University of Pretoria Department of Forensic Science

The Department of Forensic Medicine plays a broad and significant role in the Faculty of Health Sciences, as well as in the community in general.

As an academic department, we are responsible for undergraduate training of medical students and law students in the field of forensic medicine and postgraduate training of specialist forensic pathologists and medical officers. We also present lectures to diverse groups in the South African society, including South African police detectives, students in the field of criminology, other health professionals and auxiliary medical personnel.



The department of Forensic Medicine presents approximately 70 lectures and/or tutorials to undergraduate medical students, during the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th years of study. In addition (in the fifth year of study), each student attends daily medico-legal autopsy sessions for a period of two weeks, at the Pretoria Medico-Legal Laboratory. Optional participation in special study modules and attendance at student elective training periods (for one month) are also offered.

Postgraduate Students


Postgraduate training for previously qualified medical practitioners and who holds joint appointment on the shared staff establishment of the Gauteng Provincial Department of Health and the University of Pretoria as medical registrars/residents comprises a four-year residency/training programme.

The programme includes extensive theoretical and practical training in the fields of pharmacology/toxicology, physiology, anatomy, molecular pathology, forensic and anatomical pathology, and research methodology.

Upon successful completion, the degree of Master of Medicine in the field of forensic pathology is conferred, which allows the practitioner to register as a specialist forensic pathologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.


BSc(Hons) and MSc in Medical Criminalistics

Students who have completed an undergraduate BSc-degree in biomedical sciences, with appropriate preparatory subjects, are admitted to full-time or parttime study in the field of medical criminalistics.

Whilst the focus is on exposing the biomedical graduate to the field of forensic medicine, an opportunity is also provided to interact and participate in the full scope of medico-legal investigation of death – including attendance at death/crime scenes, visiting police and other forensic laboratories (such as chemistry/toxicology, odontology and anthropology laboratories).

In addition, students conduct or participate in research in the field of forensic medicine or pathology.

Contact Details

Physical address and Postal address:

Department of Forensic Medicine                                

Pathology Building (Room 4-44)                                    

Prinshof Campus                                                

6 Bophelo Rd   Riveira

Department of Forensic Medicine

Private Bag x323



Tel: (+27) (0)12-323-5298 or (+27) (0)12-319-2122

Fax: (+27) (0)12-323-0921