Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit is part of the Graduate Diploma in Forensic Odontology and is taken in conjunction with DENT5654 Forensic Pathology. It provides an overview of the history of forensic odontology, protocols of the mortuary and crime scene, the medico-legal autopsy, post-mortem changes, the significance of saliva, semen, cytology and DNA fingerprinting, non-biological methods of identification, the biodynamics of craniofacial injuries, disaster victim identification (DVI), physical anthropology investigation and forensic photography. The unit emphasises the medical and scientific aspects of these topics.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) understand the process of the medico-legal autopsy; (2) understand and apply the protocols for collection of specimens for forensic examination; (3) evaluate craniofacial injuries; (4) determine the ethnicity, gender and age of victims using anthropological techniques; (5) demonstrate advanced skills in DVI; and (6) demonstrate advanced skills in forensic dental examinations.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignment work; (2) one written examination (1.5 hours); and (3) viva voce examination (45 minutes). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Stephen Knott
Unit rules
Bachelor of Dental Science from this University or equivalent as recognised by the Faculty.
and at least two years' experience in the practice of general dentistry
enrolment in
the Graduate Diploma in Forensic Odontology (91350)
and DENT5654 Forensic Pathology
Approved quota: 2
Contact hours
lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical work: 60–70 hours according to mortuary casework and court attendance

Andreasen, J. O., et al. eds. Textbook and Color Atlas of Traumatic Injuries to the Teeth, 4th edn: Blackwell Publishing 2007

Bowers C. M. and Bell G. L., eds. Manual of Forensic Odontology, 3rd edn: American Society of Forensic Odontology 1997

Berkovitz, B. K. B. et al. A Colour Atlas and Textbook of Oral Anatomy: Wolfe Medical Publications 1978

Cameron, D., ed. Practical Forensic Odontology: Reed International Books 1992

Colyer, J. F. John Hunter and Odontology: Claudius Ash 1913

Gustafson, G. Forensic Odontology: Staples Press 1966

Keiser-Nielson, S. Person Identification by Means of the Teeth: a Practical Guide: J. Wright 1980

Luntz, L. L. and Luntz, P. Handbook for Dental Identification: Techniques in Forensic Dentistry: Lippincott 1973

Rogers, S. L. The Testimony of Teeth: Forensic Aspects of Human Dentition: C. C. Thomas 1988

Scott, J. H. and Dixon, A. D. Anatomy for Students of Dentistry, 2nd edn: Livingstone Press 1966

Standish, M. S. and Stimson, P. G., eds. Symposium on Forensic Dentistry: Legal Obligations and Methods of Identification for the Practitioner: Saunders 1977

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.