This module can be taken as a Short Course for Credit or a Standalone Short Course

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

Electives may not run if there is limited student uptake. However, alternatives will be offered.

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.

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
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration5 Days
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£1,925 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
  • 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.


Concessions are available for Cranfield alumni and multiple bookings from the same organisation, please contact us to discuss.

Accommodation options and prices

This course is non-residential. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information about our on campus accommodation can be found here.  Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements 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.