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Criminalistics involves the documentation, identification, collection, preservation and analysis of items of physical evidence such as firearms, ammunition components, blood spatter patterns, footwear and tire track impression evidence, fingerprints, hairs and fibers and trace evidence found at crime scenes. The goal of criminalistics is to positively place the guilty at the crime scene using physical evidence. The criminalistics certificate program at UNT is an 18-hour program in which students learn how to document, identify, collect and preserve items of physical evidence. Additionally, students are taught what the capabilities and limitations are of criminalistics laboratories that are ultimately responsible for analyzing the physical evidence brought to them by crime scene investigators.
The criminalistics certificate program is specifically designed for students who are interested in field investigations (crime scene investigations), detectives, and police officers. Others who can potentially benefit from the program include future lab examiners, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, journalists, emergency response technicians, firefighters, emergency room hospital staff and physicians.