Anthropology PhD

Bioarchaeology Approach

Anthropology students following the bioarchaeology approach have access to the outstanding faculty and state-of-the-art facilities associated with the school's Center for Bioarchaeological Research.

Founded by bioarchaeology pioneer and Regents' Professor Jane Buikstra, the center – the first of its kind in Arizona – is directed by Professor Kelly Knudson. 

Dedicated to discovering and communicating new knowledge about past peoples' experiences with health and disease, along with their cultural and environmental contexts, the center conducts research not typically covered by traditional researchers in the biomedical, environmental and conservation fields. Our research and teaching emphasize contextualization and problem orientation along with the latest methodological training. Students learn not only human osteology and various analytical and laboratory procedures, but also how to interpret the data resulting from these methods within a broad, comparative anthropological framework for bioarchaeological problem-solving and engagement with contemporary issues.

Our goal is to focus students' attention on important questions and problems early in their graduate career, and to provide them with the best tools to develop effective research designs. By bringing anthropological understanding of the past to contemporary problems, the center provides important insights to efforts that promote global health and seek to preserve cultural heritages, endangered species and threatened environments.

Bioarchaeology Curriculum

Required Courses

  • ASB 591 Professionalism
  • ASM 579 Proposal Writing

Recommended Courses
Students will choose the courses that best fit their needs in consultation with their committee.

  • ASM 591 Bioarchaeology
    This course will focus on the history, themes, and contexts of bioarchaeology and bioarchaeologies. This course will establish for first year students that bioarchaeology is a special approach to general anthropological and, more broadly, social problems.
  • ASM 591 Bioarchaeological Approaches to Innovative Questions
    See the list below. Students are encouraged to take at least one of these courses during the first year.
  • ASM 555 Advanced Human Osteology
    Although most entering bioarchaeology graduate students will take this course, students with extensive experience may be exempt.
  • Field School or comparable bioarchaeological field experience

Courses in Bioarchaeological Approaches to Innovative Questions
These courses are inspired by SHESC and CBR visions for the field and are developed around research areas and questions rather than techniques. These courses are problem-based, explicitly linking data, and its limitations, to broad research questions that defy disciplinary circumscription. These courses should be taken in fall semesters in order to contextualize bioarchaeological research for students at the beginning of their graduate careers.

  • ASM 591 The Bioarchaeology of Identity
  • ASM 591 The Bioarchaeology of Empires
  • ASM 591 The Biorchaeology of Sex and Gender
  • ASM 591 The Bioarchaeology of Children and Childhood
  • ASM 591 Biological Distance in Evolutionary and Social Perspective

Courses in Bioarchaeological Methods and Applications

  • ASB 553 Human Behavior through Bone Chemistry
  • ASB 591 Mortuary Practices and Cultural Analysis
  • ASM 580 Practicum: Forensic Anthropology
  • ASM 583 Field Methods in Bioarchaeology
  • ASM 611 Paleopathology
  • ASM 591 Human Demography and Microevolution
  • ASM 591 Dental Anthropology
  • ASM 591 Gross Anatomy
  • ASM 598 Zooarchaeology

Other SHESC Graduate Courses

  • ASB 530 Ecological Anthropology
  • ASB 536 Ethnohistory of Mesoamerica
  • ASB 537 Topics in Mesoamerican Archaeology
  • ASB 551 Prehistoric Diet
  • ASB 555 Complex Societies
  • ASB 563 Hunter-Gatherer Adaptations
  • ASM 565 Quantitative and Formal Methods in Archaeology
  • ASM 566 Simulation, Modeling, and Monte Carlo Methods in Archaeology
  • ASB 567 Southwestern Archaeology
  • ASB 571 Museum Principles
  • ASB 572 Museum Collections Management
  • ASB 573 Museum Administration
  • ASB 550 Economic Archaeology
  • ASB 583 Field Methods
  • ASB 591 Archaeology of the Social Realm
  • ASB 591 Chiefdoms
  • ASB 591 Ethnoarchaeology
  • ASB 591 Hohokam Archaeology
  • ASB 591 Andean Archaeology
  • ASB 591 Problems in Southwestern Archaeology
  • ASB 591 Peoples of Southeast Asia
  • ASB 591 Political Anthropology
  • ASB 591 Political Ecology
  • ASB 591 Issues in Contemporary Social Theory
  • ASM 591 Primatology

Possible Courses in Other Departments

  • GLG 481 Geochemistry
  • GLG 581 Isotope Geochemistry
  • HST 590 American Indian History
  • HST 590 Colonial Latin America
  • HST 590 Premodern Asia
  • HST 591 Peoples of the North American West
  • HST 598 Andean Myth, Testimony and Historiography
  • HST 598 Key Issues in Latin American Colonial History
  • HST 790 Premodern Southeast Asia
  • REL 483 Religion
  • BIO 415 Biometry
  • BIO 545 Population and Evolutionary Genetics

Bioarchaeology Faculty

Brenda J. Baker
Associate Professor
Jane Buikstra
Regents Professor
Kelly Knudson
Professor and Director, Center for Bioarchaeological Research
Sara Marsteller
Christopher Stojanowski
Professor and Director