A certificate in Applied Forensic Anthropology gives students a solid foundation in forensic anthropology and an introduction to the wider field of forensic science. This certificate may be earned alone or in conjunction with a bachelor’s degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences with a concentration in Anthropology or a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration with a concentration in Justice Administration.
When combined with relevant degrees, the Applied Forensic Anthropology certificate offers students additional career opportunities and an advanced education in forensic anthropology and forensic science. This program is offered jointly by UH West O‘ahu and Leeward Community College through in-class instruction.
Careers & Earning Potential
Forensic anthropologists work primarily as “bone detectives.” They apply standard scientific techniques developed in physical anthropology to identify human skeletal remains and to assist in the detection of crime. They often work with other forensic scientists and homicide investigators to identify a decedent, discover evidence of foul play, and/or determine the time of death. Forensic anthropologists are often in charge of the recovery of human remains, responsible for site recording (photography, mapmaking, etc.), and serve as expert court witnesses.
Positions that require a background in forensic anthropology include criminalist, crime scene technician, crime scene investigator, evidence technician, crime scene analyst, forensic anthropologist, archaeologist, and more. These positions are often found in various government agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Navy Criminal Investigative Services. Forensic skills are also desirable for those employed at local, state and federal crime labs and for law enforcement officers as well as those interested in becoming museum curators or working at federal, state and contract archaeology firms. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the middle 50 percent of forensic scientists earn $47,680 per year.
ANTH 415 Human Ecological Adaptation
This course investigates the relationship of humans and the natural environment. Emphasis is placed on an understanding of human ecological adaptation that is evolutionary and holistic. It will investigate human variation in response to conditions of heat, cold, altitude, diet, and disease. In particular, it will focus on subsistence practices, and especially how past human societies and cultures adapted to the environment and changed over time. The complexity of how human societies both exploit and are limited by their environment will be stressed.
ANTH 459 Forensic Investigations
This course applies concepts and methods from physical anthropology to problems in human identification. These allow the investigator to determine age, sex, ancestry, diseases, and pathologies found in human remains. The course also considers DNA testing and its role in the courts. In addition, a review of actual case studies and a special field trip to the Central Identification Laboratory are also featured.
ANTH 460 Advanced Techniques for Forensic Anthropology
This course concentrates upon specific forensic anthropology skills in detail, as used by practitioners in the field. Topics include assessment of age, sex, ancestry, stature, trauma, osseous pathology, taphonomic history, methods of individualization/positive identification, and forensic entomology/time since death. The course will include lectures and also feature practical training with osteological specimens.
PUBA 309 Criminal Law and Procedures
This course covers materials and cases treating criminal law and procedures within the context of the American polity. It emphasizes systematic analysis of the role of the citizen in relationship to operational legal principles and procedures of criminal law and focuses on contemporary problems and recent court decisions.
Scientific Director and Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Thomas D. Holland of the Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command, Central Identification Lab (JPAC/CIL) at Hickam Air Force Base, teaches several courses along with other certified Diplomates of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. The most prestigious forensic anthropology lab in the nation, JPAC/CIL’s primary mission is the identification of U.S. war dead. Holland has directed CIL recoveries around the world in Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, South Korea and Iraq as well as the Pentagon following the September 11 terrorist attacks. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, a consultant to the New York State Police Department and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the International Commission on Missing Persons. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, and a master’s degree and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Dr. Suzanne Falgout, Professor
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