WU-FARU Forensic Anthropology Training Courses

The Washburn University Forensic Anthropology Recovery Unit offers specialized training courses specifically in forensic anthropology for professionals and students. These courses range from one to five days and cover both the recovery/field component of the discipline, as well as, the laboratory components including human osteology, the biological profile, trauma/taphonomy, and pathology. Courses are taught by board-certified forensic Anthropologist Dr. Alexandra Klales, D-ABFA, and other prominent forensic anthropologists.

Courses can be customized and privately scheduled for groups of ten or more. All courses are taught on the Washburn University campuses in Topeka, KS unless otherwise specified. On-campus housing is available at a reduced rate, see below for more information on getting to Topeka. For more information, contact Amy Zook at (785)670-2270 or email amy.zook@washburn.edu.

Note: Because of COVID-19, all training courses listed below will be offered via remote instruction until further notice. Course requirements: 1) device with internet, microphone, AND camera, 2) Zoom account, and 3) valid email address to be added to online course module (D2L).

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woman measuring a human skull

Human Skeletal Biology: Estimating the Biological Profile

June 22-26, 2020


The goal of this five-day short course is to familiarize students and professionals with the current methods used to estimate the biological profile (age, sex, ancestry, stature) of unknown individuals. Participants will be introduced to the classic and newest morphological and metric methods of identification for each biological profile parameter. Some topics to be covered include osteometrics/digitizing, using and interpreting Fordisc, the Walker (2008)and Klales et al. (2012) sex methods, the Hartnett (2010) rib and pubis age methods, and newer programs like DSP, hefneR, Transition Analysis, and MorphoPASSE. The course involves extensive hands-on opportunities with real skeletal remains, supplemented by detailed lectures, presentations, and actual forensic case studies.

This course has been approved for 33 hours of ABMDI and MO POST Continuing Education Hours.


Fatal Fire Recoveries Course - POSTPONED

July 27-31, 2020


This course is designed to familiarize participants with the forensic anthropological methods employed to effectively and efficiently recover victims from fatal fires. The course will contain lectures focused on tissue and skeletal modifications created by fire and on state-of-the-art forensic archaeological recovery techniques. Participants will partake in a mock recovery of a burned vehicle fire using an animal proxy to gain experience in the search, documentation, and recovery of fatal fire victims.

This course was approved in the past for 35.5 hours of ABMDI and 35.5 hours of MO POST Continuing Education Hours in 2019. Courses have been re-submitted and are pending approval for 2020.

human bone fragment

Identifying Human vs. Non-Human Bone

August 3, 2020
8am - 5pm


This course is designed for law enforcement officers and crime scene investigators that often need to distinguish human from non-human bones. This one-day course will include lectures, hands-on practicals, and mini-quizzes that will demonstrate how to differentiate human skeletal remains from non-bone materials and from non-human bones. No prior knowledge of human osteology is required.