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Schools with Forensic Anthropology Programs: How to Choose

Students who would like to study forensic anthropology can find education programs at community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities. Students may pursue forensic anthropology degrees at the undergraduate level, but a student who wishes to become a forensic anthropologist should be prepared to pursue a graduate degree.

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Forensic anthropology is the application of archaeological and anthropological investigative principles to skeletal remains. As an interdisciplinary field, students should be prepared to study a range of subjects while pursuing a degree in forensic anthropology.

Schools with Forensic Anthropology Programs

The following 4-year universities offer degrees in forensic anthropology:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, Private Master's $47,422 (Graduate)
California State University - Chico Chico, CA 4-year, Public Certificate, Master's $6,738 (Graduate in-state); $15,666 (Graduate out-of-state)
University of Florida - Gainesville Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public Doctoral $10,770 (Graduate in-state); $27,335 (Graduate out-of-state)
Mercyhurst University Erie, PA 4-year, Private Master's $21,650 (Graduate)
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Master's $16,122 (Graduate in state); $31,674 (Graduate out-of-state)
Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,623 (Undergraduate in-state); $17,016 (Undergraduate out-of-state)

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when choosing a forensic anthropology program:

  • In order to get a broad background in all aspects of anthropology, students should seek an undergraduate program that includes a wide variety of courses, from cultural and biological anthropology to osteology.
  • Look for schools with a practicing forensic anthropologist on staff to help provide networking opportunities within the field.
  • In order to gain valuable experience, find schools that provide practical hands-on training on donor remains and opportunities to work with forensic anthropology databases, law enforcement agencies, or medical examiners.
  • Students looking for the highest standards in their educational experience should locate programs that are accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission.

Bachelor of Science in Anthropology

A Bachelor of Science in Anthropology with a concentration in forensic anthropology teaches students how to analyze human remains, as well as understand the decomposition process. Internships or research opportunities may be available.

Undergraduate Certificate in Forensic Anthropology

Designed with both forensic professionals and undergraduate students in mind, the certificate in forensic anthropology introduces anthropology students without specialization to forensic anthropology. Certificate programs provide a strong background in scientific techniques and crime detection. In addition to coursework, certificate students also complete hands-on application through labs and fieldwork. Students complete between 10-30 credit hours, often while earning a bachelor's degree.

Master of Science in Anthropology

A Master of Science in Anthropology with a specialization in forensic anthropology generally gives students an opportunity to conduct work in the field and culminates in a full-length research thesis. Internship opportunities may be available as well. Students may gain hands-on application analyzing skeletal remains through participating in actual law enforcement or medical examiner cases, as well as through attending workshops and short courses. Some students pursue a doctoral degree in a sub-field of forensic anthropology once they have finished their master's degree.

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in forensic anthropology are available at private and public institutions. Interested students should be prepared to study an array of subjects, and may consider things like program accreditation and hands-on training when selecting a school.

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