List of Top Medical Examiner Schools and Colleges

Aug 19, 2018

Medical examiners typically receive specialized residency training through forensic pathology fellowships. A limited number of these programs are available through university medical schools and the office of the county medical examiner. Find out more about the rankings and related program offerings at the top schools for studying the medical examiner field.

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After completing medical school and a residency program, aspiring medical examiners can enroll in fellowship programs in forensic pathology before launching their careers in the field. These programs are available through several top medical schools around the U.S. The medical schools at the University of Colorado, the University of Alabama, and Emory University were nationally recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report for 2017. Each institution provides opportunities to pursue training to become a medical examiner.

University of Colorado in Denver

U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Colorado Medical School as tied for #35 among the best medical schools for research for 2017. Medical school graduates who are eligible for Colorado state medical licensure may apply for a one-year forensic pathology fellowship with the Denver medical examiner, which may only admit one student per year. Fellows receive training in DNA, toxicology, fingerprint, and scene analysis. Fellows also develop forensic photography skills and analyze and interpret postmortem testing results. Pathology fellows will take part in 200-250 autopsies and are considered employees of the City and County of Denver.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

The Alabama School of Medicine was tied for #35 in best research medical schools by U.S. News & World Report in 2017. After completion of a pathology residency, doctors may apply for a one-year forensic pathology fellowship with the Jefferson County Medical Examiner. Fellows determine the cause of death in cases of sudden or violent death. Fellows are trained to investigate crime scenes, perform postmortem examinations, and offer testimony in court cases.

Emory University in Atlanta, GA

For 2017, Emory University earned the #29 spot on U.S. News & World Report's rankings of top medical schools for research. Over the course of the one-year forensic pathology fellowship at Emory University, fellows perform about 250 autopsies and are involved in roughly 75 crime scene investigations. They also do rotations in the Georgia Division of Forensic Sciences Crime Lab as well as other local facilities to obtain real-world experience in the field. The program has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Top Medical Examiner Schools

Relevant fellowship programs are also available at a few other well-regarded schools:

School Name Location Distinction
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC In addition to independently managing a case load of up to 250 autopsies, fellows have consultations in subjects like forensic radiology, forensic odontology, and neuropathology.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX Forensic pathology fellows earn a generous stipend for their work in the year-long program, which may include providing courtroom testimony.
Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC Forensic pathology fellows attend the American Academy of Forensic Sciences' yearly meeting in addition to a wide range of other conferences and seminars offered during their year of service.

The University of Colorado, the University of Alabama, and Emory University are several top schools that offer fellowships in which medical students can gain specialized training to become medical examiners. Each school has unique considerations, such as competitive national rankings and employment opportunities.

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