If you’re like many true crime fans, you’ve likely racked up hundreds of hours watching crime documentaries, Law & Order, Criminal Mind and CSI TV episodes and films like Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, based on real-life serial killer Ted Bundy. And you probably have taken a deep dive into content about crime like the best-selling book If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood.

With an increasing number of institutions offering online courses on all things criminology, it may be time to satiate your appetite for crime solving with continuing education courses that provide insights on a wide range of topics, including the mind of a criminal, forensics that help investigators solve cases, the flaws of eyewitness testimony, and how to detect when someone is lying to you. We have a number of people in our community who have taken the next step and signed up for classes, and then shared their knowledge as well!

Take a look at these 5 online courses designed for true crime fans, including those who may want to pursue a degree in the criminal justice field. 

Introduction to Criminology: Explaining Crime: Learn to Speak About Criminal Psychology and the Sociology of Crime Like an Expert

This course is among the highest rated criminology courses available on Udemy, an online learning platform. More than 22,000 people have taken this course by Margit Averdijk, Ph.D., a criminologist, university researcher and publisher.  

The goal of the course is to provide you with the knowledge you need to speak about criminology like an expert, gain a better understanding of why people commit crime, and understand how to critically assess daily news about real crimes. The pre-recorded content includes lectures on “Born to be a Criminal”: The Role of Biology and the Body; The Calculating Criminal: Classic Explanations, and The Psychology of Crime: Personality, Mental Disorders and Psychopathy. 

The course, which includes 2.5 hours of on-demand video and downloadable content, was originally priced at $94.99, but as with most Udemy courses, you may be able to get a significant discount at the time you sign up. A certificate also is available for those who are interested. Register

Intro to Forensic Science: A Survey of General Forensics

If you’re into crime scene investigation, including analyzing fluids, DNA, blood spatter, and trace evidence, such as footprints and tire prints, this Udemy course can put you on the path to a general understanding of forensic science. Taught by Dr. Adrienne Brundage, a general forensic scientist, this course also gets high marks from the more than 2,000 students who have enrolled.

The content is exhaustive. For example, under Forensic Anthropology, students will cover the following topics: Forensic Anthropology History, Bone Remodeling and Anatomy,

Components and Development of Bone, Aging Techniques, Osteobiography, Age Determination, Estimating Height and Race, Facial Reconstruction, Forensic Odontology and Tooth Basics, Individual Characteristics and Bite Marks, Aging Techniques, Individual Characteristics and Bite Marks, Forensic Anthropology, and Height Estimation Calculations.

This Udemy course is listed at $24.99, and includes a total of 32 hours of video content consisting of more than 100 lectures, and downloadable articles and resources. A certificate of completion is also available. Register

Introduction to Forensic Science

For another online option on the topic of Forensic Science, try this course on the Coursera platform. Introduction to Forensic Science is taught by Roderick Bates, an associate professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Bates, who previously taught at various institutions, including Texas, Thailand, and England, is the author of “Organic Synthesis using Transition Metals.”

As part of the highly rated course, students will learn more about the job of a forensic scientist, explaining the scientific principles and techniques they use to assist police in solving crime. The course will also explain how traces of blood can be found and used in evidence, why DNA chemistry can be a powerful tool in solving crime, what happens biologically and chemically to someone who has been poisoned, how to detect how long someone has been deceased, and how a small piece of fiber or a single drop of blood can lead to a conviction.

The course takes about 18 hours to complete. Coursera membership ranges from free to $9.99/month to $39/month, unless you’re pursuing a degree. Register

Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation

Can you solve a crime using nothing but eyewitness evidence? This course offered on the Future Learn platform explores the use of eyewitness testimony as a component of criminal investigations — even as some researchers question the validity of this type of evidence. As part of the course, participants will gain an understanding of police questioning techniques and why they could be flawed.

The class instructors are Graham Pike, a psychologist and professor of forensic cognition at the Open University, and Zoe Walkington, a psychologist and senior lecturer for the school of psychology at Open University.

The online course will include the use of videos of real eyewitnesses and behind-the-scenes accounts of police investigations as it explores the psychology of eyewitness testimony. In addition to eyewitness testimony, the course topics include witness memory, inattentional blindness and observation of criminal incidents, interviewing witnesses, facial recognition, and visual identification. The course is free and available for 10 weeks after you enroll. You also have the option of registering for $74 to gain a certificate and unlimited access as long as it is available online. Register

Detective’s guide to lie detection and exposing the truth

Whether or not you decide to pursue a career as a detective, this Udemy course will give you an inside look at how to tell when someone is lying. 

The course is taught by retired detective and police sergeant, J.L. Sumpter, who has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience. If you’ve seen the Snapped or Deadliest Women, you may be familiar with his work as he is a featured investigator for the two national TV crime series. 

The course provides effective lie detection training, with more than 100 real-life examples, some consisting of actual interviews. Take a look at some of the course topics: Forensic Psychology, Criminal Profiling, How Does Forensic Science Work?, How to Think Like a Detective, Case Studies of Serial Killers, Analyzing Body Language and Crime Fundamentals.

The course, which can be purchased for $29, includes more than 20 lectures via 2.5 hours of on-demand video, 22 articles and 25 downloadable resources.


Didn’t find anything that struck your interest?

Don’t forget you can download our Citizen Detective guide to give you some inspiration, or you can join our community to have access to tons of additional citizen detective resources and network with others just like you!