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 comprises two interrelated modules on the disciplines of Forensic Entomology and Pathology. Each module consists of a variety of lectures and laboratory/field sessions: (1) Forensic Entomology component—introduction to forensic entomology; insect structure and function; WA Department of Agriculture visit; forensic entomology; succession and ADD (accumulated degree days); aquatic insects; insect structure and taxonomy; and simulated crime scene practical at Harry Waring Marsupial Reserve; (2) Pathology component—coronial system; post-mortem changes; time of death; injuries and gunshot injuries; drowning deaths; asphyxia; electrocution; fire-related deaths; death from natural disease; introduction to toxicology (drugs and alcohol); special deaths and hidden homicide; and mass disasters.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) understand the relationship between medicine and the law, specifically relating to the detection and interpretation of changes associated with death; (2) have basic knowledge of the causes of natural deaths, and the distinction between natural and violent death; (3) gain knowledge of the indicators of death due to poisons and intoxication; (4) gain awareness of common forensic problems such as the detection of hidden homicide and identification of visually unidentifiable bodies; (5) understand the structure and function of insects; (6) be aware of insect ecology and insect succession; (7) have the skills to identify insects to order; (8) develop an understanding of the reproductive cycles of insects of forensic significance, and how this information can be used to determine the post-mortem interval; (9) develop crime-scene management and evidence collection skills, with a focus on insect material; and (10) appreciate appropriate protocols for handling and rearing insect specimens.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) practical work; (2) court report (entomology); and (3) final theory examinations. 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)
Associate Professor Daniel Franklin and Ambika Flavel
Unit rules
FNSC8503 Forensic Pathology, FNSC8561 Forensic Entomology
Contact hours
lectures: 2–3 hours per week
labs: approx. 2–3 hours per week.
  • 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.