Application Deadline: March 1
Online Applications:
Download a Program Brochure



Program Overview:

This program prepares graduates to apply the principles and techniques of Physical Anthropology to a variety of contexts, including those in the Forensic Sciences (i.e., Medical Examiner’s office, Coroner’s office, Armed Forces, Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Mass Disasters). The program can also be useful training for students who are preparing for admission to doctoral programs in skeletal biology, molecular anthropology, and human evolution.

An integral part of the program is hands-on, semester long professional internships developed according to student interest. These opportunities range from those in genetics (in departmental labs and the ME’s office), osteology and odontology (in departmental labs, NYU School of Dentistry, the AMNH, and ME’s office), and field recovery training (departmental or other field schools). Ideally, student research projects will evolve from these internships into M.A. theses (see below). Yearly skeletal biology colloquia bring visiting scientists for talks and workshops.

The program is expected to take two years to complete, but can be somewhat longer for those working full-time.



Facilities at NYU:

Skeletal Morphology Laboratories

The Comparative Morphology Laboratory houses a comprehensive series of comparative mammalian skeletons and cadavers, including a large collection of non-human primates. The laboratory collections also include an excellent cast collection of Paleogene to Pleistocene nonhuman primate fossils. The lab is equipped with computer workstations, dissection, and casting facilities, and an extensive research library.

The Faunal Analysis Laboratory
houses comparative mammalian and nonmammalian skeletal series critical to faunal identification in recent, and particularly North American, sites. The laboratory collections include domestic avian and mammalian faunas as well as examples of taphonomic and human modifications of bone.

The Human Osteology Laboratory houses a comprehensive series of whole and fragmentary medical teaching skeletons and instructional sets for assessment of skeletal age and sex, dental anatomy and variation. The laboratory is further equipped with a three-dimensional digitizer (Microscribe 3DX), standard osteometric and anthropometric equipment, light boxes for radiograph interpretation and a computer workstation for viewing and measuring CT scans.

The Paleoanthropology Laboratory contains an excellent collection of casts of hominin fossils from Pliocene to Late Pleistocene which are used for both teaching and research purposes. The laboratory is also equipped with a three-dimensional digitizer, as well as computers with the necessary software for collection, processing and statistical analysis of two- and three-dimensional coordinate data (i.e., Inscribe, GRF-ND, Morpheus, tps, and Morphometrika), and general statistical packages (i.e., SAS, Systat, Statistica and NT-SYS).

Population Genetics and Molecular Anthropology Laboratory

The Population Genetics and Molecular Anthropology Laboratory is one of the best equipped molecular primatology laboratories in the country. Over 2000 square feet provide support for all aspects of molecular primatological research. The laboratory has bench space for up to 12 researchers at a time. The laboratory is equipped with 10 thermocyclers for DNA amplification (PCR), a Real-Time Quantitative PCR system, and an ABI 3730 automated DNA analysis system. All of the ancillary equipment required for DNA extraction, typing, sequencing, quantification and other types of analysis are available. An ancient DNA extraction facility is also located within the anthropology building.



Course Requirements:

Formal requirements are the satisfactory completion of 36 points and a written master’s thesis.

(must take one or approved equivalent)
G14:1000 (Departmental Seminar) OR G14:3210 (PhD Seminar I)

(must take all or approved equivalent)
G14:1516 (Human Osteology)
G14:1520 (Interpreting Human Skeletal Morphology)
G14:1517 (Biological Variation Among Human Populations) OR G14:339X(Human genetics and biology)

(>4pts, must undertake at least one)
G14:2550 (Field methods in archaeology)
G14:3990-3999 (Lab internships)
G14:3910-1919 (for pre-approved, non NYU field schools)

STATISTICS (3-4pts): (must take one or approved equivalent)
G23.2030 (Statistics in Biology)
G23.2303 (Introduction to Biostatistics)
G89.2228 (Intermediate statistical methods) (3pts)
G89.2244 (Multivariate statistics) (3pts)

(<17pts, at least one of the ‘recommended electives’ must be taken; up to 4 points of ‘ research credits’ beyond the internship may be taken)

Recommended Electives in Anthropology:
G14:1203 (Archaeology of Death)
G14:1212 (Faunal Analysis/Zooarch)
G14:1513 (Population Genetics)
G14:1515 (Comparative Morphology of Primates)
G14:1519 (Fossil evidence for Hominin Evolution)
G14:2214 (Archaeological Method and Technique)
G14:2516 (Paleopathology)
G14:3217 or 3218 (Physical Anthropology Seminar 1 or 2)
G14:339X (Topical seminar with physical anthro emphasis)

Other Electives:
Anthropology: Any G14 course

Anatomy courses in various departments (or equivalent):
Physical Therapy: E44.2120 Human Gross Anatomy (4)

G23.1069 (Principles of Evolution)
G23.1072 (Molecular Control of organism form and function)
G23.1126 (Advanced Genetics)
G23.2127 (Molecular Genetics)
G23.3018 (Molecular Evolution)

Environmental Health Sciences:
G48.2101 Identical to E42.2401. (Biomechanics I) - (3pts)
G48.2102 Identical to E42.2402. (Biomechanics II) - (3pts)

G89.2038 Forensic Psychology (3pts)

Other courses may be substituted with approval of the program director.


M.A. Committee and Thesis Requirement:

The M.A. thesis project consists of original research carried out under the guidance of the major advisor who must be a member of the Anthropology department. Normally, M.A. advisors are identified in the first year, or no later than the completion of 20 points of coursework. The M.A. committee consists of three faculty members, at least two of whom are from the Anthropology department. The committee advises students on courses, internships, and choice of M.A. project. Each student is assigned a committee in their first year according to the interests expressed in their application.


Completed Master's Theses - Human Skeletal Biology Track

NYU Anthropology
MA Theses On Record
Last Updated: September 2012

Amelia Baxter-Stoltzfus, Quantitative bone histomorphometry as a predictor of skeletal health

M. Elle Saine, Researched remains: The post-mortem lives of bodies in human rights investigations and anthropological research

Allison M. Sharplin, Dirty pigs: Decomposition and taphonomy of clothed and nude non-human animal models in three microclimates in an arid environment with an emphasis on microbial community profiling


Megan Fluckiger, Analysis of population structure using the 13 core CODIS loci in four sample populations: U.S. Caucasian, African American, Hispanic and Jamaican

Angela Marie Mallard, Dental nonmetric analysis of Tecolote Pueblo: A study of biological distance

Sophia Mavroudas, A comparison of gross morphology and histomorphometry age-at-death estimation methods on a known forensic sample.

Victoria Domínguez, The utility of osteon shape and circularity for differentiation of human and non-human haversian bone


Jarred Heinrich, Tooth based sampling protocol for DNA extractions and human identification from highly fragmented and commingled skeletal assemblages

Nicholas Holowka, A comparative study of the anatomical mechanical advantage of the anthropoid elbow

Stephanie Minor, Variation in osteocyte lacuna density around the human mid-shaft femoral cortex as it relates to intraspecies variation in body size

Robert Vannucci, MRI evaluation of brain size and shape in microcephaly: Implications for the LB 1 hominin


Jenna Battillo, An investigation into the preservation of saw marks and cutmarks on burnt bone

Marisa Macias, Three-dimensional analysis of the scapular glenoid fossa: Neandertals and morphological adaptations to habitual behavior

Leigh Oldershaw, A preliminary study of the use of root dentine translucency aging in cremated dental remains


Habiba Chirchir, Elbow morphology in humans in relation to activity and climate: Implications for Neandertals

Maggie Cocca, Using non-invasive molecular techniques to obtain population count of highly endangered Nigerian gorillas

Emma Hite, Morphological and molecular approaches to species identification in equid cheek teeth from Godin: Terminology, taxonomy and further implications

Allysha Powanda, A comparison of pelvic age-estimation methods on two modern Iberian populations: bioarchaeological and forensic implications

Ariana Ridgely, Macroscopic and microscopic vharacteristics of hacking trauma on bone


Anna Delaney, Scavenger variation in central New Jersey: Implications for forensic analysis

Jeannette Fridie, A restropective study on dismemberment in New York City, 1990-2006

Megan Ingvoldstad, Mass graves, skeletonization, and individuation: a controlled experiment of differential decomposition in mice burials

Heidi Reinholdt, Primate cranial morphogenetics and the role of repeat polymorphisms


Deena Emera, Biological affinity of a prehistoric Cook Island population: The dental and genetic evidence

Laura Gaydosh, Gauging the deterioration of deoxyribonucleic acids during thermal alteration

Giselle Garcia, A quantitative analysis of the distal tibia of Homo habilis

Jessica Rottenstein, Experimental decomposition in the northeast in three different microenvironments

Ilana Solomon, Genetic affinities of Cook Islanders: A look at the mitochondrial DNA of ancient Mangaians


Contact the Program:

MA Program in Human Skeletal Biology
25 Waverly Place
Department of Anthropology
New York University
NY, NY 10003

Getting to NYU
Anthropology Dept Homepage