forensic pathology schools in california

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

Forensic pathology is a medical specialty that deals with analyzing causes of death in humans. The best schools in California for forensic pathology are the University of California, Los Angeles and Loma Linda University . Also discover how to become a forensic pathologist in California.

The forensic pathologist is a subspecialist in pathology whose area of special competence is the examination of persons who die suddenly, unexpectedly or violently. The forensic pathologist is an expert in determining cause and manner of death.

The forensic pathologist is specially trained: to perform autopsies to determine the presence or absence of disease, injury or poisoning; to evaluate historical and law-enforcement investigative information relating to manner of death; to collect medical evidence, such as trace evidence and secretions, to document sexual assault; and to reconstruct how a person received injuries.

Students who want to go to the best forensic pathologist colleges often seek careers as medical examiners or clinical forensic pathologists. Here’s a list of some of the ‘Best Colleges for Forensic Pathology’ that offer you with a better chance to learn the essentials in this field.

Forensic Pathology Schools In California

University of California, San Francisco

UCSF Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

The university is entirely dedicated to health sciences and is a major center of medical and biological research and teaching, and is ranked as one of the top universities in the biomedical field in the country and around the world. Residents spend one month of their second AP year at the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office, which handles over 1,400 forensic autopsies per year. Forensic toxicology, laboratory, radiology, anthropology, and odontology are performed on site.  During a one-month rotation, each resident will typically see four to eight homicides, two to three pediatric autopsies, 75 to 100 natural deaths, 20 to 25 accidental deaths, and 10 to 12 suicides.

Founded In: 1864
Ranking: 1st
Tuition & Fees Approximately: $46,631

New York Medical College

Department of Pathology at New York Medical College

New York Medical College is a private biomedical health sciences university based in Valhalla, New York.  The Department of Pathology at New York Medical College supports multiple research laboratories at the New York Medical College campus in Westchester County, and diagnostic anatomic and clinical pathology laboratories in its major teaching hospital, Westchester Medical Center. It offers a range of pre-doctoral graduate programs in experimental pathology at the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences. The Department offers accredited residencies in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology for qualified medical school graduates at Westchester Medical Center.

Founded In: 1860
Ranking: 2nd
Tuition & Fees Approximately: $52,720

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins

The School of Medicine shares a campus with the Johns Hopkins Hospital, established in 1889. The Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins provides in-depth training in anatomic pathology (AP) and clinical pathology (CP), either combined or individually, to newly graduated M.D.s and those with previous postdoctoral experience. It offers courses on anatomic pathology, with a major focus on autopsy, cytopathology, and surgical pathology. The training program at John Hopkins is extensive, and students are given training in various clinical pathology fields. Currently, there are over 1400 people in the department, which includes approximately 120 full-time faculty, 36 residents, 45 graduate students, over 100 fellows, and 1000 staff members.

Founded In: 1893
Ranking: 3rd
Tuition & Fees Approximately: $51,900

Become a forensic pathologist

Ohio State University, Columbus

Department of Pathology

The Department of Pathology at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the largest quaternary care center in central Ohio offering care in all sub-specialties. The program is fully accredited in anatomic and clinical pathology. There are over 85 faculty members in multiple sub-specialties involved in various aspects of resident education and 10 well-trained and experienced pathology assistants to assist residents with grossing, autopsy, frozen section, and tissue procurement. It also has a pathology fellowship for students who have completed their M.D. program.

Founded In: 1870
Ranking: 4th
Tuition & Fees Approximately: In-state 10,037 USD, Out-of-state 27,365 USD

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Medical School

It is the oldest and largest campus within the University of Minnesota system and has the sixth-largest main campus student body in the United States. The course offers a fellowship in forensic pathology along with four-year training in anatomic and clinical pathology. Students also study related courses like microbiology and cytopathology as a part of the course. The student will be expected to review the available literature, including the book Forensic Pathology: Principals and Practice by Dolinak. This course acquaints students with the field of forensic medicine.

Founded In: 1851
Ranking: 5th
Tuition & Fees Approximately: In-state 13,790 USD, Out-of-state 22,210 USD

University of Florida

College of Medicine at UF Health Science Center

The University of Florida is home to sixteen academic colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes. The College of Medicine, the largest of six colleges at the University of Florida Health Science Center. UF Health Pathology Laboratories is a leading provider of surgical pathology and diagnostic laboratory services for the southeastern United States. Headquartered in Gainesville, Florida, and home to more than 30 nationally recognized pathologists in all subspecialties of pathology, UF Health Pathology Laboratories has the experience and expertise to diagnose a patient’s condition quickly, accurately and professionally.

Founded In: 1853
Ranking: 6th
Tuition & Fees Approximately: Local tuition: 6,381 USD, Domestic tuition: 28,659 USD

Michigan State University

MSU is one of the largest universities in the United States and has approximately 552,000 living alumni worldwide. Michigan State University has long been recognized as a premier institution for research and education in forensic science and is home to a number of excellent resources for the study of forensic science. The Forensic Science Masters program at Michigan State University is designed to give students a broad theoretical and practical background in the scientific, legal, and investigative aspects of forensic science while providing the opportunity to study one of the major disciplines in depth.

Founded In: 1855
Ranking: 7th
Tuition & Fees Approximately: In-state 13,560 USD, Out-of-state 36,360 USD

Temple University

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Temple is among the world’s largest providers of professional education (law, medicine, podiatry, pharmacy, dentistry, and architecture), preparing the largest body of professional practitioners in Pennsylvania. The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine of the Temple University’s School of Medicine offer a residency program in anatomic pathology, with specializations in forensic pathology or autopsies. While on the forensic pathology rotation, residents receive instruction and perform autopsies under the supervision of staff pathologists of the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Founded In: 1884
Ranking: 9th
Tuition & Fees Approximately: In-state 15,188 USD, Out-of-state 25,494 USD

University of Southern California

The Keck School of Medicine Department of Pathology

The university is one of the top fundraising institutions in the world, consistently ranking among the top three in external contributions and alumni giving rates. The Keck School of Medicine Department of Pathology is one of the largest pathology departments in the United States. The school has a four-year program in anatomic and clinical pathology. Forensic pathology is one of the numerous specializations that this course offers.

Founded In: 1880
Ranking: 10th
Tuition & Fees Approximately: 50,210 USD

best schools for forensic pathology in california

Piled Bodies, Overflowing Morgues: Inside America's Autopsy Crisis - The  New York Times

National University La Jolla, CA

National University offers 4 Forensic Science degree programs. It’s a large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 70 Forensic Science students graduated with students earning 69 Master’s degrees, and 1 Certificate.

  • University of California-Davis Davis, CA

University of California-Davis offers 1 Forensic Science degree programs. It’s a very large, public, four-year university in a small suburb. In 2019, 27 Forensic Science students graduated with students earning 27 Master’s degrees.

  • California State University-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA

California State University-Los Angeles offers 1 Forensic Science degree programs. It’s a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 19 Forensic Science students graduated with students earning 19 Master’s degrees.

  • Loma Linda University Loma Linda, CA

Loma Linda University offers 1 Forensic Science degree programs. It’s a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large suburb.

  • University of San Diego San Diego, CA

University of San Diego offers 2 Forensic Science degree programs. It’s a medium sized, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 64 Forensic Science students graduated with students earning 64 Master’s degrees.

  • San Jose State University San Jose, CA

San Jose State University offers 1 Forensic Science degree programs. It’s a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 21 Forensic Science students graduated with students earning 21 Bachelor’s degrees.

  • Fresno Pacific University Fresno, CA

Fresno Pacific University offers 1 Forensic Science degree programs. It’s a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 13 Forensic Science students graduated with students earning 13 Bachelor’s degrees.

Salary of a forensic pathologist

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) does not report on the occupation of pathologist. They do report on Physician Assistants who earn a median salary of $104,860 as of May 2017.

The BLS reports the median salary of anthropologists at $62,280 with a master’s degree. The projected job growth is 4% through 2026.

You’ve seen them on TV crime shows and legal dramas. A medical examiner is a physician who examines a body post mortem, or after death, to determine the cause of death when there appeara to be unusual or suspicious circumstances.

what schools offer forensic pathology

Students can train to become forensic pathologists at the following medical schools.

College/UniversityLocationInstitution TypeTuition (In-state, 2015-2016)*
Pennsylvania State UniversityHershey, PA4-year, Public$49,800
Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI4-year, Public$43,408
University of Texas-Southwestern Medical CenterDallas, TX4-year, Public$17,913
University of North Carolina-Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC4-year, Public$21,837
George Washington UniversityWashington, DC4-year, Private$56,140
University of California-DavisDavis, CA4-year, Public$35,322
Emory UniversityAtlanta, GA4-year, Private$49,800

how to become a forensic pathology

A forensic pathologist is a medical doctor with extensive training and education. Take these steps to be a forensic pathologist:

1. Earn your bachelor’s degree

You first must earn a bachelor’s degree and meet the prerequisite courses needed to apply to an accredited medical school. It’s best to pursue a degree in science with coursework focused on chemistry, biology and math. Some schools offer forensic science programs that are uniquely suited to those who want to become forensic pathologists. These degree programs cover topics like criminal evidence, forensic law and crime scene investigation.

During your undergraduate years, you will need to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The score will be part of your admission application to medical school.

2. Graduate medical school

Forensic pathologists must have either a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) degree. You need to complete four years of medical school to earn this degree. The first two years focus primarily on lectures and labs and you may take an elective in forensic pathology. The last two years include clinical rotations so seek out autopsy pathology rotations or others that might be useful for a forensic pathologist career path.

3. Become a licensed physician

You must become a licensed physician before continuing your post-medical school education. The requirements for licensure vary by state but most require that you pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

4. Complete a residency program

Once you’ve obtained your state license, you’ll need to complete your four-year anatomic pathology and clinical pathology (AC/CP) residency program approved by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Anatomic pathology studies cover surgical pathology, gastrointestinal pathology and autopsies. Clinical pathology includes cytogenetics, hematology and molecular diagnostics. Focus on electives in anatomic pathology when possible as these are generally more relevant to forensic pathology.

5. Finish a forensic pathology fellowship

After completing your AP/CP residency program, you need to complete a one-year ACGME-approved fellowship focused solely on forensic pathology. This will give you the specialized knowledge you need for this field.

6. Obtain board certification

Medical school and residency programs will prepare you for board certification with the American Board of Pathology. Before seeking a subspecialty certification in forensic pathology, you will need to become certified in anatomic or clinical pathology, undergo a year of training and pass an exam.

The anatomical pathology portion of the exam includes:

  • 55-question microscopic exam and 30-question virtual microscopy examination
  • 115-question written exam
  • 125-question practical exam with images

The clinical pathology exam includes:

  • 120-question practical examination
  • 121-question written exam
  • 124-question practical exam with images

The forensic pathology subspecialty exam includes:

  • 45-question microscopic exam and 10-question virtual examination
  • 115-question written exam
  • 135-question practical exam with images
    To maintain certification, you must earn continuing medical education credits and pass a recertification exam every 10 years.

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