Skip to content

Delve into the multilayered world of crime + justice

Understand the science, psychology, forensic puzzles + legal arguments of criminal investigations

From TV franchises like Law + Order all the way back to Edgar Allen Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue, published almost 200 years ago, why have we remained so fascinated by crime, and the investigations and courtroom drama that stem from it, for so long? Gain insights and perspective as you peel back the many layers of our criminal justice process. 

  • Session 1
    Residential: June 30 - July 13
    Commuter: July 1 - July 12
  • Session 2
    Residential: July 14 - July 27
    Commuter: July 15 - July 26
  • Location:
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Staff to Student Ratio 1:6
  • Tuition
    Residential: $6,400
    Commuter: $3,190

    Tuition + Financial Aid

Explore the intersections of law, science + society

Lead Instructor

Criminal Investigations

Chris Huntington-2-1

Chris Huntington

Chris Huntington has had a distinguished career as a federal agent and military investigator. In his nearly two-decade career with two federal agencies, Chris worked not only throughout the United States but across the globe conducting criminal investigations and intelligence operations. His work as a special agent has included joint task force operations with the FBI and collaboration with law enforcement agencies at the federal, military, state, and local levels, and he has worked on areas as diverse as underwater robotics, to assist with anti-smuggling efforts at sea.

In his current work as a federal agent, he focuses on complex cases of fraud and abuse within the government, and programs funded by the government. Chris also supervises and trains special agents throughout the western United States. Outside of work, Chris is a licensed skydiver and avid trail and marathon runner.

What you'll do


Investigating 21st-century Crimes

Learn from law enforcement officers and forensic scientists about how crimes of all sorts are investigated, in both the digital and physical world. Tackle case studies that engage your critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills.


Explosives Investigation

You will go behind the scenes for a training exercise with a major metropolitan police department at a state-of-the-art bomb unit training facility. There, bomb unit instructors will blow up a vehicle. You will explore the use of specialized tools and equipment to safely locate, identify, recover, disarm, and dispose of dangerous weapons.


UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Lab

Join a team of scientists at the world’s leading veterinary forensic lab. Learn how they work with investigators in a wide variety of cases, ranging from theft, animal cruelty, and animal attacks to “human” crimes like homicide where animal evidence can provide valuable links between the suspect and victim. Explore lab processes, dive into case examples hinging on forensic animal DNA evidence, and discover the many potential sample sources and species available for testing through veterinary genetic forensics.


Evidence on Trial

Using examples of real cases, explore what rules govern whether evidence can be used at trial, and what steps investigators must take to be sure they conduct a thorough investigation while respecting the rights of the accused.


Prosecution + Defense Strategy

Meet with attorneys and investigators from local agencies to explore the role of public defenders in both courtroom legal defense and in the investigation to prepare that defense.

Program description

In this immersive program, you’ll integrate the rigor of forensic science with the strategy of police work and the nuances of criminal law. Engage with seasoned investigators and legal professionals to peel back the layers of complex criminal cases. Learn to navigate the interplay between field work and the courtroom, understand the science behind evidence, and explore important ethical considerations. Collaborate on mock investigations, unravel forensic puzzles, and hone your ability to argue the letter of the law.

While you'll learn cutting-edge investigative techniques, forensics, and rules of evidence, you'll also discover why criminal investigations loom so large in the popular imagination. In all of their many aspects, they satisfy our desire to see things that others miss, untangle complex puzzles, explore people's motivations and psychology, and argue a point through a thicket of rules to a conclusion—and, hopefully, justice.


Advisors + Faculty + Speakers

Take a look at some of the advisors, program faculty, and speakers over the years to get a sense of who has had a hand in shaping our curriculum. You get the real deal here at EXPLO.

Jill Wichlens
Jill Wichlens, JD

Retired Appellate Assistant Federal Public Defender

Saul Kassin Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Karen Smith

Forensic Specialist, Bare Bones Consulting

Brig Barker
Brig Barker

Retired FBI Special Agent

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist + Professor of Psychology, Stetson University

Matthew Steiner
Matthew Steiner

Detective, New York City Police Department Crime Scene Unit

Katherine Ramsland
Katherine Ramsland Ph.D.

Professor of Forensic Psychology, DeSales University

Daniele Podini
Daniele Podini

Department Chair, Forensic Sciences, George Washington University

Preview college life at a world-class university    

3x4 berkeley campus

Whether as a residential student living on campus with a roommate and eating in the dining hall, or as a commuter joining us for the day and optional evenings, you’ll experience life in one of the country’s most renowned academic capitals. Stroll among the famous campus redwoods or explore the bustling college town right outside. Nearby, you’ll find arty San Francisco, high-tech Silicon Valley, and beautiful beaches.

Live the EXPLO life

At EXPLO, we combine mind-expanding discovery with serious summer fun. Play some pickup soccer or board games with new friends. Hike up to the Botanical Gardens. Stroll into downtown Berkeley. Hit the sunny beaches for a day of seaside fun. And do it all with curious and inclusive new friends.

Get to know your summer home.