University of Technology Sydney

91138 Investigation of Human Remains

6cp; 4hpw; availability: limited places are available with priority given to Bachelor of Forensic Biology in Biomedical Science (C10174) students; it also may not be available as an elective to other science students, contact the subject coordinator; postgraduate students wishing to enrol in this subject must get permission from the subject coordinator
Requisite(s): 65342 Crime Scene Investigation
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses. See access conditions.


This subject introduces students to a variety of disciplines that can assist in investigating forensic cases involving human remains. The investigation of human remains encompasses the examination of unexplained deaths resulting from a variety of circumstances – these include missing persons, homicide or manslaughter, mass disasters, and acts of genocide. Death may be recent or historical; disasters may be natural or man-made. The victim(s) may be recently deceased, may have undergone degrees of decomposition, or may be completely skeletonised by the time of discovery and recovery. Depending on the circumstances, the investigation can be carried out by any combination of specialists: crime scene examiners; forensic biologists and chemists; archaeologists and anthropologists; pathologists; and taphonomists, to name a few. Overall, the aims of the investigation are to:

  • search for and locate the deceased
  • recover their remains and any associated evidence
  • establish the identity of the deceased
  • understand the cause of death and the circumstances surrounding it.

At the completion of the subject, students should have a greater understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of human remains investigations and the multitude of disciplines available to investigators when recently deceased, decomposed or skeletal remains are located. This is achieved by presentations by experts during lectures and workshops in a wide range of these disciplines. The lectures aim to introduce a selection of relevant topics and the workshops provide students the opportunity to gain additional knowledge of these disciplines through flipped learning and practical assessments.

Typical availability

Autumn session, City campus

Detailed subject description.

Fee information

Information to assist with determining the applicable fee type can be found at Understanding fees.

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.