Forensic Anthropology

~By: Briley Vance~

Forensic Anthropology

Forensic Anthropology is a special sub-field of physical anthropology (the study of human remains) that involves applying skeletal analysis and techniques in archaeology to solving criminal cases.

Work conditions

Forensic anthropologists perform most of their work conducting field research and in laboratories. They are typically based on university or college campuses. One of the most famous and best known campuses is located at the University of Tennessee's Anthropological Research Facility in Knoxville. There, scientists study how donated bodies decompose, and they are able to conduct research to enhance the knowledge base of the field.


Forensic Anthropology Salary. For those who were working in anthropology in 2010, the median wage was $54,230 according to BLS data. Specialists who were in the lowest 10 percent earned as little as $31,310 annually, while those in the top 10 percent earned as much as $89,440 per year, which is 25.41 per hour.

The characteristics some one needs to be a Forensic Anthropologist

You'll need to be determined and all right with being put under pressure. The examining of the bones of a victim that was once alive can put a lot of emotional stress on someone. Being able to keep your emotions in check and moving forward with the case despite the remorse you may feel towards the victim.

Educational Background Needed

According to the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA), individuals need a bachelor's degree in anthropology or a related field and a master's degree in anthropology to meet the minimum requirements to work as a forensic anthropologist ( The ABFA suggests these individuals possess a doctorate degree in biological or physical anthropology, meaning prospective forensic anthropologists could spend up to ten years in school for this career. Formal degree programs often include internships, field work and clinical experience.

dis advantages

The forensic anthropologist should be able to give a good idea of the sex, age, height, race and possibly the cause of death of the person whose skeleton is before them. While this is true for a good many cases, forensic anthropologists are not always able to identify the person, let alone the cause of death of the skeletal remains that is the topic of their study. Dr. Emily Craig clearly admits this in her book TEASING THE SECRETS FROM THE DEAD wherein she says, “It’s so frustrating when my colleagues and I can’t identify a victim or find the crucial evidence in his or her case-but it’s so rewarding when we can.” While Dr. Craig’s statement is accurate it is seemingly contrary to the view of forensic anthropology that is seen in the entertainment world where the forensic anthropologist determines the identity of the skeleton within an hour.

Career Cluster

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics