The Department of Applied Forensic Sciences at Mercyhurst University, Erie, Pennsylvania has created a new branch of its distinguished program: a year-long Graduate Certificate Program in Forensic and Biological Anthropology. The program was started in 2014 and welcomes all students who wish to complement their undergraduate education with specialized hands-on and classroom training in the area of forensic and biological anthropology, while preparing for graduate school and/or future careers in medico-legal death investigations. The new certificate program will expose certificate students to specific methods of forensic anthropology, including forensic archaeology, forensic osteology, and forensic taphonomy.
The curriculum encompasses many key aspects of the successful Master of Science Program in Forensic and Biological Anthropology at Mercyhurst University. In particular, the Graduate Certificate Program is designed to address common lacking areas and training gaps experienced amongst applicants preparing for masters and PhD programs in biological anthropology related fields. For example, students with strong backgrounds in archaeology may need to improve their training in osteology or quantitative skills.
Students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate program will be able to construct a personalized curriculum of courses in the current Mercyhurst graduate catalogue, spanning a variety of subjects including forensic archaeology, forensic taphonomy, bioarchaeology, human skeletal biology, skeletal trauma analysis, zooarchaeology, biostatistics, and more. Students will also have the unique opportunity to participate in active forensic cases conducted by the Mercyhurst Forensic Anthropology Laboratory, both during the recovery of evidence from a variety of outdoor forensic scenes, including surface scatters, buried bodies, and fatal fire scenes, as well as the forensic anthropological analysis of human biological tissues in the laboratory.
In order to complete the Graduate Certificate program, students will construct their own curriculum for the school year according to their research interests to meet a minimum 5-course requirement. Courses run from late August to late May with the option to stay on during the summer to provide help with casework, complete summer courses, and/or conduct research. A BA or BS in a relevant field is recommended to apply; for further application instructions, visit the department website, or contact the Mercyhurst Graduate Admissions Office (814-824-3351). An average of 8-10 students will be accepted every year.