Essentials of forensic interpretation

Formation Continue Unil-EPFL

LocationLausanne, Lake Geneva region, Switzerland
Essentials of DNA interpretation

Essentials of Bayesian networks in forensic science

Statistics and the Evaluation of Forensic Evidence

Target audience

Practitioners of all forensic disciplines - including reporting officers, lawyers, accreditation bodies - having a University degree (at least BSc) or an equivalent degree of a higher education programme. The course is given in English. For exercises, discussions and one-to-one tutorials, English, German or French are available as further languages.

Given by recognized specialists in the field, this online course covers the essentials of forensic interpretation applied to the solution of inferential problems in forensic science and in the administration of justice. It is designed to make practitioners at ease with a probabilistic approach to the evaluation and interpretation of forensic findings. The content focuses on the so-called likelihood ratio, a measure that is supported by the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes and the UK’s Association of Forensic Science Providers due to its qualities such as coherency and transparency. The course is based on research that has been described as providing the essential building blocks for the proper assessment, understanding and communication of findings in the NAS report "Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward".

The course lasts 6 months with a workload per week of 3 hours on the online platform and 1.5 to 2 hours of personal work (in total around 150 hours training).

The course team also offers further online short courses for practitioners who wish to specialize in DNA interpretation , or Bayesian networks.
In addition to these short courses, a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Statistics and the Evaluation of Forensic Evidence is proposed to forensic practitioners willing to acquire a comprehensive training (around 470 hours, 18 months in total).


  • Provide practitioners with a theoretical and practical background in probabilistic and statistical reasoning without leaving their desk (online course).
  • Program

  • Uncertainty in forensic science
  • Nature of probability
  • First reflections on forensic interpretation of scientific findings (concepts of uniqueness and individualisation)
  • Evaluation of forensic findings with a logical approach
  • Communication of results, relevant populations and pitfalls of intuition
  • Introduction to a choice of specialized topic (fingermarks, Bayesian networks, transfer material such as fibers, glass, GSR etc.).
  • Instructors

  • Professor Christophe Champod
  • Professor Franco Taroni
  • Professor Alex Biedermann

  • The instructors have theoretical and practical experience with evaluation and interpretation from laboratory to courtroom. They have published over the years numerous scholarly papers and textbooks on the subjects of evaluation and statistics in forensic science.


  • Prof. Colin Aitken, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Programme coordination

  • For academic questions : sefe [a] unil[.]ch
  • Practical information

    Course venue

    Online course


    Apply online. A current curriculum vitae is to be uploaded through our online application system.

    Course fee *

    3’500.- Swiss Francs

    * based on the price of the last edition

    Registration deadline

    Registration Closed

    Contact for administrative questions

    Ms. Mary-Claire André Mollet
    mary-claire.andremollet [a] unil[.]ch

    Alumni testimonials

    « Since completing your 2014 Essentials of Forensic Interpretation course, I have personally promoted it at every appropriate opportunity. Essentials of Forensic Interpretation is a great course and I have professionally benefited so much from it. » Charles Eggleston

    « This is a superb course and I will continue to recommend it to others. It has helped me enormously and has really clarified my thinking about effective interpretation and communication. I will miss working with you and would certainly be interested in further study on your courses. » Paul Olden, Forensic Scientist (Firearms), Key Forensic Services, UK.


    In your contacts, please refer to
    and reference