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Forensic Anthropology Option

The Forensic Anthropology track started at Cal State Los Angeles in 1998. At that time, Dr. Elizabeth Miller began consulting work with the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner (LACDOC). In 2001, with the formation of the Special Operations Response Team at LACDOC, opportunities for student involvement in active forensic work began. Students assist in decedent searches and, for more advanced students, in decedent excavations and analysis of cold cases. There are three one-year internships with Dr. Miller during which students participate more actively in current casework.

Students after a Coroner search for remains.

Forensic Anthropology at Cal State Los Angeles is a graduate option which requires special admission. You must obtain admission to the university as well as to the option. For details on the application process and the Forensic Anthropology option, click the links. The Forensic Anthropology option is not a degree in forensic anthropology; rather, it is a degree in Anthropology with a focus on the forensic applications. It is also important for the student to realize that employment in Forensic Anthropology is rare, and a Ph.D. is

Search and Rescue often helps us in difficult situations         Students searching a wooded area for remains

generally required. Many of those working as Forensic Anthropologists teach at colleges and universities and consult with law enforcement agencies outside of teaching. Some graduates in Forensic Anthropology do find employment in law enforcement or with the military, and the prospects for the future are encouraging.

Students and professor take a break

An MA degree in Anthropology, with a concentration in Forensic Anthropology, will prepare the student for alternate careers, including some in law enforcement (such as Death Investigation), museums (primarily in Human Osteology and Repatriation), and Junior Colleges (teaching). Students who have graduated in the physical anthropology MA program at Cal State Los Angeles are involved in Ph.D. programs around the country, including Arizona State University, Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The Ohio State University, and others. One graduate is employed as a forensic scientist by the FBI, one is a law enforcement ranger with the Washington state park system, a few are working bioarchaeologists and others are teaching in Southern California.

A lesson in the field         Search for remains after a fire


Coursework in the Forensic Anthropology Track

Required Courses:

  • ANTH 510A Seminar:Anthropological Theory and Analysis
  • ANTH 560 Seminar:Physical Anthropology
  • ANTH 520 Seminar:Archaeology
  • ANTH 563 Advanced Forensic Anthropology
  • ANTH 564 Forensic Osteology
  • ANTH 598 Graduate Directed Study (Skeletal Analysis)
  • ANTH 459 Human Osteology
  • ANTH 463 Forensic Anthropology
  • ANTH 466 Paleopathology
  • ANTH 424 Archaeological Research Techniques
  • CRIM 512 Quantitative Applications (to substitute for the language requirement) or two years of a language

Electives (take a minimum of one of these courses)

  • CRIM 409 Forensic Science*
  • CRIM 411 Interpretation of Evidence in the Courtroom*
  • CRIM 412 Crime Scene Management*
  • CRIM 557 Forensic Pathology*

* The Criminal Justice department may require lower division undergraduate courses as prerequisites, depending on the student.

It is required that students wishing to emphasize Forensic Anthropology produce a thesis rather than taking comprehensive exams.

See, it is possible to graduate!


For more information on Forensic Anthropology at Cal State Los Angeles, contact:

Elizabeth Miller
Department of Anthropology
California State University, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 343-5205



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