Forensic Medicine

Philadelphia Campus

Forensic Medicine

Students at PCOM learn forensic medicine by doing forensic medicine. Under the guidance of professional investigators, students gather in teams to conduct their own investigations—from mock crime scenes to accident reconstructions to clandestine gravesites.

Our Programs 

Pathway Program

The Pathway Program is an online summer preparatory course designed to prepare students for entry into our master's program. The program is offered 100 percent online.

MS in Forensic Medicine

The Master of Science in Forensic Medicine program is designed for individuals who have an undergraduate degree and background in the sciences. The highly experiential forensic medicine program focuses on the evaluation of live and deceased victims. The program provides students with a baseline of analytic and critical thinking skills that will prepare them to become medical and legal death investigators.

PCOM students engage in a broad—and very active—study of the forensic field covering topics including forensic pathology; forensic anthropology (identification and investigation of human remains); forensic odontology (dental evidence); forensic entomology (insect evidence); ballistics, fingerprint, crime scene and blood spatter analysis; toxicology; DNA; arson and fire investigation; evaluation of the sexual assault victim and more.

The program welcomes and trains both newcomers and professionals currently in forensic medicine, preparing them for a variety of rewarding careers in the field.

Career Options

Career paths and, in some cases, volunteer opportunities for graduates of the MS in Forensic Medicine degree program may include the following:

  • accident scene investigator
  • autopsy technician
  • coroner
  • forensic investigator
  • legal consultant
  • trauma
  • emergency medicine
  • psychiatric nurse
  • sexual assault nurse examiner
  • social services investigator and/or advocate

DO/MS Degree 

Doctor of Osteopathic medicine students may pursue a dual DO/MS degree during an extended second year in which students complete forensic medicine coursework.

Career Options

Post-medical school (DO program) careers include:

  • pediatrician (concentration in child abuse)
  • geriatrician (concentration in elder abuse)
  • emergency medicine
  • medical examiner

Forensic Medicine Concentration

Students in the MS in Biomedical Sciences program may pursue a concentration in forensic medicine after completing foundation year coursework.

Learn More

PCOM offers the only forensic medicine program in the region that was developed and is overseen by a board-certified forensic pathologist. With courses taught by leading experts currently working in the field, students learn from professionals who bring in-depth knowledge and years of field experience. 



Program Highlights


Program faculty bring in-depth experience and are all current practitioners in the field, with jobs that include: chief deputy coroner, head of forensic unit, director of paramedics, FBI SWAT team member, police detective, and certified bomb expert.


The forensic medicine curriculum (MS program) consists of one year of didactic (face-to-face classroom) coursework that meets one weekend per month followed by a year of online coursework as well as a capstone project.


Non-science majors who are interested in forensic medicine may first apply to the Pathway Program to receive the necessary preparation to enter the MS program. Courses for the Pathway Program are offered 100 percent online.

Individualized Instruction

With a low student-to-instructor ratio, the program provides highly individualized instruction.



Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
Evans Hall, Suite 403A-6
4170 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Phone: 215-871-6760 | Fax: 215-871-6865

Gregory McDonald, DO, FCAP
Chair and Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology

James McCans, MS, NREMT-P
Assistant Professor

Joel Garblik, DDS, MS
Clinical Instructor

Detective David J. McDonald
Clinical Instructor

Terri Curry
Academic Coordinator