Study Forensic Anthropology at the University of Montana

Learn to apply skeletal analysis and (bio)archaeological techniques to assess evidence for criminal and humanitarian investigations. The forensic anthropology degree — a concentration of the anthropology major at UM — offers unique opportunities for internships and undergraduate research, and was recently ranked among the top forensic anthropology programs by BioExplorer.

We offer a broad range of classes and a four-field approach, including courses in molecular anthropology, osteology, bioarchaeology and forensic science. Our faculty include internationally renowned experts in forensic anthropology, ancient DNA, forensic DNA and computational anthropology. Our program also features two DNA labs, the Snow Molecular Anthropology Labs.


among top anthropology programs in the country, according to


Montana Anthropology Student Association (MASA) is the largest anthropology student group in the Northwest


estimated average salary of graduates of UM’s anthropology bachelor’s program

Other Anthropology Degree Options at UM

What can you do with an Anthropology Degree?

As an anthropology major, you’ll learn a lot about human behavior, which can help you in a wide variety of careers — from jobs in business and government to research and academia. The concentration in forensic anthropology provides specialized skills and training that graduates often apply to careers in criminal justice, as well as in museums and university settings.

Forensic anthropology jobs

Our graduates have gone on to forensic anthropology jobs working with organizations such as the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, as well as federal and state law enforcement agencies. Potential career pathways for anthropology majors in the forensic concentration include:

  • Research specialist
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Museum curator
  • FBI investigator
  • Cultural resource management
  • Government researcher/archivist
  • Marketing
  • Law enforcement

With an advanced anthropology degree such as a master's or a Ph.D., career pathways include:

  • Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency forensic anthropologist
  • State forensic anthropologist
  • Researcher at Rocky Mountain Labs in Hamilton
  • Academic professor
  • Academic researcher

Forensic anthropology salaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, anthropologists earn an average of $63,670 per year nationally. We estimate that graduates of our bachelor’s degree in anthropology earn an average of $63,556 per year. Salaries for related careers include:

  • Museum curators: $52,140
  • Forensic science technician: $59,150
  • Police and detectives: $65,170

Experiential learning in the anthropology degree

Follow a hypothetical forensic case from discovery of remains in the field through laboratory analysis to identifying the victim. Take part in a field experience in which you’ll find and excavate a simulated buried skeleton. Learn the fundamentals of DNA analysis and the basics of ancient and forensic DNA research and lab protocols as part of a lab training course. When you earn your degree with a concentration in forensic anthropology at UM, you’ll have these opportunities and more to gain hands-on experience and apply your learning in the field.

Internships and research experiences for anthropology majors

Our anthropology bachelor’s program offers exciting opportunities to work with faculty and graduate students on research projects, which can lead to presenting your work at conferences and even helping to author professional publications. You can also gain real-world experience and earn academic credits through internships with local and national organizations and government agencies.

Study anthropology abroad

Take your forensic anthropology major overseas. Our study abroad programs offer amazing opportunities to experience different cultures, make new connections and apply your learning in new contexts. Learn more about study abroad opportunities at the University of Montana.

Career development in the anthropology major

We do more than make sure you succeed academically in college — we ensure that you hit the ground running when you graduate so that you can go on to a successful and fulfilling career. In the anthropology program at UM, you’ll find many opportunities to build your professional network and explore different career pathways. 

Our student club, the Montana Anthropology Student Association (MASA), hosts several annual events, including lectures, workshops and socials. It’s a great way to make connections in the field, network with peers and market yourself in the professional field. Like many of our anthropology majors, your internships and research experiences in the program may result in employment after graduation.

Anthropology scholarships

Get help paying for your bachelor’s degree. We offer a number of scholarships specific to the anthropology program, including the Jocelyn MacDonald Barker scholarship and the Roderick S. Smith scholarship. Explore scholarship opportunities for anthropology majors at UM.

Explore classes for the forensic anthropology concentration of the anthropology bachelor’s degree

In the forensic anthropology concentration, you’ll learn the core of anthropology, becoming well-versed in the scientific method and the worldwide spectrum of human cultures and genetics. From there, you’ll focus on biological anthropology subjects such as paleoanthropology, molecular anthropology, human variation, forensic anthropology, and bioarchaeology.

View all classes for the forensic anthropology concentration of the anthropology degree.