Bachelor's Degrees in Forensic Pathology: Online & Campus-Based Programs

Forensic pathologists investigate biological evidence of corpses or human remains; they are often part of criminal justice investigations. Get information about the education required to enter this field. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Will a Bachelor's Degree Program in Forensic Pathology Prepare Me For A Career?

Bachelor's degree programs in forensic science will provide you with the undergraduate biological education you need to prepare for a career in forensic pathology. Because the forensic science field encompasses criminal justice and physical science, as well as physical and non-physical evidence, most bachelor's degree programs are multidisciplinary. Even if your school's curriculum doesn't require the in-depth biological studies necessary for a foundational education in forensic pathology, you can still take numerous biology electives to prepare for your chosen career.

Forensic science bachelor's degree programs include courses in criminal justice and chemistry. Required chemistry courses cover molecular and atomic interactions; this knowledge can be very useful in understanding the biological structures of the deceased. You'll also learn about toxicology and biological oxidation, which may prove useful in the forensic analysis of deaths involving poison, drugs or other chemicals. Last but not least, you'll learn numerous laboratory analysis techniques and safety procedures used when conducting medical and criminal investigations.

Possible Careers Forensic pathologist
Common Courses Toxicology, molecular biotechnology, microbiology, organic chemistry, crime scene analysis
Online Availability Bachelor's programs are not available online; forensics certificates may be available online
Continuing Education Doctorate degrees are available
Median Salary (2018)* $200,890 (for physicians and surgeons not listed separately including forensic pathologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 11% (for physicians and surgeons not listed separately including forensic pathologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Bachelor's Degree Program in Forensic Science Entail?

Undergraduate degrees in forensic science are typically conferred in a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) format. In addition to the above-mentioned science and criminal justice theories commonly taught in these programs, many schools emphasize applied education. You'll likely be required to complete several laboratory courses, both in science and forensics. The former gives you a chance to practice the skills learned in a classroom setting, while the latter allows you to gain hands-on experience conducting forensic tests like DNA, bloodstain or toxicology analysis. Below is a list of course topics commonly required in forensic science B.S. programs:

  • Organic chemistry
  • Criminal justice and society
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Crime scene analysis
  • Microbiology
  • Statistical analysis in forensics
  • Criminal evidence
  • Human anatomy
  • Molecular biotechnology

Are These Programs Available Online?

At this time, there are no bachelor's degree programs in forensic science available online. However, some institutions do offer forensics certificates online. You may be able to get started on your forensics studies by taking online courses in areas related to forensics, such as biology, chemistry or criminal justice. Some accredited distance learning programs do allow students to take single classes without being enrolled in a degree program. Such courses may serve as a supplement to a bachelor's degree in a related area.

What Additional Education Do I Need to Become a Forensic Pathologist?

Earning your forensic science bachelor's degree is just the first step towards becoming a forensic pathologist. According to the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), a professional group for death and medical investigators, aspiring forensic pathologists must earn either a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) degree. You then must fulfill residency requirements and obtain your license to practice medicine; exact regulations in these areas may differ from state to state.

Once you officially become a medical practitioner, you're also eligible to obtain certification as a forensic pathologist. Certification examinations are developed, issued and scored by the American Board of Pathology, a professional association granting certification in specialized areas of medical pathology.

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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