PC and VR Human Osteology Course

Are you interested in getting a head start on your goal of becoming a medical doctor or scientist focused on the biological sciences?

HD Forensics now offers a comprehensive online university-level Human Osteology course for the PC and Virtual Reality (VR) platforms, of interest to individuals considering a wide variety of careers in the natural sciences and medicine. Available now for Windows, Mac, Oculus Go, and Oculus Quest.


Free Demo Available!


Human Osteology is the study of the human skeleton. In-depth knowledge of Human Osteology is of benefit to a wide variety of disciplines from medicine to the biological sciences. 

Who would benefit from this course?

  • High school students interested in pre-medicine, biology, and other natural science careers who want to get a head start in their respective career field

  • Medical students who are required to take a human anatomy course in their first year of study; human osteology is an important component of that course

  • Undergraduate college students in biology, pre-medicine, sports medicine, and biological anthropology

  • Graduate students in anatomy, paleoanthropology, physical anthropology, and many others who would like to get a jump on the competition

All of these disciplines and more require an expertise in human skeletal anatomy. This course would give you a huge jump on the competition.


Normally, a course in Human Osteology is available only in a college, university, anatomy program, or medical school setting. In addition to lectures about composition and development of bones, a critical component of the course is to learn what bones look like, which features nerves and blood vessels pass through, and which muscle attach where. This is best learned in the laboratory where students can handle actual human bones to try to best learn what they look like, determine how to side each unique bone, and even identify individual features. However, access to real bones for studying is becoming more difficult and may be available only in larger university and medical school classrooms. In many cases, learning osteology is done with low-quality plastic versions of human bones.

Our Human Osteology course is based on and modeled after a very successful university semester-long Human Osteology laboratory course presented by Dr. Dennis C. Dirkmaat, a renowned, award-winning forensic anthropologist who has taught the class for nearly 30 years as a professor of Physical and Forensic Anthropology.

Virtual reality, or VR, is taking the training and education industry by storm, and for good reason. People remember information better when it’s presented to them in a virtual environment. A recent university study showed an almost nine percent improvement in recall accuracy using VR headsets. Learners said the immersive presence while using VR allowed them to focus better. Why? The distractions of the outside world are eliminated when you’re in VR, leaving you to focus on learning.

Dennis C. Dirkmaat,
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In this course, we go far beyond simply providing you with a series of scanned, rotatable human bones with no guidance on how best to learn them. Instead, we have created a university-level Human Osteology laboratory course in which you build knowledge from initially learning how to spell the names of the human bones to being able to identify whole bones, portions of bones, and individual features of the bones. You proceed through the course at your own comfortable pace, in your own home or dorm room. Along the way, you will be tested on your grasp of the knowledge through a series of intensive, randomized tests. 

Construction of the Course

HD Forensics Laboratory


You will enter the course through the HD Forensics Laboratory. This is where you will be introduced to the course and become familiarized with how to interact with your environment. You will have the opportunity to explore the laboratory and learn more about the artifacts and drawers in the lab.  On the shelves are examples of human skulls that you can pick up and examine. We have also included some highly recommended textbooks that focus on Human Osteology, that will serve as very useful supplements to this course. The drawers contain animal bones and examples of human skeletal variation, trauma, and pathology. The folders on the table contain pictures of the range of cases forensic anthropologists (as an example of specialists who use their expertise in Human Osteology every day) typically would work on.

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Lesson 1: Anatomical Terms


Next, entering the main part of the course, you will be presented with definitions of directional terms (e.g., proximal-distal, medial-lateral), anatomical planes of reference (sagittal, coronal planes) which will help orient where you are in the body and understand the position and location of the bones relative to one another in the articulated state. Reference planes are important for medical imaging techniques such as MRI and CT scans and sonography. The information in this lesson will provide an excellent foundation for the rest of the course.  

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Lesson 2: Bone Names


This part of the course requires you to learn the individual bone names, how to spell and pronounce them, and where they are located in the human body, relative to other bones, in the articulated state.  

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Lesson 3: Individual Bone Identification


In this section of the course, you will be learning how to identify the individual bones and sides, by sight. You be able to ‘pick up’ bones in your hands, rotate them, and bring them closer to your vision (zoom in and out). A standing articulated skeleton and hand-drawn diagrams of articulated bones are available nearby to help you orient the bones anatomically.

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Lesson 4: Individual Bone Features

The final lesson will focus on learning the major features of all the bones. The full 3D extent of each feature (e.g., muscle attachment, acetabulum) is ‘painted’ onto the bone, rather than just a line pointing to it. This is a significant benefit for understanding the feature.

The real ‘claim-to-fame’ of this course is that you will be virtually holding real human bones in your hands, turning them over, inspecting them up close, and examining the minute details. This ‘hands-on’ approach will assist you in creating strategies to remember the names, features, and sides of the 206 bones in the human body.

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Testing Your Knowledge 

Much like a normal college course, we want you to come away with a deep understanding of the subject. During and after each section of the course, you will be tested to confirm your knowledge of the material. A word of warning: we won’t let you off easy; you won’t be able to skim through the sections to get to the end and proclaim yourself an expert. You will have to pass numerous demanding examinations throughout the course to reinforce the course lessons.

Expected Course Timeframe

Typically, the building of expertise in identifying human bones via a university Human Osteology course may be 15 weeks in the making. Similarly, this course is not a 2-hour affair. We expect at least 40 to 50 hours of effort to ‘pass’ the course and earn the label of human osteology expert.

We truly believe that if you are serious about a career in any of the fields mentioned above, this course in Human Osteology will give you a significant leap in the right direction.

Human Osteology Course Payment

The course is currently sold on an individual basis for the Windows, Mac, Oculus Go, and Oculus Quest platforms (VR versions do not include headsets). This purchase includes an activation code to enable the software on one device of the specified platform. After purchasing the course, you will receive a code and instructions on how to download and activate the product. Several options are available for purchase, including a free trial, as well as beginner, intermediate, and advanced user access (see a breakdown of prices and lesson access in the chart below).

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For Professional License pricing, click here.


In the future, we also plan to offer add-on modules including a fragmentary osteology module, a dental identification module, a human skeletal variation module, and even a comparative skeletal anatomy (animal) module.