The term bioarchaeology was coined in 1972 by Grahame Clark, and referred to the science of zooarchaeology. It was later redefined by Jane Buikstra in 1977, to imply the study of human remains.
The quality of curiosity is evident throughout the history of humanity in the form of scientific discovery and inventions. It is this very quality that not only leads us to our future but also to our pasts. Humans, as a whole, are curious regarding their ancient origins and ancestral cultures. The field of science that can help sate this curiosity to a certain extent is bioarchaeology. It involves the study of human remains, that are found at archaeological sites, to reconstruct the lifestyles, health concerns, and day-to-day activities carried out in the past. Due to the emergence of this branch of science, scientists have been able to figure out and piece together various aspects of our ancestors’ lives. This helps us gain an insight into the path that the course of evolution took and what events occurred along the way.
Similar to other recently developed scientific branches, this is a multidisciplinary field that combines various sciences such as paleodemography, paleogenetics, paleo-osteology, and mortuary studies. It often also includes sciences like genetics, metabolomics, etc. Due to this, most universities offer degrees that combine the disciplines of anthropology and archeology, along with their sub-types. One can pursue an education in this field in any of the universities given below.
Schools Offering Graduate Programs in Bioarchaeology
Arizona State University
Mississippi State University
New York University
Sonoma State University
Illinois State University
San Francisco State University
Western Michigan University
City University of New York
University of California, Los Angeles
East Carolina University
California State University, Chico
Texas A&M University
University of Georgia
University of Tennessee
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Kansas
University of Hawaii
George Mason University
Louisiana State University
Ohio State University
Wisconsin Lutheran College
San Jose State University
Southern Illinois University
University of Pittsburgh
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Pennsylvania State University
University of North Florida
University of South Florida
Most of these universities offer M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology with a core approach of bioarchaeology. The program offered by the Arizona State University is quite sought after, as the department there boasts of the presence of Dr. Jane Ellen Buikstra, a visionary pioneer in this particular field.
While choosing a particular graduate program from any of these universities, one must first acquaint oneself with the faculty and their profiles, in order to gain an idea of the type of research that’s carried out in that department. Likewise, you should find out about the funding situation, policies regarding field visits, and collaborations, if any, with other research institutes. Also, simultaneously one must familiarize oneself with the application process and the eligibility criteria. It is also a good idea to converse with the faculty, alumni, and the seniors of that department to understand the benefits associated with graduating from those universities. These interactions will also help you discover the employability scenario of that particular degree. Be sure to choose a university that meets your career interests, and one that will help you advance further in your field of study.