Linear birefringence and optical activity are two common optical polarization effects present in biological tissue, and determination of these properties has useful biomedical applications. However, measurement and unique interpretation of these parameters in tissue is hindered by strong multiple scattering effects and by the fact that these and other polarization effects are often present simultaneously. We have investigated the efficacy of a Mueller matrix decomposition methodology to extract the individual intrinsic polarimetry characteristics (linear retardance and optical rotation , in particular) from a multiply scattering medium exhibiting simultaneous linear birefringence and optical activity. In the experimental studies, a photoelastic modulation polarimeter was used to record Mueller matrices from polyacrylamide phantoms having strain-induced birefringence, sucrose-induced optical activity, and polystyrene microspheres–induced scattering. Decomposition of the Mueller matrices recorded in the forward detection geometry from these phantoms with controlled polarization properties yielded reasonable estimates for and parameters. The confounding effects of scattering, the propagation path of multiple scattered photons, and detection geometry on the estimated values for and were further investigated using polarization-sensitive Monte Carlo simulations. The results show that in the forward detection geometry, the effects of scattering induced linear retardance and diattenuation are weak, and the decomposition of the Mueller matrix can retrieve the intrinsic values for and with reasonable accuracy. The ability of this approach to extract the individual intrinsic polarimetry characteristics should prove valuable in diagnostic photomedicine, for example, in quantifying the small optical rotations due to the presence of glucose in tissue and for monitoring changes in tissue birefringence as a signature of tissue abnormality.