Anthropology: Forensics Concentration
As the forensic anthropologist at Cal U, I am thrilled to be able to share the excitement of the field with you. Forensic anthropology combines archaeological search and recovery techniques with the laboratory skills of skeletal analysis to aid medico-legal death investigators in cases involving suspected human remains. I love this field, and I also love teaching and getting to know my students, seeing them become inspired, and having them challenge me with their questions and inquisitive minds.
With the popularity of television shows such as "Bones" and "CSI," forensic anthropology, just like other forensic sciences, has seen a significant increase in public attention, student interest and professional opportunities. Cal U is one of the rare universities in Pennsylvania where students have the chance to go beyond a single introductory course and take an active role in research and real forensic casework.
Forensic anthropologists have opportunities to work here at home and around the world. From natural disasters, plane crashes, terrorist attacks and mass graves to victims of child abuse or other crimes, forensic anthropologists can be a significant part of nearly any incident involving human remains. They often teach at colleges and universities, consulting on a part-time basis, but an increasing number are finding full-time employment working for medical examiner offices, as well as state and federal government agencies. A bachelor's degree in anthropology, concentrating in forensic anthropology, is a great way to start!
While a Ph.D. in anthropology is needed to be a forensic anthropologist, it is possible to find jobs where one can apply his or her skills with a bachelor's or master's degree. A student who focused on forensic anthropology as an undergraduate would have invaluable skills to offer as an investigator in a medical examiner's office or law enforcement. As public awareness continues to rise, the types of cases in which forensic anthropologists are asked to assist will continue to grow.
At Cal U, we strive to give our undergraduate students personalized attention and great opportunities to play a significant part in the field and in the lab. Our students will learn how to use the basic archaeological tool kit, as well as more high-tech equipment, such as the laser theodolite for mapping and ground-penetrating radar for detecting buried remains.
From search to recovery and from processing decomposed bodies to analyzing clean bones, our students have the chance to do it all. A forensic anthropologist cannot do everything on his or her own and needs a trained team of enthusiastic students to succeed. The students are what make it all possible.
So far, Cal U students have assisted the Pennsylvania State Police on casework, analyzed remains from archaeological sites of great prehistoric importance in southwestern Pennsylvania and assisted in the risk assessment for a historic cemetery threatened by road construction. And the future for more opportunities for students to get involved is bright!
As a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Criminological and Forensic Sciences at Cal U, I provide training and consultation services to law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners. Students help at my workshops and on cases, practicing what they learned in class and having fantastic opportunities to network with professionals and see how things work in the "real" world. I also encourage our students to attend regional and national conferences and to pursue and present their own research. It is my ultimate goal that the opportunities our students have here at Cal are unparalleled by other undergraduate programs in the country.
I encourage you to find out more about our program and to visit our campus!
Welcome to Cal U!
Dr. Cassandra Kuba
Assistant Professor and Chief Forensic Anthropologist
Department of Justice, Law and Society