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Frequently Asked Questions


Are you interested in applying to our graduate program in Anthropology, specializing in Forensic Anthropology?  Here are some frequently asked questions with information regarding entrance requirements, contact points, program details, and more.

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What degree programs do you currently offer?

The Department of Anthropology at Texas State currently offers a Bachelor’s degree (B.A. or B.S.) in Anthropology, and a Master’s degree in Anthropology, where you can specialize in Forensic Anthropology.

Can I apply to the graduate program with an Associate’s degree?

No. You must have a Bachelor’s degree before you can be admitted to the Master’s Program.
If you wish to attend Texas State as an undergraduate, you can do so with an Associate’s Degree, but you must apply through our undergraduate admissions office.

What type of undergraduate degree do I need to have to apply to the graduate program in forensic anthropology?

Our Forensic Anthropology program is a component of the Anthropology Department.  Ideally, you should have your undergraduate degree in anthropology, which needs to include a course in human osteology.  Students who wish to specialize in forensic anthropology but who did not take human osteology as undergraduates are required to take ANTH 3381 (Human Osteology) during their first semester of the graduate program.  Additionally, you may apply to our graduate program with an undergraduate degree in a different field as long as you have taken the following four introductory level anthropology courses

  • cultural anthropology,
  • physical anthropology,
  • archaeology, and
  • human osteology

For more information on undergraduate requirements see the department website.

I fulfill the requirements and want to apply to the graduate program and specialize in forensic anthropology. Who do I contact?

Please visit the graduate college website for general requirements and information about applying to the Graduate College. Then, visit the departmental-specific requirements for the Master's in Anthropology. You must visit both sites as there are department requirements in addition to those of the Graduate College. If, after you have visited both sites and still have questions, please contact Dr. Michelle Hamilton, Graduate Advisor for the Department of Anthropology or Mary Gibson.

What course load will I be taking as a graduate student specializing in forensic anthropology?

Your course load will be as follows:

Fall (First Semester)
  ANTH 5311 Seminar in Cultural Anthropology
  ANTH 5313 Seminar in Archaeology
  ANTH 5374U Seminar in Forensic Anthropology

Spring (Second Semester)
  ANTH 5312 Seminar in Physical Anthropology
  ANTH 5374P Anthropological Statistics
  ANTH 5375 Forensic Techniques

Summer (Mini-Term after Second Semester)
  ANTH 5374V Field Methods in Forensic Anthropology

Fall (Third Semester)
  ANTH 5399A Thesis
  ANTH 5374H Human Growth and Development
  ANTH 5378 Forensic Identification

Spring (Fourth Semester)
  ANTH 5399B Thesis
  ANTH 5343 Human Variation and Adaptation
  ANTH Elective (These will vary from year to year, but may include: ANTH 5374L Comparative Juvenile Behavior, ANTH 5374M History of Evolutionary Thought, ANTH 5340 Paleoanthropology, ANTH 5342 Primate Behavior or ANTH 5374I Primate Cognition)

How long does the graduate program specializing in Forensic Anthropology take? Can I attend part-time?

Our 2 year Master's degree program is fast-paced and geared towards full-time students.  Part-time attendance would be difficult, if not impossible.  The first year focuses primarily on theoretical courses in physical, cultural, and archaeological anthropology, in addition to courses in forensic anthropology. Additionally, during your first semester you are required to write a thesis proposal.  In your second year, you will collect your thesis data/conduct thesis research, and then write your thesis, in addition to taking other required and elective courses (see the course load question above for more details).

I’m interested in Forensic Science, and would like to get a job in a CSI unit, crime lab, or medical examiner’s office after completing the MA program specializing in forensic anthropology at Texas State. Is this possible?

While we have a number of our graduates successfully working at law enforcement crime labs and medical examiner’s offices, you need to keep in mind that forensic anthropology is a specialization in Anthropology, and not Forensic Science (which often specializes in chemistry or biology) or Criminal Justice (which often specializes in law enforcement, corrections, and the judicial system).  If you are interested in a career in Forensic Science or Criminal Justice, you need to seek out colleges or universities that offer those programs.  Texas State does not have a Forensic Science program, but we do have a Criminal Justice program and you can visit them at http://www.cj.txstate.edu

What are the interests of the faculty who specialize in forensic anthropology?

There are three graduate faculty members in the department of anthropology specializing in forensic anthropology. For more information go to the About Us Faculty tab.

Dr. Michelle Hamilton is interested in forensic taphonomy and estimation of the postmortem interval, antemortem trauma and pathology, and the bioarchaeology of Southeastern populations.

Dr. Kate Spradley specializes in quantitative methods, secular change, sex and ancestry identification methods for individuals considered Hispanic, and biological consequences of human migration.

Dr. Daniel Wescott specializes in forensic anthropological methods, secular change, bone biomechanics, and bioarchaeology of the Great Plains and Historic Period of the United States

Additionally, we have two physical anthropology faculty members that are integral to our program in forensic anthropology:

Dr. Beth Erhart conducts research in Madagascar and specializes in primate behavior and ecology.

Dr. Kerrie Lewis Graham is interested in the development and evolution of brains and behavior, particularly with reference to play behavior in animal species.

For a complete list of all our Anthropology faculty, please visit the department website and click on the People tab.