Skip to Content

Field Methods in Forensic Anthropology


Program Dates:  Spring 2018, 2nd 8-Week Term = March 6 - May 9, 2018

Note: This class will not make if fewer than five (5) students have enrolled.

Courses Offered:
ANTH 4326.D01 - CRN: 39740
ANTH 5326.D01 - CRN: 39738

Course Description: This course is an intensive forensic anthropological field methods class held at the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility, an outdoor human decomposition facility located on the grounds of Freeman Ranch.  Students will participate in the excavation of donated human remains from the Willed Body Donation program and will learn to locate, excavate, and recover human remains, associated personal effects, and other evidentiary materials from outdoor scenes and burial contexts.  Topics and activities covered include clandestine graves, surface scatters, archaeological excavation techniques, evidence documentation, mapping techniques, photography, and biosafety procedures. 

Prerequisites:  Instructor approval is required to enroll in either of these courses.

Course Goals and Objectives: Students will be trained in the methods and techniques used to locate and recover human remains, associated personal effects, and other materials to ensure legal credibility for all recoveries.

Preview the 2017 Course Syllabus

Tuition for three hours of undergraduate university credit (hybrid): $838.74
Tuition for three hours of graduate university credit (hybrid): $988.74

Additional Program Costs will cover program supplies:  Fee - $75.00

Course tuition and the program fee will be billed and paid through SBS Billing and Payment.

Drops and Refunds: All university policies regarding installments, course drops, and refunds apply to all billed and paid tuition and program fees.

Important Note:  You must register for your course/s though the Student Information System/Catsweb.

Required Materials for Field Study:Students in a field methods class

Personal Equipment

  • 2 felt-tip black Sharpies (fine point, not ultra fine)
  • 2 mechanical pencils
  • gridded notepad (available from the University
        Bookstore or an art/office supply store)
  • backpack (day pack size)
  • water bottle / canteen
  • bug repellent
  • hiking boots (above the ankle)
  • sun screen
  • sunglasses
  • hat
  • bandana
  • ChapStick
  • leather gloves
  • change of clothes

Note: This is an intensive course and students are required to have completed the required readings prior to the first day on location at Freeman Ranch.

Instructors: Dr. Michelle Hamilton and Dr. Kate Spradley

For more information about the content of this course, contact Dr. Hamilton or Dr. Spradley.

Location: The Osteology Research and Processing Laboratory (ORPL) at Texas State's Forensic Anthropology Research Facility, Freeman Ranch

Registration Period: Registration occurs during the University's regular registration period, however, course registration for this program should be finalized prior to the semester start-date noted above. 

For more information about applying and registering in this course please contact the Office of Distance and Extended Learning.

Attention Students Applying for Graduate Courses

Applicants interested in enrolling in a 5000 level or above extension course who are not Texas State graduate students must first contact the Texas State Graduate College. This step must be completed before registration can be finalized into a graduate-level course.

Applying for the Program

To apply for this program, please complete this online

Field Methods in Forensic Anthropology Application

In addition to the completed online application, these additional documents must also be submitted.  You will be able to attach these electronically to your online program application.   

Health Information Form

General Release Form

Completed application packets must first be approved by the Program Directors.  When notified by the Program Directors, the Office of Distance and Extended Learning will send all approved applicants a confirmation email.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Distance and Extended Learning.

Registering for Courses

Students must register for the academic courses through the Student Information System/Catsweb during the regular University registration period, but prior to the program's semester start-date noted above.