Palaeopathology is the study of past disease in human remains; it is a sub-discipline of bioarchaeology (study of human remains from archaeological sites). This lecture, seminar and laboratory based MSc equips you with the theoretical and practical skills knowledge of how to study and interpret data collected from human remains. The emphasis is on health and well-being using a multidisciplinary approach, linking biological evidence for disease with cultural data (the bioarchaeological approach). This course is unique in the world and it takes a holistic view of disease, as seen in a clinical contexts today, and will prepare you for undertaking significant research projects in this subject, or working in contract/commercial archaeology, and many other fields. It is aimed at graduates mainly in archaeology and anthropology with or without past experience of knowledge in this field, and for those who aspire to continue into a PhD programme or work in contract archaeology. However, past students have come from a variety of subject backgrounds, and destination data illustrate a wide range of employments take these students.
Two taught modules in the Epiphany term (Research and Study Skills in Archaeological Science and Identification and Analysis of the Normal Human Skeleton), and two taught modules in Michaelmas term (Palaeopathology: Theory and Method; Themes in Palaeopathology), with the double module dissertation over Easter term and the summer (submitted early September).
The programme is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical classes. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate in bioarchaeology. Seminars then provide opportunities for smaller groups of you to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and through independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. Finally, practical laboratory classes allow you to gain direct practical skills in the recording and interpretation of data from skeletal remains. The latter provide an important element of the programme in allowing independent and group work, as well as hands-on experience under laboratory conditions, essential for a potential future working environment.
The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the programme, as you develop your knowledge and ability as independent learners, giving them the opportunity to engage in research, professional practice, and developing and demonstrating research skills in a particular area of the subject.
In Term 1 you will typically attend 4 hours a week of lectures and 2.5 hours of laboratory sessions, in addition to seminars over the term. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge. External speakers specialising in specific subject areas from “industry” and academia are brought in to engage the students on issues in research, but also in the profession.
In Term 2 the balance shifts from learning the basic skills required for recording and interpreting skeletal data (age at death, sex, normal variation), to further developing skills for palaeopathological data recording and their interpretation and understanding the limitations. In addition, the Themes module aims to develop in students a critical approach to the evaluation of multiple forms of evidence, beyond that for human remains, for the reconstruction of specific themes. It focuses on discussion and debate of different related issues. In Term 2 you will typically attend 4 hours a week of lectures and 2.5 hours of laboratory sessions, in addition to seminars over the term. Again, external speakers specialising in specific subject areas from “industry” and academia are brought in to engage the students on issues in research, but also in the profession.
The move towards greater emphasis on independent learning and research continues in Term 3 and beyond, where the research skills acquired earlier in the programme are developed through the dissertation research project. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom they will typically have three one-to-one supervisory meetings, you will undertake a detailed study of a particular area, resulting in a significant piece of independent research. The dissertation is regarded as a preparation for further professional or academic work. In Term 3 students are given the opportunity to attend a Careers Session in the Department where past graduates of the course talk about their career trajectories since graduating.
Throughout the programme, you will have access to an “academic adviser”, or in the case of this MSc the two Directors (Professor Charlotte Roberts and Dr Rebecca Gowland), who provide you with academic support and guidance. Typically a student meets their adviser two to three times a year, in addition to which all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The department also has an exciting programme of weekly one hour research seminars which postgraduate students are strongly encouraged to attend. Additionally, the students who attend the MSc Palaeopathology course are provided with the opportunity to attend journal paper critique sessions each term, and human bioarchaeology seminars given by PhD students.
Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.
Archaeology in Leiden encompasses the study of societies and cultures from the past, aiming to reconstruct and revive them. Make a meaningful contribution to resolving present-day societal issues such as migration, globalisation and climate change, using your interest in the past.
Leiden’s Archaeology master’s degree has the most diverse programme in the Netherlands. Leiden also boasts the only independent Faculty of Archaeology in the Netherlands. The study programme offers various regional and thematic specialisations and the teaching programme is closely linked to ongoing research.
Our academic staff are involved in research all over the world, with a strong focus on field research. In addition, the programme emphasises ecology and geology, combined with both iconology and historical studies, as well as ethno-archaeological, anthropological and experimental approaches. A combination with modern museum practices and developments in archaeological heritage management broadens your scope even more.
As a student of one of our specialisations, you will gain in-depth knowledge of the discipline of your choice. At the same time, you will take part in ongoing debates about general theory, the development of new methods and the use of information technology.
Our teaching is multidisciplinary and uses theories, methods and techniques drawn from the humanities, social sciences and sciences. By regarding the matter from an ecologist's viewpoint, or seeing it through a geologist's or anthropologist's eye, you add great value to your studies and research.
Students who choose the Archaeological Science specialisation receive a Master of Science degree in Archaeology. For World Archaeology and Heritage and Museum Studies, you receive a Master of Arts degree in Archaeology.
Please note this programme will be undergoing some changes for the 2017/18 entry and courses may be subject to change between now and the commencement of the programme in September 2017.
This programme offers you the chance to develop a detailed understanding of the application of geographical information science (GIS) and related technologies within the field of archaeology.
The programme retains a distinctive Scottish flavour, and students will benefit from the guidance of internationally recognised staff.
The programme combines the pedigree of Edinburgh’s GIS expertise with a long-established reputation in archaeological teaching and research.
You will gain a broad understanding of the use of GIS in archaeological surveying, recording and research and will be equipped with the analytical and communication skills necessary to work in this vibrant area.
Demand for the application of GIS within archaeology is growing at an unprecedented rate, including searching for new archaeological sites, determining the societal context of existing sites and examining the interplay between successive occupations of a site.
The proven ability of our GIS graduates in employment means our programme is held in high regard by a wide range of employers.
Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.
The programme is organised into two semesters of taught courses, delivered through lectures and seminars, after which you will work towards your individual dissertation.
Compulsory courses typically will be:
In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses. We particularly recommend:
Courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change. Field trip
There is a field trip focusing on techniques for capturing geospatial information. This field trip has historically taken place at the Kindrogan Field Centre, Perthshire.
The expertise gained on this programme will allow you to continue to study or to pursue a career in surveying, illustration and 3D visualisation, digital archiving, heritage management, terrain modelling, database management, geomatics or consultancy.
Our GIS graduates have gained work in both public and private sector organisations, including Historic Scotland, English Heritage, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, thinkWhere (formerly Forth Valley GIS) and CFA Archaeology.
You may also be interested in the following programmes:
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