Skip to main content

Search Bar Icon Close Menu

Master Syllabus

Print this Syllabus « Return to Previous Page

Administrative Unit: Physical and Biological Sciences Department
Course Prefix and Number: FRSC 445
Course Title: Forensic Pathology
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Analysis of systems and methods of determining time, cause, and means of death in criminal investigations and trials. Prerequisites: CJAD 101 and junior standing.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): CJAD 101 and junior standing.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Occasional offering.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Many suitable textbooks are available from various publishers and the following list is not comprehensive. Other textbooks may be judged by individual instructors to be more suitable in meeting Course Objectives. Many current textbooks have companion websites, and the instructor is encouraged to enhance the course experience for the student by utilizing available technology.

Case Studies in Forensic Pathology
By Dix, Jay & R. Calaluce (University of Missouri-Columbia)
Guide to Forensic Pathology
By Dix, Jay, et. al. (CRC Press)
Forensic Pathology
By DiMaio, Vincent, et. al. (CRC Press)
Medicolegal Investigation of Death
By Spitz and Fisher (Thomas Publishers)
Course Objectives
  • To understand and appreciate the history and evolution of the discipline of forensic pathology.
  • To understand the role of the forensic pathologist in the criminal justice system.
  • To examine the relationship and interactions between the forensic pathologist and other entities in the criminal justice system.
  • To gain experience with the common terminology, methods, and procedures connected with the discipline of forensic pathology.
  • To understand relevant systems and methods of determining identification of the dead, and time cause and manner of death in criminal investigations.
  • To examine the practical, theoretical and ethical dilemmas faced by individuals involved in death investigations.
  • To demonstrate critical thinking, research and writing skills on issues relevant to forensic pathology.
    Measurable Learning
  • Describe the history and evolution of the discipline of forensic pathology.
  • Explain the role of the forensic pathologist in the criminal justice system.
  • Describe the importance of proper crime scene response in a death investigation.
  • Explain the various types of evidence typically available at a crime scene in a death investigation.
  • Identify and evaluate relevant methodology of identifications of the dead.
  • Describe the circumstances when an autopsy is appropriate and the proper protocol and procedures followed by coroners and medical examiners in conducting an autopsy.
  • Identify and evaluate relevant methods for determining time, cause, and manner of death.
  • Describe, compare and assess various types and methods of injury for potential lethality.
  • Define, interpret and apply relevant medical and legal terminology to real and hypothetical issues, problems and case studies.
  • Identify and evaluate the ethical issues which are common to death investigations.
  • Appraise and interpret current literature, case studies, materials and developments regarding forensic pathology.
    Topical Outline: In an effort to better prepare students for future educational pursuits and professionalism in their chosen fields, it is highly recommended that all courses bearing the CJAD prefix contain both a writing and speech communication component. Formal writing projects should be prepared in APA format.
  • History of forensic pathology
  • Education, training and duties of forensic pathologists
  • Determination of time of death
  • Determination of cause of death
  • Determination of means of death
  • Autopsy protocol
  • Case studies in forensic pathology
  • Ethical issues in forensic pathology

    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Barry Langford Date: November 22, 2013
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

    Office of Academic Affairs


    Request info