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Forensic Medicine


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Forensic Medicine
MS and Pathway Programs

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.

Hands-on Learning, Expert Instruction in Forensic Pathology

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.


Our Forensic Medicine Programs

Pathway Program (for Non-Science Majors)

The Pathway Program is an online summer preparatory course designed to prepare students for entry into our master's program. The program is offered 100 percent online.



MS in Forensic Medicine

The Master of Science in Forensic Medicine program is designed for individuals who have an undergraduate degree and background in the sciences. The highly experiential forensic medicine 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.

What is forensic medicine?

Forensic medicine is the evaluation of victims to determine the cause of injury or death. For living victims, forensic medicine 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.

Forensic medicine includes a heavy concentration in pathology and diseases and how those impact the overall determination of cause of death. Forensic medicine professionals go to crime scenes, assist with autopsies and gather specimens which are then provided to forensic scientists for analysis.

What subjects are covered in the program?

PCOM students engage in a broad—and very active—study of the forensic field covering topics including:

  • forensic pathology;
  • forensic anthropology (identification and investigation of human remains);
  • forensic odontology (dental evidence);
  • forensic entomology (insect evidence);
  • ballistics, fingerprint, crime scene and blood spatter analysis;
  • toxicology;
  • DNA;
  • arson and fire investigation;
  • evaluation of sexual assault victims;
  • and more.

Image of 2018 Award for Best Online Master's in Forensic MedicineThe program welcomes and trains both newcomers and professionals currently in forensic medicine, preparing them for a variety of rewarding careers in the field. Typically, our enrolled students have backgrounds as:

  • Physicians
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurses (BSN and beyond, e.g. Nurse Practitioner)
  • Paramedics
  • Criminal Investigators
  • Coroners
  • Law Enforcement Professionals

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine/MS in Forensic Medicine Dual Degree

Doctor of Osteopathic medicine students may pursue a dual DO/MS degree during an extended second year in which students complete forensic medicine coursework.


DO/MS Degree Career Options

Post-medical school (DO program) careers include:

  • pediatrician (concentration in child abuse)
  • geriatrician (concentration in elder abuse)
  • emergency medicine
  • medical examiner


Forensic Medicine Concentration

Students in the MS in Biomedical Sciences program may pursue a concentration in forensic medicine after completing foundation year coursework.



Take your first step toward a career in forensic medicine 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 Master of Science (MS) in Forensic Medicine program.

How do I apply to PCOM's forensic medicine programs?
  1. Review PCOM's application requirements for the forensic medicine programs.
  2. Submit your application through GradCAS, a centralized application service.

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


The forensic medicine pathway program is a 10-week, online summer course in general biology, and human anatomy and physiology. Upon successfully completion of the program, students may advance to the Master of Science (MS) in Forensic Medicine program.

What courses will I take as a forensic medicine student?

MS program courses may include:

  • Pathology
  • Principles of forensic medicine
  • Bioethics
  • Law and evidentiary procedure

Visit our course sequence page for additional information.

How long does it take to complete the Master of Science in Forensic Medicine degree program?

The 20-credit program takes approximately 24 months to complete.

Visit our frequently asked questions page for more information.


For the 2020-2021 academic year, tuition for the forensic medicine pathway and MS programs is $925 per credit.

The comprehensive school fee for the summer and fall terms is $188 per term; the comprehensive school fee for the winter and spring terms is $187 per term.

Visit the Bursar's Office pages for additional tuition and billing details.