Schools with Criminal Pathology Programs: How to Choose

Criminal pathology is part of the larger field of forensics. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in forensic science train students to work as criminal pathology lab technicians; to become a board-certified criminal pathologist, one must go to medical school and complete a pathology residency.

Criminal pathology can be studied at various levels; students can choose the type of program that best meets their needs. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in forensic science are available at 2- and 4-year schools throughout the nation, while medical school graduates who wish to become pathologists will find residencies at medical schools, which usually take about 4-6 years to complete.

Schools with Forensic Science Programs

These schools offer relevant programs in forensic science and related fields for students who are interested in criminal pathology:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (In-state, 2015-2016)*
Eastern Florida State College Cocoa, FL 4-year, Public Associate's $2,496
George Mason University Fairfax, VA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Graduate Certificate $10,952 undergrad, $10,328 graduate
Iowa State University Ames, IA 4-year, Public Graduate Certificate $8,130
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Master's $16,122
Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus University Park, PA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $17,514 undergrad, $19,328 graduate
Southern Utah University Cedar City, UT 4-year, Public Master's $7,034 graduate
University of Maryland - University College Adelphi, MD 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,056
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,965
West Virginia University Institute of Technology Montgomery, WV 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,336

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

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

  • Students should look for schools that have been accredited by the Forensic Science Education Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), as these schools may better prepare students to pass licensure examinations or to work in the field.
  • Students with scheduling constraints may want to look for programs that offer courses partially or completely online, or programs that allow for part-time study.
  • Because studies in the field are offered at multiple levels, students should make sure they meet the program's minimum admissions requirements.

Associate's Degree in Forensics

Associate's degree programs related to criminal pathology can be found in forensics and criminal justice technology. Associate's degree programs consist of approximately 60 credit hours of general education and field-specific coursework. Credits earned are often transferable to a 4-year college or university.

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

Bachelor's degree students in forensic science learn the analysis techniques for drugs and DNA. An internship and a capstone research project may be required during their last year of study.

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Some programs allow students to specialize in a specific topic, such as criminal justice or forensic biochemistry. Many programs offer both a thesis and a non-thesis option. Some programs include internships in local pathology labs and mock-trial courtroom experience to prepare students to testify in court. This graduate program generally lasts for 2 years.

Forensic Pathology Residency Programs

Medical school graduates who wish to become pathologists need to complete a residency in pathology, which takes 4-6 years. Residencies require medical students to take courses and complete a 1-month rotation in a criminal pathology location, such as a medical examiner's office.

Students interested in criminal pathology can find relevant, accredited programs available at multiple educational levels and in several different scheduling formats.

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