FOR3001 - Principles of forensic medicine and science - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - 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

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine

Chief examiner(s)

A. Prof Richard Bassed


Jo-Anne Mazzeo

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


(BMA1011 and BMA1012) OR (BMS2031 and BMS2011)


This unit will cover the complex and diverse specialties of Forensic Medicine and Science.

This unit will cover all forensic disciplines, both medical and scientific, that are encountered in the medico-legal investigation of death and injury (deliberate and accidental).

Topics covered in the unit include; the scope of forensic medical science, clinical forensic medicine, forensic field sciences, forensic odontology, forensic anthropology, forensic molecular biology, forensic toxicology, death investigation, decomposition and forensic entomology, forensic pathology, the role of the coroner and public health, and the anatomy of a murder.


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

  1. Summarise the principles and scope of forensic medicine and science in their application in the Australian Criminal Justice and Coronial legal systems.
  2. Distinguish the application of Clinical Forensic Medical services and apply them to the Australian Criminal Justice and Coronial legal systems.
  3. Describe the core elements of forensic odontology, anthropology and forensic entomology and be able to expo how these specialties assist forensic medical investigations.
  4. Discuss the core elements of forensic toxicology and forensic molecular biology and how these science disciplines are integrated into a comprehensive death investigation service.
  5. Distinguish basic forensic autopsy principles in the setting of medico-legal death investigation the approaches to autopsy.
  6. Explain the interface between forensic pathology and other forensic medical and scientific disciplines in a team based approach to death investigation.
  7. Summarise the legal frameworks within which forensic practitioners work.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

  • Weekly quizzes (10%)
  • Case study (2,400 words) (40%) (hurdle)
  • Mid-semester test (10%)
  • Written examination (2 hours) (40%) (hurdle)

Hurdle requirement:

80% attendance at tutorials and participation in online tasks.

Workload requirements

6 hours per week of teacher directed study including a 3-hour workshop; and 6 hours per week of self directed private study.

See also Unit timetable information

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

Public health

Forensic Science