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 taken as part of the Graduate Diploma in Forensic Odontology and is taken in conjunction with DENT5653 Forensic Medicine. It provides an overview of the history of forensic odontology, protocols of the mortuary and crime scene, the medico-legal autopsy, post-mortem changes, 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 oral histology and pathology and the scientific aspects of these topics.

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

Students are able to (1) understand the process of body decomposition; (2) demonstrate skills in evaluating injuries resulting in death; (3) demonstrate the ability to evaluate bite marks; (4) use effective communication skills with colleagues and allied personnel such as pathologists; (5) understand and apply mortuary protocols and policies; and (6) demonstrate skills in mortuary procedures.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignment work; (2) one written examination (1.5 hours); and (3) a 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 DENT5653 Forensic Medicine
Approved quota: 2
Contact hours
lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical work: 60–70 hours according to mortuary casework and court attendance

An Introduction to SEM, DVD tutorial

Bass, W. M. Human Osteology: a Laboratory and Field Manual: Missouri Archaeological Society 1987

Blau, S. and Ubelaker, D., eds. Handbook of Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology: Left Coast Press 2009

Dolinak, D. et al. Forensic Pathology: Principles and Practice: Elsevier Academic Press 2005

Finkbeiner, W. E. et al. Autopsy Pathology: a Manual and Atlas, 2nd edn: Churchill Livingstone 2004

Flegler, S. L. et al. Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy: an Introduction: W. H. Freeman 1993

Haglund, W. D. and Sorg, M. H., eds. Forensic Taphonomy: the Post-Mortem Fate of Human Remains: CRC Press 1997

Krogman, W. M. and Iscar, M. Y. The Human Skeleton in Forensic Medicine, 2nd edn: Charles Thomas Publishing 1986

Pickering, R. B. and Bachman, D. C. The Use of Forensic Anthropology: CRC Press 1996

White, T. D. Human Osteology: Academic Press 2000

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

Saukko, P. and Knight, B. Knight's Forensic Pathology, 3rd edn: OUP 2004

Scott, G. R. and Turner, C. G. The Anthropology of Modern Human Teeth: CUP 1997

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.