units

FOR4011

Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

LevelPostgraduate
FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine
OfferedNot offered in 2015
Coordinator(s)Dr Soren Blau

Synopsis

Forensic anthropology is the field of study concerned with the examination of material believed to be human to answer medico-legal questions including those related to identification. The aim of the Elements of Forensic Anthropology unit is to introduce students to the theory and practice of forensic anthropology and provide them with a thorough understanding of the various contributions this discipline makes to forensic investigations. Although the unit is designed for medical practitioners and practicing dentists, it is likely to be of interest to post-graduate students from a Science and/or Arts background who wish to gain a greater understanding of the types of evidentiary and investigative information that can be obtained when only skeletal remains survive. The unit will cover:

  • Human skeletal and dental anatomy;
  • Preparing and analysing differentially preserved skeletal remains;
  • Forensic anthropology: identification and analysis of differentially preserved human remains;
  • Developing a biological profile: ancestry, sex, age and stature;
  • Introduction to the analysis of skeletal trauma;
  • The use of forensic anthropology in different cases (domestic cases, disaster victim identification (DVI), human rights investigations);
  • Working with other forensic experts: forensic pathologists, forensic odontologists, molecular biologists, etc;
  • Forensic anthropology report writing; and
  • Cultural and religious issues related to dealing with dead bodies and exhumations.

Outcomes

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Describe f the role of forensic archaeology and anthropology in the search, location and recovery of human remains.
  2. Identify individual skeletal elements and begin to formulate an educated opinion on their origin (human or nonhuman).
  3. Describe the preservation and condition of human remains and demonstrate an understanding of how preservation impacts on techniques employed by forensic anthropologists.
  4. Describe the principles related to developing a biological profile (estimation of ancestry, sex, age and stature).
  5. Explain the differences between biological and personal identity.
  6. Describe the role of the forensic anthropology in the analysis and interpretation of skeletal pathology and trauma.
  7. Describe the different contexts where forensic anthropology may make a contribution.

Assessment

Essay (2,000 words) (30%)
4 x Case studies (1,500 words each) (40%)
Oral presentation (15 minutes) (30%)

Workload requirements

It is expected that students will need to undertake approximately 12 hours of study per week over the semester. This will include contact time, private study, assessment tasks (case studies, assignments) and, where possible, involvement in casework. Students are required to attend all workshops offered at the Department of Forensic Medicine during the semester.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Co-requisites