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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Forensic Anthropology

Majors Overview November 12, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in forensic anthropology and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Forensic Anthropology

Using anthropology – the study of human development and history – forensic anthropology (considered a specialization of biological or physical anthropology) examines human remains in criminal investigations. Few schools, if any, offer master’s programs specifically focused on forensic anthropology; however, majors are available in more common biological, physical or other forms of anthropology that include a concentration in forensics.

Master’s programs in anthropology target students pursuing continuing education via a doctorate program. Schools offer both non-thesis and thesis options. Extensive field and lab training, historical research, and data analysis typically comprise programs aimed at training students to accomplish organized documentation of their findings.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require the submission of letters of reference, a statement of purpose, and Graduate Record Exam scores. They are also often required to have completed prerequisite courses related to statistics in anthropology, archeological field experience, and general forensic studies.


Students take 2-3 years to complete program coursework. Core coursework that includes both hands-on lab work and seminars covers topic areas such as:

•Human evolution
•Forensic anthropology research issues
•Analyzing statistics
•Documenting and collecting remains
•Estimating time and cause of death
•Identifying human remains
•Water and soil studies

Career Choices

Program graduates may choose from several possible job positions such as:

•Professor of Anthropology
•Crime lab evidence technician
•Medical death investigator
•Forensic anthropologist
•Museum curator

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of 19% has been predicted for all anthropologists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2102, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $57,420.

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates often continue their education by enrolling in a doctorate program in forensic anthropology that could lead to careers in research positions, administrative roles, and university department heads of anthropology.

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