Program History

The roots of the current Anthropology master's program in Forensic and Biological Anthropology lie in the post-baccalaureate certificate program in forensic anthropology that was offered at Mercyhurst from 1998 - 2003 within the Anthropology/Archaeology Department. This program provided students with an excellent grounding in forensic anthropology while exposing them to real case experiences. The program consisted of 10 courses taken in one academic year with a focus on forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology. Many of the graduates of the post-baccalaureate program went on to master's programs, doctorate programs, and professional jobs.

The first-year curriculum of that initial program remains relatively intact as the first-year curriculum of the current master’s program. A second year of courses has been added as well as a thesis/published professional paper component, thus developing a master-level program. The program is currently directed by Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat, a board certified forensic anthropologist with nearly 20 years of experience. Other graduate faculty includes Dr. Steven Symes, also board-certified in forensic anthropology with 20 years of experience (hired at Mercyhurst in 2003); Dr. Stephen Ousley, formerly Director of the Repatriation Department of the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington, D.C. (hired in 2007); and Luis Cabo-Pérez, M.S. (hired in 2003), Forensic Anthropology Laboratory Director and Director of Graduate Student Research.