FRS504 - Forensic Behavioural Science

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-04-11 08:33:39.866
Last review date 2018-04-11 08:33:53.405

Subject Title
Forensic Behavioural Science

Subject Description
In this course students will learn about the nature of sexual, violent and serial crime as well as the investigative challenges associated with these types of crime. Behavioural science-based methods used by police in the pursuit of criminal offenders--such as linkage analysis, psychological profiling, and geographic profiling--are explored and assessed here.

Credit Status
One credit the Forensic Investigative Studies program.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Define and describe the nature of sexual, violent and serial crime.
2. Explain the associated difficulties in policing and investigating such crimes, and propose solutions for overcoming these difficulties.
3. Articulate the various behavioural science-based investigative methods (i.e. linkage analysis, psychological profiling, geographic profiling) and their associated computer systems (i.e. ViCLAS, VICAP, HITS, Rigel, etc.)
4. Demonstrate knowledge of the scientific bases, methods of reasoning, information collected, and methods of crime scene processing that are use within the various approaches. 
5. Evaluate the capacities and limitations of the various methods in consideration of the overall investigative process.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

Topic Outline

  • Overview and history of Behavioural Sciences
  • Criminal Investigative Analysis (crime scene, offender characteristics, post offense)
  • Sexual violence and serial crime
  • Psychopathy
  • Arson, staged homicides, other violent crime
  • Polygraph testing
  • Investigative challenges and resources
  • Linkage analysis

Mode of Instruction
Classroom lectures, group discussion, practical exercises.

Prescribed Texts
Practical Aspect of Rape Investigation, 5th edition
By Hazelwood and Burgess, CRC Press: ISBN# 9781498741965

Reference Material
Suggested References:

Hare, Dr. Robert. Without Conscience. Guilford Publications.

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Midterm test - 20%
Case Study - 50%
Final Examination - 30%

Approved by: Sandra Noble