FRS509 - Principles & Methods in Fingerprint Identification

Outline info
Last revision date 2017-11-21 11:34:48.491
Last review date 2017-11-21 11:34:57.658

Subject Title
Principles & Methods in Fingerprint Identification

Subject Description
This course introduces students to the history of fingerprints as it relates to individualization; friction skin development; how to obtain a proper set of known fingerprint impressions; the Henry Classification System and the Auto-Class Classification System; fingerprint individualization with emphasis on Ridgeology; palm print individualization including the use of palmar flexion creases; procedures utilized in crime scene examination and recovery of fingerprints; chemical techniques for fingerprint detection. The Identification of Criminals Act and the role of the expert witness in the Canadian court system are also covered.

Credit Status
One credit in the Forensic Investigative Studies program.

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

  1. Explain the history of fingerprint individualization.
  2. Define friction skin and how it is formed.
  3. Explain and defend, through scientific knowledge, how fingerprint individualizatiion can be so positive and infallible.
  4. Identify the composition of ecrine sweat.
  5. Analyse the requirements of a properly obtained known set of fingerprints and demonstrate correct techniques for collection and comparison.
  6. Discuss both the Henry and Auto-Class classification systems.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of crime scene techniques for latent fingerprint examination and recovery.
  8. Outline chemical techniques for latent fingerprint examination.
  9. State the Identification of Criminals Act and the various aspects of the role of expert witness in the Canadian court system.

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.

Mode of Instruction
This course will be taught using lectures, demonstrations, group work, practical exercises, and case studies.

Prescribed Texts
No Textbook Required.

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.

Approved by: Sandra Noble