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Best Graduate Schools for Forensic Anthropology

Discover the graduate options available for those pursuing a career in forensic anthropology. Learn more about the concepts and practical skills covered in these programs, the career options available, and the job outlook for the industry.

Those looking to pursue a career in forensic anthropology will require a master's degree in anthropology. These programs will provide a thorough, technical understanding of the complexities surrounding human evolution, societies, and cultures - with the option to focus on the identification, recovery, and study of human remains.

What Is the Most Common Degree for Forensic Anthropology?

Anthropologists typically obtain a master's degree in anthropology before pursuing a professional career in a specialized field. These degree programs typically have the option of specializing in forensic anthropology, which covers both theoretical and practical knowledge of subjects such as general forensic science, human osteology, human anatomy, human identification, and crime scene investigation. While there are PhD programs in anthropology, they are not specifically in forensic anthropology.

As forensic anthropology entails the study of human remains for legal cases, technical skills surrounding human identification, skeletal trauma identification, and excavation methods are also covered.

These programs commonly comprise both laboratory and lecture-based experiences, providing students with a well-rounded training course that prepares them for professional employment experience. Before graduating, their studies will likely culminate in a final examination, thesis, or portfolio.

What Schools Offer a Master's Program in Forensic Anthropology?

Your master's program will typically take two years to complete and include laboratory and/or fieldwork for hands-on experience. Schools offering master's degree programs in anthropology with the option of specializing in forensic anthropology include:

  • Boston University
  • Mercyhurst University
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • University of Montana
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville

What Are My Career Prospects as a Forensic Anthropologist?

Graduates of forensic psychology commonly go on to find work in the following professional fields:

  • Law enforcement: forensic psychologists can pursue careers as forensic scientists or technicians working for legal cases.
  • Education: graduates may choose to work in an academic setting, teaching at colleges or universities.
  • Museum curation: other forensic anthropology graduates may work in the human osteology departments of museums or galleries.

What Is the Job Outlook for Anthropologists?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, anthropologists and archaeologists have a relatively positive job outlook, with employment expected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029 - faster than the all jobs average. With corporations continuously dependent on anthropological research for a better analysis of the consumer market (and its cultural and social sub-sections), anthropologists will find their skills in demand with these businesses.

There is strong competition among graduates in this field, and it is highly recommended for employment-seekers to hold a graduate degree, have extensive experience in the anthropological field, and possess excellent research skills to improve their career prospects.