Principles of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis


Elective Course
Credits: 3

The course will provide a basic and fundamental knowledge in the field of bloodstain pattern interpretation. It will illustrate the scientific principles and practical application of bloodstain pattern analysis to actual casework. Emphasis is placed on proper identification, documentation, interpretation, and presentation of bloodstain patterns. The course will include analyzing multiple bloodstain events and cognitive bias.

Course Objectives: 

  • Describe the development, history, and advancement of bloodstain pattern analysis.
  • Describe the inherent limitations of bloodstain pattern interpretation.
  • Recognize, document, collect, preserve, and examine bloodstain pattern evidence.
  • Recognize and distinguish between spatter stains and non-spatter stains and sequencing events.
  • Understand bloodstains on clothing, absorbent/non-absorbent substrates.
  • Recognize and interpret the mechanism by which bloodstains were created.
  • Recognize the variety of wounds and various weapons used to create wounds.
  • Explain the mathematical relationship which apply to bloodstain patterns in determining Area of Convergence and Area of Origin.
  • Prepare scientifically-based reports, peer-review and courtroom testimony.
  • Understand cognitive bias, subjective v. objective


  • Module 1: Introduction and Background/History of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
  • Module 2: Properties and Hemodynamics of Bloodstains
  • Module 3: Spatter Stains vs. Non-Spatter Stains and Sequencing Events
  • Module 4: Distribution, Size, Shape of Bloodstain and Mechanical Causations
  • Module 5: Bloodstains on Clothing, Proper Handling Procedures, Absorption Concerns, Photographing (Road-Mapping), and Packaging
  • Module 6: Documentation of Multiple and Different Patterns Using Several Different Methods
  • Module 7: Identify Wounds and their Causations (Blunt Force, Sharp Force, and Firearms)
  • Module 8: Mathematical Relationship Applied to Bloodstains in Determining Area of Convergence (AOC) and Area of Origin (AOO)
  • Module 9: Preparation of Reports, Understanding Peer-Review Requirements, and Preparing for Courtroom Testimony
  • Module 10: Cognitive Bias