Forensic Pathology

Forensic pathologists play a core role in the investigation of sudden or unexpected deaths through the examination and reporting of macroscopic and microscopic findings at post-mortem examination. Forensic pathologists combine these findings with medical history to determine a cause of death and the circumstances around which death occurred.

Although training is long, and the reality is not as glamorous as TV shows, forensic pathology is an exceptionally exciting and rewarding field of medical practice.

Dr Charles Naylor
Chief Forensic Pathologist

Clinical Practice

Forensic pathologists work predominately within the public sector, liaising with other medical and scientific specialists, coroners and families of deceased individuals. Forensic pathologists are often required to present their findings in court.

Statistics and information - Forensic Pathology

Number of specialists - QLD

Number of new fellows - QLD

Number of specialists - AUS

Number of new fellows - AUS

Average weekly hours

Average Age

% Aged 60+

43% of 2018 workforce intend to retire by 2028

Proportion Female/Male - QLD


Location - QLD

Major cities

Public/Private QLD


Number of trainees - QLD

Number of new trainees - QLD

Number of trainees - AUS

Number of new trainees - AUS

PGY new trainees - QLD

Proportion Female/Male - QLD


Length of Training

5 years full-time

Method of Allocation

College-selected trainees may be allocated to a training post by:

  • College
  • Queensland Health pathway/network (centrally coordinated)
  • Queensland Health facility (accredited for training)

Training and assessment summary

Appointments to Queensland Pathology Training Programs are coordinated by the Medical Support Unit, Pathology Queensland (Health Support Queensland) in conjunction with Pathology Queensland's State Directors and Coordinators of Education and Training. Pathology recruitment is centralised by discipline/sub-specialty and not by facility. Training is accredited through the RCPA.

Training program overview

Forensic pathology training encompasses a full-range of autopsy practice, histopathology and exposure to the forensic sciences. Training incorporates work-based learning and assessment across four general functions of forensic pathologists - discipline specific functions as a medical specialist in a laboratory, functions as a manager in the laboratory, research and scholarship and professional attributes. Upon completing all requirements of the training program, trainees may apply for admission to Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FRCPA). Fellows in anatomical or general pathology may elect to undertake post-fellowship training leading to a Diploma in Forensic Pathology.


Applicants must hold registration as a medical practitioner with a minimum of 2 years of postgraduate experience. Applicants must be employed in an accredited laboratory before seeking registration with the college.


Minimum 20% of full-time commitment.

Interrupted training

Allowed - no limit is placed on the time taken to complete training.

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Regional Training Pathways