Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute

Applied Forensic Sciences Department

The Applied Forensic Sciences Department includes an Undergraduate Bachelor of Sciences Degree program as well as a Graduate Certificate program and Master of Science in Anthropology program which have a primary focus on Forensic and Biological Anthropology. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs present state-of-the-art techniques in forensic sciences and forensic biological anthropology in the classroom, and provide a variety of practical, hands-on opportunities both in the field and in the laboratory.

CLICK HERE to view our newly developed Graduate Certificate Program in Forensic and Biological Anthropology beginning Fall 2014!


The development of the undergraduate Applied Forensic Sciences Program represents the first truly multidisciplinary major at Mercyhurst that incorporates the major natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics) and mathematics within the core curriculum. The program includes three concentrations:

The Mercyhurst core curriculum is enhanced by these three specialized concentrations which meet student interests while reflecting the changing face of forensic science.


The Master of Science in Anthropology is a two to three year intensive and immersive program that includes three primary tracks:

The Forensic and Biological Anthropology concentration focuses on:
  1. Archaeological recovery of outdoor crime scenes
  2. Comprehensive analysis of human skeletal remains in the laboratory
  3. High end statistical analysis and interpretation of the biological significance of those remains

Graduate courses prepare students for the application of Forensic Anthropology to real life cases. Students play a major role in processing real forensic cases under the direction of department professors Dr. Symes, Dr. Dirkmaat, and Dr. Garvin. Graduate students are involved in all phases of the cases—from initial recovery and documentation in the field to processing, photographing and analyzing the remains in the laboratory.

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