Research and Development


Forensic Anthropologist

Related Jobs or Working with these Jobs

Clerical or OrganisingScientific or AnalyticSkill Level 5 Skill Level 6

Anthropology studies different modes of thought, forms of knowledge and belief, types of material culture and collective organisation, varieties of equality, inequality and ways of life. Not just around the world, but also “at home”. (Source: The Conversation 1 December 2016)

Anthropologists study every aspect of humanity, from human anatomy and evolution to ancient artifacts and living cultures. The education necessary can be lengthy and can be very diverse depending on FutureGrowthModerate what subfield of anthropology is studied.

Anthropologists are scientists who study the development and behaviors of human beings throughout the world, present and past, to help better understand humanity as a whole. They examine biological, archaeological, linguistic or sociocultural traditions, depending on their area of expertise. Many prospective anthropology students plan careers as researchers and educators with colleges, universities or museums. Anthropologists with bachelor's degrees may be qualified for entry-level positions; however, most academic careers in research and teaching demand graduate degrees.

Those interested in an academic career face strong competition for a small pool of jobs. Most universities and colleges look for candidates trained in a specific anthropology specialty, to compliment the school's current faculty and to ensure the program offers a wide range of core anthropology courses to its students. Those considering academic careers may want to select a specialty early in their undergraduate training, if possible.


The four areas of research in anthropology are:

  • Archaeology, which examines objects and features left by past communities

  • Linguistic anthropology, which analyzes the impact of language in society

  • Physical anthropology, which studies biological and genetic variation in populations

  • Sociocultural anthropology, which researches customs and behavioral aspects of a given group

Did You Know? 

The Conversation
The Conversation 3 May 2016

Anthropologists study living people via culture.


ANZSCO ID: 272499

Knowledge, skills and attributes     

To become an anthropologist, you would need:

  • a keen interest in history
  • an enquiring mind and an enthusiasm for research
  • a patient and methodical approach
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • good planning and organisational skills
  • sensitivity to other people and cultures
  • the ability to work to deadlines


Rock painting
Rock painting
Anthropologist will study this art to give them clues to the culture of the peoples who created it.

Duties and Tasks

  • Collect information and make judgments through observation, interviews, and the review of documents.
  • Plan and direct research to characterize and compare the economic, demographic, health care, social, political, linguistic, and religious institutions of distinct cultural groups, communities, and organizations.
  • Write about and present research findings for a variety of specialized and general audiences.
  • Advise government agencies, private organizations, and communities regarding proposed programs, plans, and policies and their potential impacts on cultural institutions, organizations, and communities.
  • Build and use text-based database management systems to support the analysis of detailed first-hand observational records, or "field notes."
  • Identify culturally-specific beliefs and practices affecting health status and access to services for distinct populations and communities, in collaboration with medical and public health officials.
  • Develop intervention procedures, utilizing techniques such as individual and focus group interviews, consultations, and participant observation of social interaction
  • Construct and test data collection methodswilling to accept responsibility

Working conditions

Anthropologists are needed throughout the world in a wide range of environments, from studying land use in remote, sparsely populated areas to urban dialects in major cities. They may research human interactions for government agencies, corporations and nonprofits, using their skills to study trends in poverty, disease and overpopulation. Applied anthropologists may apply theory to solve current problems, such as urban planning and healthcare access.

Most practicing anthropologists supervising research for government agencies or non-profits are required to have at least a master's degree in anthropology. Those with bachelor's degrees may find jobs as research assistants, foreign service officers or public relations officers. Physical anthropologists may apply their training to help law enforcement agents with forensic investigations. Archaeologists often conduct site assessments for cultural resource management firms, or curate artifacts for research museums. (Source: Study)

You will usually work a standard number of hours each week, although this could vary if you are working on a dig. Temporary contracts are common. Your workplace and working conditions will vary, depending on the job. You could work outdoors doing excavation work, or indoors at a museum, laboratory or office.

Education and training/entrance requirements

Aspiring anthropologists with a bachelor's degree must typically work as fieldworkers or assistants, while it requires at least a master's degree to be an anthropologist. Doctoral degrees are also common in the field and allow anthropologists to move into independent research and/or teaching positions.

To become an anthropologist you usually have to complete a degree in science, arts, social science or international studies at university with a major in anthropology (preferably at honours level), followed by a postgraduate qualification in anthropology.

Employment Opportunities

Anthropologists will be needed to study human life, history, and culture, and to apply that knowledge to current issues. In addition, corporations will increasingly use anthropological research to gain a better understanding of consumer demand within specific cultures or social groups. Anthropologists will also be needed to analyse markets, allowing businesses to serve their clients better or to target new customers or demographic groups.

Because anthropological research is highly dependent on the amount of research funding, federal budgetary decisions will affect the rate of employment growth in research.

 Forensic Anthropologist
Research and Development

Clerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5Skill Level 6


Forensic anthropologists study old bones to determine the age, sex, and medical history, along with other identification factors, of deceased persons. Both a bachelor's and a master's degree in anthropology are required in order for a forensic anthropologist to work. They can work in archaeology FutureGrowthModerateor with law enforcement teams.

Forensic anthropology is a subfield of anthropology. It involves the study of human remains for legal purposes, including police investigations. Forensic anthropologists may face stiff competition in their career field due to the small number of positions. A master's degree is typically needed to work as a forensic anthropologist.

Forensic anthropologists work with law enforcement agencies and assist in processing skeletal evidence. They study bones, a field known as osteology, and profile research subjects by gathering information used to determine the individual's age at death, sex and physical condition. Forensic anthropologists may also assist in excavating and relocating human remains, performing dental analysis, determining time of death, assessing trauma to bones and presenting expert testimony in court. They are expected to use scientific standards in their work.

Forensic anthropologists use scientific analysis to determine as much information about human remains as they can. Their field is a challenging one, but forensic anthropologists can find work in a few different fields that can utilize their skills, such as academia, or as consultants, or in the military.

Forensic anthropologists should consider completing their schooling with a doctoral program in order to be more attractive to possible employers.

ANZSCO ID: 272499

Knowledge, Skills and Attributes

Due to the sensitive work they perform, forensic anthropologists need to have a high attention to detail.

They should be able to think critically and be highly analytical about the situations in which they are working.

The ability to communicate and work well with others is desirable, since they often work on cross-disciplinary teams when examining a crime scene or legal case.

They should have strong writing and speaking skills in order to present their findings to others. This can be in a formal, written report, or in testimony as an expert witness in court.

Forensic Anthropologist
(Source: PBWorks)

Duties and Tasks

Forensic anthropology falls under biological and physical anthropology, as opposed to cultural, social, or linguistic anthropology. Forensic anthropologists primarily help recover and analyze human remains from crime scenes, historical sites, and other scenarios. Other forensic anthropologist duties may include:

  • Identifying the age and sex of remains
  • Cleaning bones for examination
  • Figuring out the identity of remains through dental records
  • Determining a time of death
  • Examining bones to determine the kind and extent of injuries/cause of death
  • Participating in fieldwork and lab analysis
  • Testifying in court concerning cases





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