodation package at our Mitchell Hall  hotel. Located on campus, all rooms are en-suite and available on a half-board basis from Sunday to Friday. The cost of this package is £495. If you would like to book this accommodation package* for this short course, please indicate this on the registration form. 

Alternatively, you may wish to make your own arrangement at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Situated close to Milton Keynes and Bedford, the Cranfield campus is situated in Wharley End, very close to Cranfield village, and is about 10 minutes from the M1 motorway.  There is rail and road access to most major airports as well as coach and train stations. Cranfield campus also has its own airport for private executive business travel.

Download a visitor guide including map, directions and health and safety information.

Campus address

College Road
MK43 0AL

How to apply

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

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.