FAQ

What degree programs do you currently offer?

The degree awarded is a Master’s of Science in Forensic Anthropology.

What requirements are needed to apply to the program?

  • We require students to have an undergraduate degree in anthropology (preferably physical or biological anthropology) or archaeology. In addition, we encourage students to complete courses in Anatomy, Osteology, Biological Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Statistics and Experimental Design.An official transcript of each college or university attended.
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation from faculty members in your proposed field
  • A Personal Statement of not less than 200 words that describe your qualifications and the objectives of your intended educational program at the Division.
  • Official results of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (or MCAT)
  • Students are strongly encouraged to submit a writing sample (in addition to the personal statement required in the application) with their application. The Admissions committee places a significant emphasize on an applicants writing ability. Students are also encouraged to complete course work or seminars in writing skills and scientific writing.

What courses will I take as a graduate student in this program?

Fall Year 1

  • Professional Skills and Thesis Research Development
  • History, Method and Theory in Biological Anthropology
  • Human Anatomy and Osteology
  • Special Topics in Forensic Anthropology: Outdoor Crime Scene Awareness

Spring Year 1

  • Forensic Anthropology Techniques
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Experimental Design for Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Summer Year 1
  • Research in Anthropology
  • Homicide Investigation

Fall Year 2

  • Taphonomy
  • Mortuary Archaeology
  • Advanced Osteology

Spring Year 2

  • Expert Witness Testimony
  • Applied Forensic Anthropology
  • Field Methods in Forensic Anthropology

Does the program accept international students?

  • International students are considered for admission to the MS in Forensic Anthropology. In addition, to the application material listed above, international students also must submit:
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for applicants whose native language is not English
  • International Student Data Form for international applicants

International applicants must complete all information in the International Student Data Form section of the online application (required for non-United States citizen). As a requirement of the U.S. Government, all international applicants must submit documentation of all sources of financial support for a minimum of one year. A Financial Sponsorship Certification for International Students should also be submitted to the Division Office. You can find the link to these forms at http://www.bu.edu/isso/students/prospective/admissions/Expenses.html


Is there financial aid available to students?

  • Boston University participates in the Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Program. Graduate students receive their Direct loans through this program, which has the same loan limits, interest rates, and fees as the Federal Stafford Loan Program
  • For the 2011-2012 academic year tuition at the Graduate School is $1276 per credit up to 11 credits per semester. Tuition for 12 or more credits per semester is $20,832 per semester. Full-time students must register for a minimum of 12 credits. Registration in fewer than 12 credits is considered part-time.

For more specific information regarding admissions and applications, please contact the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences or visit their website.
Division of Graduate Medical Sciences
Boston University School of Medicine
Attn: Admissions
72 East Concord Street, Room L-315
Boston, MA 02118

    Does the program offer scholarships or assistantships?

    • Travel awards are available to students traveling to other Universities, Institutions or Museum to conduct their thesis research project. Travel awards will be granted based on the merit of the thesis proposal and will be granted by the Graduate Student Committee.
    • A limited number of Teaching Assistantships are available for 2nd year students. Opportunities as teaching assistants are available in human anatomy and osteology, crime scene investigation and other anatomical sciences courses.
    • The Boston University Women’s Guild scholarships awards scholarships to women enrolled in graduate programs at Boston University. For more information please visit the Boston University Women’s Guild website

    What are the average GPA and GRE scores for an incoming class?

    We require that students entering this program have a 3.30 – 3.65 GPA and minimum GRE scores of 155 (~500) Verbal and 145 (~500) Quantitative

    What is the duration of the program? Can students attend part-time?


    Students are enrolled in classes for two calendar years in order to complete this program. However, students may elect to participate in an internship or field school for a semester and therefore would extend the time they are in the program. This program is designed for full-time students only and we do not have part-time students in the program.

    Are students required to complete a thesis project for this program?

    Yes, students are required to develop their thesis proposal in their first year and then will enroll in an Experimental Design and Statistics course in the Spring Semester of their first year. Most students conduct their thesis research during that time and then will write their thesis during their second year while completing advanced courses.

    Who do I contact for more information about this program?

    Please contact us at fanthro@bu.edu for more information.
    Word of Advice About the Field of Forensic Anthropology
    While many cases examined by a Forensic Anthropologist are skeletonized they are also frequently called upon to work on cases with significant amounts of soft tissue and that are in various stages of decomposition. This is something that all students entering this field of study should take into consideration. Working with this type of material is difficult and involves unpleasant smells and sights, including decomposing flesh, insect activity and potentially disturbing case details. This work, while difficult, is very rewarding and can allow you to be part of a team that can provide significant information to investigators to help solve medicolegal and missing person cases.
    Further information about education and employment in Forensic Anthropology:
    American Board of Forensic Anthropology
    Education and Career Planning website from the University of North Carolina
    American Academy of Forensic Sciences