Students at PCOM learn forensic medicine by doing forensic medicine. Under the guidance of professional investigators, students gather in teams to conduct their own investigations—from mock crime scenes to accident reconstructions to clandestine gravesites.
PCOM offers the only forensic medicine program in the region that was developed and is overseen by a board-certified forensic pathologist. With courses taught by leading experts currently working in the field, students learn from professionals who bring in-depth knowledge and years of field experience.
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Gregory McDonald, DO ’89, chair of the forensic medicine program and dean of PCOM's School of Health Sciences, is a member of the Vidocq Society, an organization of forensic experts who help law enforcement agencies solve cold cases. [Read more].
The MS program is designed for individuals who have an undergraduate degree and background in the sciences. The highly experiential program focuses on the evaluation of live and deceased victims. The program provides students with a baseline of analytic and critical thinking skills that will prepare them to become medical and legal death investigators.LEARN MORE
Forensic medicine is the evaluation of victims to determine the cause of injury or death. For living victims, it is used to determine how an injury occurred—including the weapon used or force applied—and if the facts established through scientific investigation are consistent with the story provided by the victim or other party. In evaluating deceased victims, forensic experts investigate the circumstances surrounding death in order to interpret trauma, establish time of death, and determine if the death resulted from an intentional act or natural disease.
PCOM's MS program includes a heavy concentration in pathology and diseases and how those impact the overall determination of cause of death. Forensic professionals go to crime scenes, assist with autopsies and gather specimens which are then provided to forensic scientists for analysis.
PCOM students engage in a broad—and very active—study of the forensic field covering topics including:
The program welcomes and trains both newcomers and professionals currently in the forensics field, preparing them for a variety of rewarding careers in the field. Typically, our enrolled students have backgrounds as:
Doctor of Osteopathic medicine students may pursue a dual DO/MS degree during an extended second year in which students complete forensic classes.LEARN MORE
Post-medical school (DO program) careers include:
Take your first step toward a career in forensics and apply today for our pathway or graduate program. Applicants who lack coursework in the core sciences (biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology) may enroll in our pathway program to receive the preparation necessary to enter the MS program.
Once your application is received by our admissions staff, you will be contacted via email with a confirmation of receipt along with reminders of the appropriate steps to complete the admissions process. For details, see the admissions requirements section of the application requirements page.APPLY ONLINE
MS program courses may include:
Visit our course sequence page for additional information.
The 20-credit program takes approximately 24 months to complete.
Visit our frequently asked questions page for more information.DOWNLOAD PROGRAM BROCHURE