FSC-20011 - Counterfeits, Fakes and Forgeries
Coordinator: Kristopher Wisniewski Tel: +44 1782 7 34593
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 734921

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to theory and professional practice of forensic analysis of counterfeits, fakes, and forgeries. The core topics that you will study include security systems, document security, heritage authentication, counterfeit medicine, and fraudulent food. You will explore the chemical and analytical analysis of various samples associated with these core topics including documents, paint associated with artwork, and counterfeit alcohol. Across all these areas, laboratory exercises will develop your practical and reporting skills which are needed in the forensic examination of these samples, including, for example, taking case-notes and compiling reports.

The module provides an insight into the core topics of counterfeits, fakes and forgeries within forensic science and will cover aspects of document security, heritage security, counterfeit medicine and food fraud. This will include chemical and analytical aspects, as well as developing the practical and reporting skills needed in the forensic examination of documents, heritage specimens, medicine and fraudulent food. An overview of the security systems used to detect fraudulent activity will also be covered.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Describe, explain and critically review the principles and practices used for the examination of documents, heritage specimens, counterfeit medicine and fraudulent food in the forensic science and security contexts: 1,2
Examine aspects of documents, heritage specimens, counterfeit medicine and fraudulent food: 1
Maintain accurate records of laboratory work and use these to interpret the findings of an examination: 1,2
Communicate effectively and critically discuss the findings from the examination of documents, heritage specimens, counterfeit medicine and fraudulent food, in the form of written reports: 2
Discuss, select and apply appropriate analytical techniques for the physicochemical examination of various document related materials, including inks and paper, as well as drug, food and heritage specimens:

Study hours

Active learning hours:
Problem classes and laboratory sessions: 18 hours
Content delivery: 12 hours
Independent study:
Guided independent study: 70 hours
Assessment completion: 50 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Portfolio weighted 50%
A problem based portfolio
A portfolio of laboratory work and pre-laboratory questions equivalent to ~2500 words.

2: Coursework weighted 50%
Problems based assessment
Problems-based assessment consisting of a number of long questions relating to topics covered in the module, equivalent to ~2500 words.