FOR5021 - Mortuary technical science - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Forensic Medicine


Dr. Jodie Leditschke

Not offered in 2017


Mortuary Technical Science is the field of study concerned with forensic mortuary techniques, procedures and protocols. The aim of the unit is to introduce students to the theory and practice of forensic mortuary techniques, and provide them with a thorough understanding of the various contributions this discipline makes to medico-legal investigations. Although the unit is designed for scientists who wish to pursue a career as a forensic mortuary scientist, it is likely to be of interest to post-graduate students from a Science and/or medical background who wish to gain a greater understanding of the roles and techniques conducted within a forensic mortuary. The unit will cover:

  • Theory and practice of basic forensic mortuary techniques; Preparing and assisting in an adult, and infant forensic autopsy
  • Specialised forensic mortuary techniques including radiology, neuropathology, toxicology sampling and background principals ;
  • Preparing and assisting in an infectious/suspicious death autopsy
  • Forensic evidence handling
  • Occupational Health and Safety, Quality management, and ethics specific to a forensic mortuary
  • Management of a forensic mortuary in a disaster
  • Coronial and Human Tissue Legislation underpinning accredited forensic mortuary facilities


Upon successful completion of this unit, students will:

  1. Identify and evaluate the role of a mortuary technician as part of a multidisciplinary team in the setting of medico-legal death investigation;
  2. Analyse skills in compliance with mortuary OH&S and PPE, and consider and formulate the variations in requirements depending on different case types and situations;
  3. Perform the necessary skills in and describe the theory behind the evisceration and reconstruction of a forensic autopsy, including specialist autopsy techniques;
  4. Analyse and evaluate the legal framework within which a mortuary technician works, especially the Coronial system applicable in Australia;
  5. Assess the roles and elements of successfully managing a mortuary in a disaster situation;
  6. Appraise the ethical principles which underpin good forensic mortuary practices.


  • Essay (2500 words) (40%) (Hurdle)
  • 2 Case Studies (1200 words each) (40%) (Hurdle)
  • Oral Presentation (20 minutes)(20%)

Workload requirements

It is expected that students will need to undertake approximately 12 hours of study per week over the Semester.

This will include private study (text and readings), assessment tasks (case studies, assignments), and may include involvement in case work

Students are required to attend a two day workshop near the end of the semester.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study