• Total units 24 Units
  • Areas of interest Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Forensic Anthropology, Criminology
  • Minor code FORA-MIN

Forensic anthropology is rapidly developing a high profile both internationally and domestically. Much of this interest has been catalysed by way of media coverage of investigations into crimes against humanity and unsolved murders. Australians have been involved in such work recently with respect to East Timor and the Solomon Islands in particular.

Forensic anthropology, as a discipline, is primarily concerned with developing and applying a range of anthropological and archaeological skills to questions of medico-legal importance. Traditionally the subject is broken down into three main sub-fields: (1) forensic osteology; (2) forensic archaeology; and (3) forensic taphonomy. Forensic osteology uses methods and procedures developed in physical anthropology and focuses on human identification by way of the analysis of physical remains (skeletal and dental material in general). Forensic archaeology is concerned with managing and often excavating crime scenes that contain human remains (including mass graves in war-crimes situations). Forensic taphonomy is the examination and analysis of the various biological (e.g., decomposition), environmental (climate, soil acidity, temperature etc), and cultural (e.g., evidence for trauma) changes that can impact on human remains both at the time of death and after death.

This minor will give students the opportunity to complement studies in various disciplines with a grounding in and appreciation of the realities and practicalities of anthropological and archaeological articulations with medico-legal issues in the forensic arena both internationally and domestically.


The Forensic Anthropology minor will be of interest to students who wish to:

  • Acquire theoretical and practical skills in:
  • Human identification (age, sex, stature, ethnicity, cause of death, etc.)
  • Reporting (forensic anthropology and archaeology expert testimony in court room situations)
  • Crime scene management and excavation (a range of archaeological techniques)
  • Develop an understanding of the discipline of forensic anthropology for application in Honours and postgraduate study.

Learning Outcomes

  1. reconstruct biological identity using human skeletal remains;

  2. recover forensic evidence using archaeological methods;

  3. analyse and report forensic evidence in a written format; and

  4. describe, explain, and evaluate methods and theories within Forensic Anthropology and related inter-disciplinary concepts in forensics generally.

Relevant Degrees

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This minor requires the completion of 24 units, which must include:

12 units from the completion of the following course(s):

BIAN2015 - Human Skeletal Analysis (6 units)

BIAN2128 - Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology (6 units)

12 units from the completion of the following course(s):

ANTH2130 - Violence and Terror (6 units)

ARCH2059 - International Archaeological Field School (6 units)

ARCH2060 - International Archaeological Field School Extension (6 units)

ARCH3028 - Archaeology of Death and Mortuary Practices (6 units)

BIAN2130 - Ancient Medicine (6 units)

BIAN3125 - Ancient Health and Disease (6 units)

CRIM2014 - Introduction to Crime Science (6 units)

LING2105 - Forensic Linguistics: Language and the Law (6 units)

LING3032 - Forensic Linguistics: Forensic Voice and Text Comparison (6 units)

PSYC2011 - Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Psychology (6 units)

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