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Medicine, Medical Sciences & Research careers

Forensics & Pathology

What does forensic pathology involve?

It’s all about investigating the human body or crime scenes to find answers.

Pathology primarily focuses on the causes and effects of diseases or injuries to the human body, whilst forensics covers a wider remit, looking at a wide spectrum of sciences to provide the most probable answers to legal questions.

For example, a pathologist will be able to explain to you that a person died from a blood clot on the brain, but a forensic scientist will be able to explain the most probable reason for this outcome through scientific investigations, such as finding matching fingerprints, blood and hair samples on a piece of wood that is found at the crime scene.

These jobs are extremely important and often involve the most serious issues in society, such as serious and organised crime. The evidence provided by pathologists and forensic scientists is used to acquit and convict suspected criminals; get it wrong and it will have serious consequences. If you feel up to that responsibility, a graduate job in this field could be for you!

What do forensic pathologists do?

Pathologists are usually responsible for overseeing crime scenes. Consequently, you could be working at any time of the day or night. The primary role is to control the scene, so that as much evidence as possible can be gathered to try and put together the most probable reasons for the outcome of events.  

Obviously, this line of work is not for everyone and requires a special type of person, as you are likely to come across some horrific scenes and you will often be dealing with very serious matters.

However, exposure to some of the darker aspects of these careers can be avoided depending on where you choose to focus your expertise. Forensic science manifests itself in several forms, from the study of teeth and levels of intoxication to the reasons that buildings collapse and how people think. So a career in this area does not necessarily mean you will have to face graphic scenes every day of the week.

What qualities do I need to become a forensic pathologist?

Pathologists need to have the ability to break down complex science in a manner that jury members are able to comprehend, but without removing the important details. Being on call throughout the night is not unlikely at some stage in your career and the ability to switch off from work will be important.

Forensic scientists will be working closely with pathologists, police officers, detectives and lawyers on a day-to-day basis. The work can be varied; therefore, attention to detail is paramount and immaculate methods of reasoning are an essential requirement.

Careers in forensics and pathology can often be macabre and quite disturbing but these jobs are of paramount importance. If you’ve got a strong stomach and an eager eye, plus a head for science, a career in this sector could be right up your street!