Forensic Pathology Graduate Programs

Find out the education, training and licensure requirements for a career as a forensic pathologist. Get information about graduate degree options in the field along with job duties. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Graduate Degree Do I Need To Become A Forensic Pathologist?

As a forensic pathologist, you'll perform autopsies and related investigations in order to determine a cause of death in suspicious circumstances. You'll need to complete medical school as a key step towards entering this field. All forensic pathologists possess a Doctor of Medicine degree. While in medical school, you'll study many aspects of human biology, including anatomy, diseases and injuries. You can't complete medical school by studying online; only campus-based programs are available.

What Prerequisites Do I Need?

You can apply to medical school immediately upon completing your undergraduate degree. Though most medical schools don't stipulate a particular undergraduate field, there is significant coursework that you should take while earning a bachelor's degree. These subjects include inorganic and organic chemistry, biology and physics. You'll want to take a combination of lecture and laboratory-based sciences.

What Additional Training Will I Need?

After earning your medical degree and license, you can enter a residency program in pathology. This program can be either a 4-year residency in anatomic and clinical pathology or an anatomic pathology residency that lasts 3-4 years. You follow either residency option with a 1-year residency specifically in forensic pathology, where you perform autopsies and work on death investigations in a supervised environment. You may also receive broader career-focused preparation, including the opportunity to present a lecture at a forensic pathologist conference or meeting. Upon successfully completing this residency, you can apply to fellowship programs in forensic pathology for further specialized training.

Including your 4-year undergraduate degree, your 1-year fellowship will cap up to 14 total years of preparation for your career in forensic pathology. The final step is to earn board certification through the American Board of Pathology (ABP). The forensic pathology examination at ABP is a 1-day, computer-based test that includes 125 written questions, which take nearly two hours to complete (www.abpath.org). The process finishes up with two practical components, including a 125-question, 2.25-hour image section followed by a 50-question, 3-hour microscopic section.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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