Principles of Forensic Medicine 1


Core Course
Credits: 4

A study of basic concepts, techniques and practical philosophies that comprise the foundation of Forensic Pathology.  This course introduces the student to the forensic autopsy, death scene investigation, the importance of human identification, death scene chronological analysis and significant factors that may have contributed to a decedent’s demise.  A basic understanding of forensic histology is reviewed.

Course Objectives:

  • Define a forensic autopsy and describe the conditions under which it is necessary to perform one.  Students will also understand the distinct types of autopsies and the advantages and limitations of each.
  • Understand basic principles of death scene investigation, death scene etiquette and the relationship between partner organizations present at every death scene.
  • Become familiar with multiple techniques used to positively identify a decedent.
  • Accurately estimate the time of death by observing decedent post mortem changes and the interpretation of evidence found near the body.
  • Understand the significance of traumatic injuries and natural disease when determining cause, manner and mechanism of death.


  • Module 1: Introduction to Forensic Pathology
  • Module 2: The Forensic Autopsy
  • Module 3: Death Scene Investigation
  • Module 4: Medicolegal Death Investigation
  • Module 5: Human Identification
  • Module 6: Postmortem Changes
  • Module 7: Time of Assault vs. Time of Death
  • Module 8: Post-Injury Intervals and Trauma Analysis
  • Module 9: Contributing Factors to Cause, Manner, and Mechanism of Death Determination
  • Module 10: Forensic Histology
  • Final Exam