Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit is taken over two semesters and parts 1 and 2 must be completed to fulfil the requirements of the unit. The unit primarily consists of independent research into a forensic topic, supported by meetings with the unit coordinator (a practising Barrister). Students must observe a real trial (or part of a trial) at the Magistrates, District or Supreme Court. They also attend mock court exercises as observers. Upon arrangement with the lawyer leading their evidence-in-chief they may have the opportunity for a pre-trial meeting.

6 points

This is a research unit and students are able to select a complex topic from the field of forensic science, therefore the exact academic objectives may vary. However, the common academic objectives are (1) advanced knowledge of relevant protocols for the handling, storage and transport of forensic evidence; (2) comprehensive understanding of the underlying theories and principles of the chosen discipline; (3) highly developed knowledge of the methods, protocols and technologies utilised in the chosen field; (4) an ability to identify a wide range of alternative methods available and their advantages and disadvantages; (5) an appreciation of the origins of the discipline chosen and its range of applications to complex problems of a forensic nature; (6) detailed knowledge of the current state of the discipline and issues relating to its acceptance in the law enforcement and legal communities, including what measures can be put in place to overcome these issues; (7) knowledge of the current limitations of the discipline and how they may affect the interpretation of evidence; (8) comprehensive understanding of the Australian legal system, especially as it pertains to scientific or technical evidence, and a basic understanding of legal systems in other countries; and (9) further practical experience in conveying complex scientific or technical evidence to a lay person in both a written and oral format.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a critical court observation report (5 per cent); (2) an extensive court report (60 per cent); (3) presentation and defence of evidence in the mock court (25 per cent); and (4) self appraisal of recorded performance (10 per cent). A higher standard is expected in this unit than in its prerequisite, FNSC5620 Expert Testimony Part 1 (formerly FNSC8620 Expert Testimony Part 1). The weighting of the assessed components is designed to reflect this. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Daniel Franklin
Unit rules
FNSC5620 Expert Testimony Part 1 (formerly FNSC8620 Expert Testimony Part 1)
FNSC5624 Advanced Expert Testimony (Odontology) Part 1, FNSC5625 Advanced Expert Testimony (Anthropology) Part 1
Contact hours
mock court: 2 full days (one as an observer, one assessed)
meetings: 3 x 15 minutes, by arrangement
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.