There aren’t many opportunities for writers around like this, especially free of charge.

For as little as up to four-hours work per week over a six-week period, taken at your own pace, you could discover just what it is like to IDENTIFY the DEAD.

Starting 7th September 2015, anyone, anywhere in the world can sign up for University of Dundee logothis on-line course delivered by the University of Dundee via the Future Learn Project.

The Forensic Science and Human Identification course run by Helen Meadows will allow you to uncover a grave, examine the remains and reveal the identity of the victim.  You will be taken on a journey through the world of forensic anthropology, unveiling the tools that will allow you to discover the identity of the remains.

The University blurb reads:

In the shadow of Dundee’s Law Hill, a grim discovery demands the attention of forensic experts. Unidentified human remains have been found and the police need to identify the victim to move forward with their investigation.

After a meticulous recovery of the remains, it will be your job to:

  • document and attempt to explain any evidence of trauma;
  • identify the victim through biological profiling;
  • and undertake a facial reconstruction.

Experts from the University of Dundee’s award-winning Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHId) will guide you through the process of human identification.

They will introduce you to the fields of human identification; forensic anthropology and archaeology; craniofacial identification; and the study of the human body.

Evaluate evidence as the case unfolds

Week-by-week, the case will unfold, providing you with more information about the victim. You will be presented with theoretical material and hands-on learning opportunities, to evaluate the case information and use what you have learned, to piece together clues to the victim’s identity.

You will be able to discuss, with educators and others learners, your thoughts on the identity of the deceased, based on your evaluation of the evidence.

Get your own copy of the murder mystery

After you submit your evaluation of the victim’s identity, all will be revealed at the end of the final week. You can continue your journey into the life and death of our victim in your very own e-book copy of a specially written murder mystery by international best-selling crime novelist Val McDermid.

Bear in mind that although this course involves the investigation of the death of a fictional character, some of the content may be distressing to individuals, particularly younger learners. However, this material is representative of that encountered by forensic experts.

To join the course just follow this link: Identifying the dead.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t already got your copy of the British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers by clicking on the picture below:BPCD Cover




  1. Margaret Morton Kirk says:

    I can heartily recommend this – did an earlier course through this organisation which was run by Strathclyde university, which was excellent. And it’s free – what more do you want?!


  2. J E Ellard says:

    Kevin, I was delighted to receive your email. This is something I would like to do, to put into “practice” some of the stuff I learned previously.

    Unfortunately, I shall be in Turkey from 26th Sept, to 10 October, I have written to the organisers to see if I can do catch up sessions on my return. I’ll let you know the outcome.

    Many thanks indeed for the message.

    Eric Ellard


    • Hi Eric
      you will have no worries for whilst the course has a start date, you are not compelled or required to keep pace with it. You work at your own speed as and when you like. You may miss a few live events this way but they tend to be recorded and made available to those further behind on the course. The other advantage is that you can also work faster than the running of the programme as the future lessons are generally available form the start. The drawback of racing ahead is that you miss out on the discussions with your peers.

      Good luck and enjoy.


  3. Bren says:

    Thanks, Kevin. I have joined the course. Have done others through Future Learn and they are very good.


  4. Heather Walker says:

    I loved this course! I fist became fascinated by forensics at a police station open day when I was about 13. It obviously stayed with me as I began to write in later life. I’ve not written about a murder yet, more general crime, but I love learning about how the police operate etc. and the course really fired me up! Now I’ve found your site!


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