Forensic Medicine Colleges and Schools: How to Choose

Forensic medicine is the field of medicine in which pathologists work. To be able to practice forensic medicine, students need to graduate from medical school and complete both a residency and fellowship.

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To become a forensic pathologist, students must complete a 4-year residency in general pathology, along with a yearlong fellowship in forensic pathology. Medical schools around the country offer relevant programs for aspiring pathologists who are interested in forensic medicine.

Schools with Forensic Pathology Programs

These schools offer training programs for aspiring forensic pathologists:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered
Indiana University Indianapolis, IN 4-year, Public Residency, Fellowship
University of Colorado Denver Aurora, CO 4-year, Public Fellowship
Emory University Atlanta, GA 4-year, Private Residency, Fellowship
Temple University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Public Residency
Ohio State University Columbus, OH 4-year, Public Residency
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private Residency
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Residency, Fellowship
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private Residency
Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC 4-year, Private Residency, Fellowship

School Selection Criteria

Here are some considerations for students who choosing between programs in this field:

  • Students should look for programs that have been accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
  • When choosing between medical schools, students may want to check if the school offers a pathology rotation and find out about residency placement rates in the field.
  • When evaluating residency programs, students should compare pay stipends and the rate at which they increase as the student advances through the programs.
  • Prospective fellows may want to research what techniques are practiced in a fellowship to make sure the program will fit their career goals.

Doctor of Medicine

The first two years of medical school are referred to as the pre-clinical years, while the last two are the clinical years. The pre-clinical years teach students the basic principles of the medical field that they can apply to pathology. The clinical years involve rotations in different areas of medicine. Through the program, medical scholars are trained to perform basic procedures, diagnose patients, interpret tests and plan treatments.

Pathology Residencies

Most programs devote at least 18 months to both anatomical and clinical pathology, with the rest of the program divided between generalized training, laboratory medicine and research. Programs that focus exclusively on anatomical pathology or clinical pathology are also available.

Forensic Pathology Fellowships

Fellowships allow residents to specialize as forensic pathologists while giving them more autonomy and responsibility. Many require fellows to complete case reports and attend educational conferences, in addition to conducting autopsies and attending scenes. Fellows are often charged with overseeing residents and medical students. These hands-on programs vary from one institution to another.

Aspiring pathologists who want to focus on forensic medicine must fulfill extensive educational requirements before they can start practicing. They can find accredited programs that meet the necessary standards at many medical schools.

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