FPA5004 - Autopsy practice - 2018

12 points, SCA Band 2, 0.250 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

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Stephen Cordner


Professor Stephen Cordner

Not offered in 2018


Enrolment by Department of Forensic Medicine permission only.


Autopsy techniques will be taught via experiential learning in the mortuary, with experienced practitioners from the VIFM acting as tutors/supervisors. Over the 12 months of training, the student will be required to apply the learned techniques to different types of cases, allocated to ensure as wide a range of experience as possible is gained. Students will also be given practical instruction in techniques to forensic odontology and anthropology that are used to support forensic pathology practice, particularly in identifying unknown remains.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Accurately assess the significance of contextual information contained in medical records and other relevant documentation and apply it to interpretation of autopsy findings.
  2. Show proficiency in standard autopsy techniques, applied to routine coroners cases.
  3. Show familiarity with specialised techniques applied in specialised cases.
  4. Be able to recognize and interpret disease and injury in standard and specialised cases.
  5. Be able to present and discuss autopsy findings with colleagues.
  6. Accurately analyse, interpret and document autopsy findings in autopsy reports for use in the coronial system.
  7. Show familiarity with specialized forensic odontology and anthropology techniques.


  • Performance of autopsies and presentation of findings (25%)
  • Oral and written examination (50%) (Hurdle)
  • Casebook (25%)

Workload requirements

Students will attend regular pathologists meetings approx 40 hours, 200 hours in mortuary engaged in practical work and observation. Approx 72 hours individual study and case book preparation.

See also Unit timetable information

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

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