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Forensic Entomology (11:370:414)

View Syllabus (561k PDF)

  1. Semester: Spring
  2. Period: M, W (9:15–10:35 a.m.)
  3. Credits: 3
  4. Format: Lecture/Lab
  5. Pre-requisites and Other Registration Restrictions: 11:370:381: Insect Biology (suggested)
  6. Texts: Byrd, J.H. and J. L. Castner. (eds.) 2009. Forensic Entomology: The Utility of Arthropods in Legal Investigations – Second Edition. CRC Press, Inc. Boca Raton, Florida. Catts, E.P. and N.H. Haskell. 1990. Entomology and Death: A procedural guide. Joyce's Print Shop, Inc. Clemson, South Carolina.(optional)


This course will examine the roles that insects play in the field of Forensic Science. Specifically, we will be focusing on the entomological contributions that have served to further our understanding of how both human and animal remains decompose, as well as how insects can be employed in neglect, abuse, and food contamination cases. You will learn to identify forensically important insects, in partnership with proper collection and rearing techniques, and how to properly read and analyze scientific papers. The overall goal is to gain an understanding of how forensic entomology is utilized in law and in the courtroom.

Course Learning Goals

  • Understand how forensic entomology is utilized in law and in the courtroom
  • Have familiarity with techniques used to identify forensically important insects
  • Know how insects are used in neglect, abuse, and food contamination cases
  • Be able to properly collect and rear forensically important insects
  • Learn the proper way to prepare and write a case report

Student Learning Assessment

Item Percent of Grade Points
Three hourly exams 50% 150 points
Four Lab Identification Quizzes 20% 60 points
Written Critique 3% 10 points
Comparison Paper 10% 30 points
Case Report 17% 50 points
TOTAL 100% 300 points


Denise Gemmellaro
Thompson Hall
Office Hours: by arrangement