Page Content
Mayo Clinic medical examiner looking at a slide

Program overview

Program length: 3-10 weeks
Class size: 1 student
Location: Rochester, Minnesota
Affiliated schools: Hamline University, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota-Rochester, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and Winona State University

This internship brings students who are interested in the field of pathology or more specifically, forensics, into the medical examiner’s office. It introduces a variety of the responsibilities and career opportunities surrounding being a medicolegal death investigator, autopsy technologist, pathologists' assistant, pathologist, or medical examiner. During your experience, you would be responsible for participating (at a minimum) as an observer with graduated responsibilities in the following:

  • Death investigation: Both on scene and over the phone, working with medicolegal death investigators, law enforcement investigative teams, and witnesses (caregivers, family members, etc.).
  • Autopsy examination: Working with our autopsy pathologists, residents, pathologists' assistants, and autopsy technicians during the case preparation, the examination process in the autopsy suite, and as the case is finalized.
  • Investigative and follow-up interactions: Follow up with adjacent agencies including, but not limited to, the Office of Decedent Affairs, funeral home, law enforcement, and families.

Through the internship, you will:

  • Learn skills and techniques of death investigation
  • Understand death certification, including determination of cause and manner of death
  • Create and build relationships within the field of forensics
  • Understand the steps needed for the release of evidence and maintaining the chain of custody

Additionally, there are other areas and careers in pathology to explore. For those interested, rotations can be set up to learn about:

  • Drug toxicology
  • Microbiology and cultures
  • Frozen section laboratory pathology
  • Shadowing pathologists’ assistants or residents within our pathology practice
  • Shadowing the Office of Decedent Affairs as they work with Mayo Clinic Hospital to provide assistance to patients and their families with post-mortem care

Graduation and certification

Upon successful completion of the rotation, you receive a letter of completion from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

Application process

The Medical Examiner’s Office Internship admits one trainee each semester. Up to five candidates are accepted on a competitive basis each year. This ensures that you receive tailored instruction and a comprehensive educational experience.

The program begins at the start of each semester.

Your application and all supporting documentation must be received two months prior to the start date:

Application completed by Program start date
November J-term/Winterim*
November January
April June
July September

*Note in your essay that you are applying for the J-term/winterim program time frame.


To participate in the Medical Examiner’s Office Internship, you must be enrolled at one of these affiliated academic institutions:

Graduates will be exposed to the knowledge and proficiency standards required for Registry Certification (basic) through the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI), for preparedness for potential future eligibility to sit for that certification. 

To be eligible for the Medical Examiner’s Office Internship, you must:

  • Be currently enrolled at one of the program’s academic affiliates as a third- or fourth-year student in a criminology, criminal justice, forensic science, or natural science program
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Be at least 18 years of age before starting the program

Candidates are selected based on grades and work experiences, as well as representation of personal qualities and skills and a genuine interest in the forensic field of medicolegal death investigation in a purpose statement. 

Application instructions

Complete the following steps to apply:

  1. Create an account to begin the online Application for Admission
    • Select - Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences
    • Select - Medical Examiner Office Internship
  2. Complete each section of the application and submit
  3. After submission, view the required Supplemental Items and Documents
    • Upload each required item in the Supplemental Items section
    • Complete the Recommendation Request section

Additional required items

  • CV/resume.
  • Unofficial college and university transcripts may be uploaded in the Supplemental Item area for application purposes. Submit a transcript from every college and university you have attended. If appointed to the program, official transcripts must be mailed from each educational institution directly to Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences and sent directly to the address below.

    Erica Reed, M.S., PA(ASCP)
    Program Director
    Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences
    Siebens Building, Fifth Floor
    200 First St. SW
    Rochester, MN 55905

  • Essay is to include your intent and goals for the program. If interested in the J-term/winterim program time frame, please state that at the beginning of the essay. Then upload in the Supplemental Items section.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required and must be completed in the Recommendation Request section. The recommender will receive an email with a link to complete a rating form and upload a letter. A minimum of one reference must be an academic reference.
    • Academic: Choose a person familiar with your educational qualifications and your potential for success in the field of forensics. References may include current or former teachers or professors.
    • Professional: Choose a person familiar with your professional qualifications and your potential for success in the field of forensics. References may include employers, teachers, or supervisors.

Admissions policies

Candidates must meet the technical standards (with or without reasonable accommodation) necessary to acquire or demonstrate competence in health professions as outlined in the Medical Examiner’s Office Internship technical performance standards. This includes exposure to deceased human bodies and manipulation of those decedents during the investigative process as necessary. 

Non-U.S. citizen applicants

Admission to Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is open to U.S. workers in the four categories below. Therefore, visa sponsorship is not available.

  1. U.S. citizens
  2. U.S. nationals
  3. Lawful permanent residents
  4. Asylees and refugees

Applicants whose primary language is not English must submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based test (TOEFL iBT). Scores from the speaking portion of the exam are given particular consideration in admission decisions. Learn more about the exam and register online at the Educational Testing Service.

The Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences code for the TOEFL iBT is 5784.

Educational transcripts from schools outside the U.S. must be translated (if they are not already in English) and evaluated for U.S. equivalence by an accredited credential evaluation service company prior to submission. Please refer to the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services for a list of qualified companies. The applicant pays for the examination and credential-evaluation services.

Tuition and financial aid

There is no tuition for the Medical Examiner’s Office Internship. You are responsible for your living accommodations and transportation.


The Medical Examiner’s Office Internship prepares you for professional practice in a medical examiner’s/coroner’s office, or related areas such as autopsy or toxicology laboratories, office of decedent affairs, or another forensic area.

During this program, learning experiences allow you to:

  • Participate in death investigation (scene and phone)
  • Participate in autopsy/postmortem examination
  • Observe toxicology, cardiac, pulmonary, and/or neuropathology conferences
  • Interact with law enforcement, funeral homes, caregivers, and families
  • Prepare for possible registry certification through the ABMDI


For the majority of the internship, your learning schedule includes 16–40 hours per week, with either four- or eight-hour days, and between one to five days per week (dependent on semester and course work). 


The Medical Examiner’s Office Internship primarily takes place in the Stabile Building where the investigative work is performed and where the autopsy laboratory is housed.

Accreditation information

Graduates of the internship may be eligible to sit for the Registry Certification through the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI).

See accreditation information for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester, Minnesota.
Campus and community

Rochester, MN

People icon

Choosing Mayo Clinic

Discover why people choose Mayo Clinic to complete their education.