Yellow crime scene tape barricading an investigation space that reads, "Police line do not cross."

The certificate in death investigation is for students aspiring to enter the field, and for individuals already employed who either seek professional advancement or wish to update their skills.

This course of study prepares students for the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators national certifying exam. Job opportunities for those with a certificate in death investigation would be available in the offices of both medical examiners and coroners.

Program Type

Undergraduate Certificate

Program Format

On Campus

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The certificate requires a basic knowledge of chemistry and biology. To meet this requirement, students must successfully complete CHEM 100: Chemical Science or equivalent, and BIO SCI 100: Survey of Zoology or equivalent.

The abbreviation ACCC is used in the course listings below to represent the four departments that are jointly offering these courses, ANTHRO/CHEM/BMS/CRM JST; students may enroll in the courses under any of the four curricular areas.

The following courses must be completed successfully to obtain a death investigation certificate:

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
ACCC 281Dead Men Do Tell Tales: An Introduction to Forensic Science3
ACCC 285Medicolegal Death Investigation3
ACCC 481Criminalistics3
ANTHRO 403The Human Skeleton3
ANTHRO 405Forensic Anthropology3
CRM JST 110Introduction to Criminal Justice3
CRM JST 480Criminal Evidence and Investigation3

Choose one of the following:

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
BMS 610Pharmacology3
HCA 212Drugs Used and Abused3

Additional Courses

Additional courses with forensic content are listed below. Check prerequisites or consult the instructor for eligibility.

These courses are recommended, but are not required, for the death investigation certificate:

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
ACCC 585Internship in Forensic Toxicology2-3
ACCC 594Internship in Forensic Science3
ANTHRO 404Heredity, Environment, and Human Populations3
BIO SCI 539Laboratory Techniques in Molecular Biology4
BMS 555Toxicology and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring1
BMS 560Molecular Diagnostics2
BMS 561Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory1
BMS 620Forensic Pathology2
CHEM 194Freshman Seminar: (with forensic subtitle)3
CHEM 524Intermediate Analytical Chemistry3-5
CHEM 602General Biochemistry3

Students in Letters and Science
Dana Northrup

Students in the College of Health Sciences
Bill Mueller

Students in Criminal Justice & Criminology
Kate Masshardt