Forensic Biology

You will focus on the forensic DNA field, as well as other biological information. From biological sample collection and presumptive testing to the generation of DNA profiles, other relevant DNA techniques, statistical issues and ethics.

Courses and training sessions

The programme includes courses in “Phylogenetic Analysis” and “Ethics and DNA”. Hands-on laboratory training is provided on “Forensic DNA extraction”. This training session deals with the process of obtaining DNA from forensic traces whilst bearing in mind contamination and chain of custody issues, which will be combined with DNA sequencing. In the “RT-PCR and qPCR” training session you will learn the ins and outs of quantitative PCR, as well as working with RNA and cDNA. The “dating of injury” training session focuses on histological aspects of forensic biology and immunohistochemistry. Finally, ethical considerations and “Forensic DNA statistics” will be taught and discussed.


In addition to the courses and training sessions, you will carry out a research project. You will work in small groups to stimulate the exchange of ideas and group work. Once you have carried out literature research and produced a practical project proposal, you will spend at least ten full working days in the laboratory; twenty 4-hour time blocks. Examples of past research subjects include: blood reveals age, DNA barcoding of beetles, hypervariable regions of mitochondrial DNA, environmental DNA and mixed DNA profiles, amongst others.


The total minor programme is worth 30 ECTS credits, equivalent to a study load of 30 times 28 working hours, or 20 calendar weeks. The minor is part of the major in "Forensic Laboratory Investigation", which is part of the "Biomedical Research" study programme at the Avans School of Life Sciences and Technology in Breda, the Netherlands.

The minor is part of the Medical Research and Biotechnology programme at the Avans School of Life Sciences and Technology in Breda.