The Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility (STAFS) offers a variety of training opportunities that include unique hands-on training to law enforcement, educators, college students, as well as criminal justice professionals. STAFS training opportunities are offered during the summer months and are typically posted in January of that year. Courses typically cover topics such as human osteology, forensic anthropology, human decomposition, recovery techniques, and investigation. Participants will get hands-on experience processing mock crime scenes, practical laboratory activities, and take-home resources.

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2023 Summer Short Courses

Our courses are developed with a target audience of high school instructors, graduate students, and law enforcement, forensic practitioners and investigators. STAFS Summer Courses can also be taken by undergraduate students of a relevant degree, and with a classification of Junior or Senior. Please email for additional information. TCOLE Credit available on all courses.
See below for current courses being offered.

Surface Decomposition, Search, and Recovery of Human Remains

Dates: June 13th – 16th
Cost: $650
Registration Due: May 1st, 2023

This course explores the core research of STAFS – the science of human decomposition. Participants will learn about the fundamental process and stages of decomposition, techniques used to estimate the postmortem interval (PMI), search and recovery methods, and how animal scavenging and the environment affects decomposition of soft tissues and and bones. Participants will apply what they learn by observing donors in different stages of decomposition and analyzing taphonomic influences to produce PMI estimates. Participants will also learn the basics of forensic anthropology and conduct a search and recovery of real human remains.


Introduction to Human Identification Techniques

Dates: June 27th – 29th
Cost: $500
Registration Due: May 15th, 2023

Based on various forensically relevant scenarios such as a missing persons cases and mass fatality incidences, this course will cover the basics of identifying human remains through various forensic techniques. Participants will learn about the three primary methods of human identification; DNA analysis, fingerprint examination, and forensic odontology. In addition, participants will also learn about other approaches used to identify human remains such as forensic anthropology, forensic pathology, forensic geneaology, electronic and digital forensics.


Forensic Investigation of Fires and Explosion

Dates: July 25th – 28th
Cost: $650
Registration Due: June 15, 2023

Crime scenes involving fire and/or explosive devices represent complex scenarios that require multidisciplinary scientific and law enforcement collaborations. Participants will learn about fire, arson, and explosive-related crimes, and the science behind how evidence is collected and processed in the field and the laboratory. Attendees will learn about the effects of thermal and explosives trauma on the human skeleton and human identifcation, and discover how Fire Investigators use their knowledge, experience, and tools such as accelerant detector dogs to work a scene. Theory is put into practise by working mock crime scenes involving fire, explosives, and human fatalities.