Forensic Anthropology Field School at UTM (ANT306H5F)

Applications are now closed for the Forensic Anthropology Field School course (ANT306H5F) for the 2020-21 academic year.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a final determination regarding the August fieldwork component of this Fall 2020 course has yet to be made. We hope that by August, things will be back to normal and that we will be able to do the fieldwork that will be required for this course.


View the course description in the UTM Academic Calendar.

The Forensic Anthropology Field School course (ANT306H5F) is an introduction to the field of forensic anthropological field techniques and scene interpretation.

Topics covered include:

  • crime scene protocols and record keeping;
  • establishing perimeters;
  • establishing a datum;
  • searching for human remains and clandestine burials;
  • mapping small scenes;
  • mapping large scenes (high and low tech);
  • establishing a grid;
  • excavation techniques;
  • stratification, soils, tool marks, and other evidence from the grave;
  • casting soil imprints;
  • taphonomy and taphonomic inference;
  • photography;
  • collecting evidence;
  • maintaining the chain of evidence;
  • scene interpretation part 1- reconstructing activity relating to the death and/or deposition of the victim;
  • scene interpretation part 2 - reconstructing post-depositional events.


The August field school and the Fall term lab sessions take place on the UTM campus.

Dates and course delivery timeline

Students must be available for both the August fieldwork and the laboratory classes in the Fall term. Participation in August fieldwork is a required part of the course. This course is typically offered every other year.

  • Fieldwork takes place from 9 am to 5 pm over two consecutive weeks.
  • This year's fieldwork dates are August 4-14, 2020 (please note that Monday, August 3 is Civic Holiday).
  • Weekly two-hour laboratory classes are held during the fall term. 

Fees and supplies to be purchased

  • Students are only charged Fall Registration for the course; there are no summer tuition charges.
  • Due to the closure of campus buildings because of COVID-19, the Department of Anthropology will cover the cost of the non-refundable ancillary fee of $35.00 CAD for all students who enroll in UTM Anthropology field school courses in 2020. To be clear, students do not have to pay this ancillary fee if they take a UTM field school course in 2020. The ancillary fee covers the cost of minor field school supplies. All excavation equipment will be supplied.
  • There is some personal equipment that you will need in order to participate (more details on these items will be provided to students enrolled in the course):
    • Long pants and long-sleeve shirts
    • Hat
    • Hiking shoes or boots
    • Gloves
    • Safety glasses
    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellant
    • A light rain poncho, or rain jacket and pants
    • Water: You must bring at least one water bottle with you every day.
    • Pens/Pencils
    • Trowel (optional)

Eligibility and prerequisites

  • Prerequisite: ANT205H5
  • Students must have the approval of the UTM Anthropology Department before being enrolled in the course on ROSI/ACORN. Approval will be based on number of credits completed, area of concentration, academic standing, course background and/or previous courses.
  • This field school course is only open to University of Toronto students. First priority will be given to UTM students. Enrolment is limited.

Application and enrolment process for 2020

  1. Request departmental approval to enrol in the course by submitting the online Field School Application Form by March 30, 2020 at 9am. Applications are normally accepted during the winter term (check this page for application deadlines for future offerings).
  2. Check your email account for the results of your application (emails are usually sent towards the end of April). If you receive departmental approval to enrol in this course, you must complete the steps below in order to complete your enrolment.
  3. After you confirm that you wish to enrol in the course (via email), the department will enrol you in the course via ROSI/ACORN (when enrolment is open)


If you have any questions please contact the Departmental Assistant at