top of page

Learn More About

Forensic Anthropology

What is forensic anthropology?

Forensic anthropology is an applied subfield of biological anthropology that deals with the analysis of skeletal remains in a medicolegal context.  

I'm a student and am considering a career in forensic anthropology. Where can I learn more?

The American Board of Forensic Anthropology  has a helpful section for Students that includes information on requirements and university programs.

What does it mean to be "board-certified"?

The American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA) is a non-profit organization that provides a program of certification in forensic anthropology.  ABFA board certification denotes the highest recognized level of professional qualification in the field of forensic anthropology. Diplomate certification is based upon a personal and professional record of education and training, experience, and achievement.


The American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA) certification process involves a rigorous evaluation of the education, training, and experience of an applicant before the applicant can sit for the board exam.  If the applicant meets the requirements of the board, he or she is allowed to sit for the two-part exam.  The exam consists of a lengthy set of multiple-choice questions, followed by an extensive hands-on practical examination, both of which have to be completed within a single eight-hour period. 

The process and achievement of ABFA certification ensures that practitioners have demonstrated a high level of ability and skill. Certification tends to lend credibility to reports and court testimony. 

What does the abbreviation D-ABFA mean?

The certification granted by ABFA and is known as a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (D-ABFA).  Each Diplomate is assigned a unique certification number.  A Diplomate must sign a statement of ethics each year; additionally, each must be able to document a record of ongoing continuing education in the field every three years. Dr. Hartnett-McCann is  D-ABFA #95 and is listed as an Active Diplomate here.

bottom of page