#2 Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State offers a really cool balance that you don't see in many graduate programs: the opportunity to choose between the pure-science rigors of forensic analytical chemistry or microbiology, or the anthropological sciences of evolution, osteology, and gross anatomy.
Forensic anthropology, of course, draws on a strong chemistry and biology background, but emphasizes archaeology and anatomy (particularly bone and skeletal remains). Because Michigan's program is closely allied with the school's criminal justice program, you can temper your lab time with broader studies in forensic law, serology and DNA profiling, keeping you well-rounded with diverse lectures and topics, and more importantly, from getting burned out doing nothing but the repetitive lab work.
At the end of the day, Michigan requires that you finish 6 credits worth of thesis research, complete your research project, present it, and defend it orally.
Given that forensic anthropologists, generally speaking, find it easier to get a job if they have a Ph.D., Michigan even supports a dual Masters-Ph.D. while enrolled. If you've got the time and the dime, this really is the best of both worlds. The Masters signifies a practical, hands-on knowledge of the technical sciences, but the Ph.D. says that you know your stuff when it comes to research.
Another plus is that the Ph.D. will let you apply for tenure-track professorships at many schools. Generally speaking, those holding a masters-only degree may teach, but only as adjunct faculty or lecturers, on a per-course or per-semester basis. When the semester's up, your contract is up. A doctoral-level degree (whether Ph.D., law-school JD or education Ed.D.) is the key to full-time, tenured employments as assistant, associate, then full professor at many universities. This is certainly something to keep in mind if you see teaching in your future, even if it's the distant future following retirement from a crime lab somewhere.