This course is offered over one year full-time only.
The course is taught over two intensive 4 or 5 week intensive teaching periods to assist and encourage interstate and overseas participants. The first semester's program covers basic dental science and forensic medicine and pathology. The second semester's teaching relates to law and law enforcement and more applied aspects of dental science, such as disaster victim investigation (DVI) procedures.
Teaching is mainly at the Melbourne Dental School and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine.
The course has two major components:
- A basic theoretical core taught and examined as four discrete units. These comprise:
- basic dental sciences
- forensic medicine and pathology
- applied dental science
- law and law enforcement
- A complementary applied practical course, where pertinent scientific techniques and laboratory procedures are demonstrated and taught. During this program numerous visits to appropriate subsidiary teaching venues will take place. This course is to be co-ordinated as closely as practicable with the corresponding units of the theory program.
Casework is unpredictable and sporadic and during the intensive periods you are expected to be available at short notice, day or night, in order to gain appropriate experience.
If you are an international student you may wish to remain in Melbourne for the duration of the course where the facilities (research laboratories, library, etc) of the University are available to you, or you may wish to return to your home country, provided the local facilities for research and experience in casework are sufficient. It is anticipated that a substantial amount of directed and supervised reading and written essays will be undertaken in your home country or places of work.
|Subject No.||Graduate Diploma in Forensic Odontology
Total points = 100
|511-861||Forensic Odontology 1||25||1|
|511-862||Forensic Odontology 2||25||2|
|511-863||Casework/Research Report 1||25||1|
|511-864||Casework/Research Report 2||25||2|
Dental Practice Board of Victoria Continuing Professional Development hours are approved for this course. Please refer to this link for details: http://www.dentprac.vic.gov.au/cpdactivities.asp.
These subjects are comprised of the following teaching units:
A. Basic Dental Science Unit (Semester 1)
- Embryology of human cranio-facial structures.
- Anatomy of human cranio-facial structures.
- Dental embryology.
- Human tooth morphology.
- Physical anthropology. Racial traits.
- Comparative dental anatomy.
- Dental histology.
- Age changes to teeth and jaws.
- Physical methods of study, eg. fundamentals of optics and the utilization of the electro-magnetic spectrum.
- Data collection, storage, transmission and retrieval.
B. Forensic Medicine and Pathology Unit (Semester 1)
- History of Forensic Odontology.
- Hazards of the mortuary and scene of crime.
- The medico-legal autopsy and post-mortem changes.
- Bite marks and other wounds to the external surface of the bodies of the living and deceased.
- Identification using Molecular Biology DNA 'fingerprinting'.
- Non-biological methods of identification.
- Recording methods and preparation of reports.
- Soft tissue injuries (the differential diagnosis of the causative agent).
- Assessment and recording of cranio-facial injuries.
- Disaster victim identification (DVI).
- Forensic photography non-contact 3D measurement.
- Forensic psychology/psychiatry - offender profiling.
C. Applied Dental Science Unit (Semester 2)
- Dental materials.
- Prosthetics - impression techniques - study model construction and duplication - denture marking.
- Preparation of Exhibits.
- Anatomical reconstruction of facial features.
- Radiography and radiology.
- Fractures of bones and teeth.
- Soft tissue injuries.
D. The Law and Law Enforcement Unit (Semester 2)
- The law and its constitutional basis.
- Dental ethics and jurisprudence.
- The organisation of police forces.
- Forensic Odontologist. Liaison with police and legal profession.
- The scene of crime.
- Case preparation and presentation:
a) Coroners court
b) Crown court. Defence and prosecution.
- History of the Coronial system and duties of the Coroner.
- The functions of the Expert Witness.
- Legal implications of mass disasters and repatriation.
- Impression taking from persons both living, dead and objects and foodstuffs. Model making. Marking of dentures.
- Photography/Facial Scanning.
- Charting methods.
- Bite marks.
- Preparation of histological material. Hard and soft tissues.
- Applications of electron microscopes.
- The medico-legal autopsy.
- Mock mass disaster.
- X-ray diffraction/Microradiography and other physical methods of study.
- Radiology, osteology, comparative anatomy.
- Mock Court - presentation of evidence.
- Superimposition techniques.
- Class presentations of the student's own research or coursework.
- Digital image processing of radiographs and photographs.
You are required to undertake a research project and submit a research report and provide evidence of casework experience in the form of a portfolio of forensic cases undertaken throughout the year. Your research project may be undertaken in either of the principal teaching venues (Melbourne Dental School, The University of Melbourne and/or the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine). However, it may be necessary to approve research projects elsewhere provided that supervision requirements are adequate.
You must pass all of the following assessments to successfully complete the course:
- Each of the four units (A – D) is examined by a written paper (one and a half hours) and a 30 minute oral examination at the end of the semester in which the unit is taught.
- You are also required to submit two essays (each of approximately 3,000 words) for each unit.
- A report of your research project and/or a casework portfolio (suitable for binding) must be submitted not less that 3 weeks before the end of the course.
- You will be expected to prepare case reports and mock briefs of evidence for legal counsel at short notice.