This paper investigates the feasibility of using ultrasonic guided waves for assessing cortical bone and hence aid in detecting conditions such as osteoporosis. Guided wave propagation in bone systems modeled as multilayered tubular structures consisting of anisotropic bone filled with viscous marrow and surrounded by tissue are studied using the Semi Analytical Finite Element (SAFE) method. Effects of changes to cortical bone thickness are investigated. An attempt is also made to consider bone anisotropy in the models. The results, validated by experiments with bone phantoms, show that material and geometric condition strongly impacts the velocity of guided waves supported in the bone system. Identification of optimal guided wave modes for practical assessment is also discussed. © 2016 Acoustical Society of America.