Criminal Profiling + Forensic Investigation

Examine how criminal psychologists and crime scene investigators use psychological theories and new forensic techniques to advance the study of crime, criminal behavior and investigation.

Abductions, murders, and other high profile cases are a constant fixture in the news and often capture national and worldwide attention. Armchair detectives, professional psychologists, and investigators alike attempt to answer the questions: Who did it? Why did they do it? and How? Every forensics case brings together a team of individuals each with vital roles in solving crimes. In this course, you’ll learn from a range of experts – crime scene investigators, criminologists, law enforcement and researchers – as you investigate theories of criminal behavior, sift through evidence, and build profiles of criminal offenders. Learn and practice the skills used by professional forensic investigators and criminal psychologists in order to examine crime scene evidence and develop theories that will bring perpetrators to justice.

This course meets daily for two hours.

In This Course You Will

  • Analyze crime scene evidence in an interactive session with Matt Steiner, Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst with the NYPD.

  • Apply the criminal profiling method used by the FBI to discover the most likely perpetrator of a crime.

  • Practice forensic techniques used by professional crime scene investigators right in your home.

Required Materials

This course requires students to have certain materials to practice forensic techniques. All materials are available online. A detailed list can be found here.

To take advantage of all this course has to offer, we ask that students have access to a desktop or laptop computer and a stable internet connection. A printer is recommended, but not required.

Visiting Faculty + Advisors

Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Professor of Forensic Psychology, DeSales University

Dr. Katherine Ramsland is a professor of forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where she also teaches criminal justice and serves as the assistant provost. She holds a master’s in forensic psychology from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, as well as master’s degrees in clinical psychology and criminal justice, and a Ph.D. in philosophy. Dr. Ramsland has published over 1,000 articles and 68 books, including How to Catch a Killer; The Psychology of Death InvestigationsConfession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer. She has also collaborated on many books and textbooks on Forensic Psychology.

Dr. Ramsland is also a blogger, speaker, and TV producer in the area of Forensics. For many years she regularly contributed to Court TV’s “Crime Library.” She has appeared on numerous cable network documentaries, as well as such programs as The Today Show, 20/20, Dr. Oz, and NPR. She consulted on CSI, Bones, and The Alienist, and is co-creator and executive producer on Murder House Flip.

Dr. Saul Kassin

Emeritus Professor of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Dr. Saul Kassin is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and Massachusetts, and Professor Emeritus at Williams College. He is a premier (and award winning) expert on the study of false confessions, particularly the impact those confessions have on judges, juries, witnesses, and the plea bargaining process. Kassin has appeared on virtually all major United States television networks, and his research has been cited by the Supreme Courts of the United States, Canada, and Israel.

Dr. Casey Jordan

Criminologist, TV Commentator + Attorney

Dr. Casey Jordan is a criminologist, behavioral analyst, and attorney in private practice. She is currently the host-interviewer for Investigation Discovery’s “Wives with Knives” and serves as a consultant crime analyst for several other shows. She has contributed to more than 1000 television stories on crime and legal issues, serving as the in-house CNN Criminologist during the 2002 D.C. Sniper Event. She has appeared on all the major networks and has analyzed more than 100 cases for Court TV. Jordan has been a professor at Western Connecticut State University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Iona College, Queens College, and St. Joseph’s College. Jordan has interviewed dozens of violent offenders and authored dozens of scholarly articles and four books.

Matt Steiner

Detective, NYPD

Matthew Steiner is a First Grade Detective with the New York City Police Department’s Crime Scene Unit having investigated over 2000 Crime Scenes. He is a twenty-two-year veteran with over seventeen years of experience as a crime scene investigator. Matthew is the lead instructor for the Crime Scene Unit. He teaches several courses with students from city, state and federal agencies. Matthew is an instructor for the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training teaching their Advanced Forensic Investigations for Hazardous Environments course. He has been deemed an expert witness in Latent Prints, Crime Scene Investigation, Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Shooting Reconstruction and Crime Scene Reconstruction in New York City, State and Federal Courts. Matthew is also a Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst with the International Association of Identification. He also works with the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program teaching Terrorist Crime Scene Investigations course.

Karen Smith

Forensic Specialist, Bare Bones Consulting

Karen Smith is a forensic specialist at Bare Bones Consulting and the host of the podcast “Crime Con Presents: Shattered Souls – A Forensic Detective’s Diary”. She has been hired as a forensic expert for two new unscripted television shows, filming hundreds of hours of forensic and reconstruction footage. She is the principal of Bare Bones Consulting, LLC an independent contracting company, offering crime scene and cold case analysis, bloodstain pattern analysis, and crime scene reconstruction services. Karen is a U.S. Navy veteran and a retired detective from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Florida. She served as a major case detective in the Crime Scene Unit for nearly 11 years. She conducted 500 death investigations and worked 20,000 other cases ranging from burglaries to multiple shootings and police-involved homicides. She has testified in over 100 trials, including 13 death penalty cases and currently serves as a lecturer at the University of Florida for the Forensic Science graduate program.

Dr. Chris Ferguson

Professor of Psychology, Stetson University + Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Chris Ferguson is a professor of psychology at Stetson University and a clinical psychologist working with offenders and juvenile justice populations. Dr. Ferguson’s research interests include video games and other media violence effects, meta-analysis and violent criminal behavior. He was named a fellow of the American Psychological Association and was invited to speak at Vice President Biden’s Gun Policy task force in 2013 and at the Institute of Health/CDC.