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FPA5007 - Death investigation

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: A/Prof David Ranson


Clayton Full year 2007 (Day)


This unit will provide students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills to observe and analyse evidence at death scenes. Enhancing their ability to work effectively with other participants in the process and to answer questions about cause and circumstances of deaths under investigation. Unit covers: models for death investigation systems; examples from Australia and other jurisdictions; recent reform proposals in the UK re issues of organisation and administration, investigation powers and inquests/formal hearings; relationships between forensic pathology and science services; management of bodies and tissues; and interaction with next-of-kin.


On completion of this unit the student is expected to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of different models for death investigation systems.
  2. Understand how issues of organisation and administration of death investigation systems and management of key processes impact on forensic pathology practice.
  3. Understand the principles of death scene investigation and the roles of the relevant participants in the investigation;
  4. Have acquired skills necessary for effectively observing and analyzing death scene evidence.
  5. Be able to apply these skills to different types of death scenes.


Assignments 30%, Case Study presentation 40% and Oral Examination 30%.

Contact hours

60 Contact hors (tutorials and attendance at scenes), 50 hours of case and practical work and approximately 46 hours for individual study, assignments and case book preparation.