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Masters Degrees (Biomolecular Archaeology)

We have 8 Masters Degrees (Biomolecular Archaeology)

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The MPhil takes two years (full time). If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests. Read more
The MPhil takes two years (full time).

If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests. We have some funded PhDs via Research Councils such as NERC and the AHRC. Also, we hope to be able to advertise individual funded PhDs, with pre-defined subject areas, each year - please watch our front page for details.

Facilities

The graduate study building provides room for reading and quiet reflection. It is dedicated solely to providing facilities for postgraduate research, with individual/shared carrels, a suite of computers, and shared workspace for sorting material or laying out illustrations. The building has been designed to provide an attractive yet effective atmosphere for study and writing. It also aims to create an environment which brings together postgraduate researchers in a friendly and communal way.

A group of CAD machines, with digitising tablets and printers, is available, as is a range of state-of-the-art survey and geophysical equipment. Cameras can be borrowed, and there are the necessary facilities and equipment for illustration. Laboratories are available for use, including the new BioArch laboratories for biomolecular archaeology and excellent reference collections exist for environmental archaeology and conservation of materials.

Support

All research students have a supportive structure of supervision, with a main supervisor and two other members of staff who follow progress, are available for advice, and sit on the student's Thesis Advisory Panel.

Research community

Research seminars are run within the Department and at the Centres for Medieval Studies and Eighteenth Century Studies, and in the Department of Biology. Numerous special interest research groups also hold meetings and conferences at King's Manor, and this allows research students to keep in touch with latest developments in their field.

Careers

All of the postgraduate Archaeology courses at York have a strong focus on employability. We aim to equip students with highly valued specialist and transferable skills, in a range of archaeological disciplines. The courses provide students with a deep understanding of relevant theories and principles, alongside extensive practical experience and access to the latest technologies and systems.

Postgraduates from our Masters’ courses have gone on to a wide range of careers in the archaeology sector and in heritage-related organisations across the UK and abroad, including:
-Historic England
-English Heritage
-The National Trust
-York Archaeological Trust
-The Council for British Archaeology
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Heritage consultancies
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Centre for Christianity and Culture
-York Civic Trust
-The Science Museum Group
-The Royal Mint Museum
-Heritage Malta
-New South Wales Government
-Highland Council

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If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests. Read more
If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests. We have some funded PhDs via Research Councils such as NERC and the AHRC. Also, we hope to be able to advertise individual funded PhDs, with pre-defined subject areas, each year - please watch our front page for details.

Facilities

The graduate study building provides room for reading and quiet reflection. It is dedicated solely to providing facilities for postgraduate research, with individual/shared carrels, a suite of computers, and shared workspace for sorting material or laying out illustrations. The building has been designed to provide an attractive yet effective atmosphere for study and writing. It also aims to create an environment which brings together postgraduate researchers in a friendly and communal way.

A group of CAD machines, with digitising tablets and printers, is available, as is a range of state-of-the-art survey and geophysical equipment. Cameras can be borrowed, and there are the necessary facilities and equipment for illustration. Laboratories are available for use, including the new BioArch laboratories for biomolecular archaeology and excellent reference collections exist for environmental archaeology and conservation of materials.

Support

All research students have a supportive structure of supervision, with a main supervisor and two other members of staff who follow progress, are available for advice, and sit on the student's Thesis Advisory Panel.

Research community

Research seminars are run within the Department and at the Centres for Medieval Studies and Eighteenth Century Studies, and in the Department of Biology. Numerous special interest research groups also hold meetings and conferences at King's Manor, and this allows research students to keep in touch with latest developments in their field.

Careers

All of the postgraduate Archaeology courses at York have a strong focus on employability. We aim to equip students with highly valued specialist and transferable skills, in a range of archaeological disciplines. The courses provide students with a deep understanding of relevant theories and principles, alongside extensive practical experience and access to the latest technologies and systems.

Postgraduates from our Masters’ courses have gone on to a wide range of careers in the archaeology sector and in heritage-related organisations across the UK and abroad, including:
-Historic England
-English Heritage
-The National Trust
-York Archaeological Trust
-The Council for British Archaeology
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Heritage consultancies
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Centre for Christianity and Culture
-York Civic Trust
-The Science Museum Group
-The Royal Mint Museum
-Heritage Malta
-New South Wales Government
-Highland Council

Read less
If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests. Read more
If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests.

We have some funded PhDs via Research Councils such as NERC and the AHRC. Also, we hope to be able to advertise individual funded PhDs, with pre-defined subject areas, each year - please watch our front page for details.

Facilities

The graduate study building provides room for reading and quiet reflection. It is dedicated solely to providing facilities for postgraduate research, with individual/shared carrels, a suite of computers, and shared workspace for sorting material or laying out illustrations. The building has been designed to provide an attractive yet effective atmosphere for study and writing. It also aims to create an environment which brings together postgraduate researchers in a friendly and communal way.

A group of CAD machines, with digitising tablets and printers, is available, as is a range of state-of-the-art survey and geophysical equipment. Cameras can be borrowed, and there are the necessary facilities and equipment for illustration. Laboratories are available for use, including the new BioArch laboratories for biomolecular archaeology and excellent reference collections exist for environmental archaeology and conservation of materials.

Support

All research students have a supportive structure of supervision, with a main supervisor and two other members of staff who follow progress, are available for advice, and sit on the student's Thesis Advisory Panel.

Research community

Research seminars are run within the Department and at the Centres for Medieval Studies and Eighteenth Century Studies, and in the Department of Biology. Numerous special interest research groups also hold meetings and conferences at King's Manor, and this allows research students to keep in touch with latest developments in their field.

Careers

All of the postgraduate Archaeology courses at York have a strong focus on employability. We aim to equip students with highly valued specialist and transferable skills, in a range of archaeological disciplines. The courses provide students with a deep understanding of relevant theories and principles, alongside extensive practical experience and access to the latest technologies and systems.

Postgraduates from our Masters’ courses have gone on to a wide range of careers in the archaeology sector and in heritage-related organisations across the UK and abroad, including:
-Historic England
-English Heritage
-The National Trust
-York Archaeological Trust
-The Council for British Archaeology
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Heritage consultancies
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Centre for Christianity and Culture
-York Civic Trust
-The Science Museum Group
-The Royal Mint Museum
-Heritage Malta
-New South Wales Government
-Highland Council

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Research degrees, based on the writing of a thesis, can be undertaken in three ways - for this course, it is. MA by research (one year fulltime). Read more
Research degrees, based on the writing of a thesis, can be undertaken in three ways - for this course, it is:
MA by research (one year fulltime)

Facilities

The graduate study building provides room for reading and quiet reflection. It is dedicated solely to providing facilities for postgraduate research, with individual/shared carrels, a suite of computers, and shared workspace for sorting material or laying out illustrations. The building has been designed to provide an attractive yet effective atmosphere for study and writing. It also aims to create an environment which brings together postgraduate researchers in a friendly and communal way.

A group of CAD machines, with digitising tablets and printers, is available, as is a range of state-of-the-art survey and geophysical equipment. Cameras can be borrowed, and there are the necessary facilities and equipment for illustration. Laboratories are available for use, including the new BioArch laboratories for biomolecular archaeology and excellent reference collections exist for environmental archaeology and conservation of materials.

Support

All research students have a supportive structure of supervision, with a main supervisor and two other members of staff who follow progress, are available for advice, and sit on the student's Thesis Advisory Panel.

Research community

Research seminars are run within the Department and at the Centres for Medieval Studies and Eighteenth Century Studies, and in the Department of Biology. Numerous special interest research groups also hold meetings and conferences at King's Manor, and this allows research students to keep in touch with latest developments in their field.

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This MSc or Postgraduate Diploma in Archaeological Sciences gives graduates in Archaeology and related subjects a systematic training in the application of modern scientific methods. Read more

This MSc or Postgraduate Diploma in Archaeological Sciences gives graduates in Archaeology and related subjects a systematic training in the application of modern scientific methods.

It gives you the practical, analytical and interpretative skills you need to apply a wide range of specialist approaches, preparing you not only for research in archaeological science but also to pursue career opportunities in all areas of mainstream archaeology.

You will join a group of postgraduate students from across the world and have the opportunity to use a wide range of specialist facilities and collections, whilst being taught by internationally recognised, research-active academic staff.

You can use the course to obtain broad expertise in the field, or to specialise in areas such as:

  • Environmental Archaeology, covering environmental change, subsistence and health through studies of animal bones, plant remains and biomarkers in human and non-human hard tissue.
  • Landscape Archaeology, focusing on understanding and interpreting landscapes in the past using prospection methods, visualisation and GIS.
  • Chronology and Biomolecules, specialising in the use of physical, chemical and biomolecular methods to study and date both human remains and artefacts.

Rankings

Top 200 - 2018 QS World University Rankings by subject.

What you will study

This programme prepares students not only for research in archaeological science, but also to further career prospects in all areas of mainstream archaeology.

The programme is normally offered on a full-time basis but a part-time route is feasible as well. Individual modules are available to candidates wishing to enhance their specialist knowledge in a particular area.

Modules

Core

Option

Learning and assessment

The teaching and learning strategy takes into consideration the learning outcomes, the nature of the subject, and the need for you to take responsibility for your own learning as part of this advanced taught programme.

The thematic modules are delivered in a combination of formal lectures, student-led intensive seminars/tutorials and extensive practical instruction. Coursework (laboratory and field reports, worksheets, essays) is geared towards demonstrating relevant knowledge, understanding and professional skills in principal approaches to the application and use of scientific methods in archaeology. Elements of group work are part of core specialist modules; communication skills are tested in both written and oral form in several modules.

The degree progresses through a spiral curriculum, with each teaching / assessment block developing and building on prior learning. The underlying knowledge and understanding is then drawn upon in the Dissertation (c.15000 words) which encompasses a substantial piece of original research, ultimately assessed for its publishable merit.

The assessment strategy is designed to support the learning outcomes of each specific module. It uses a wide range of assessment methods, including coursework (worksheets, critiques, laboratory reports, research design, essays), exams (practical tests), and oral presentations. Assessment elements are regularly structured in a way that allows you to benefit from formative learning towards summative assessment.

Facilities

You will use a wide range of specialist facilities and collections, including geophysical survey, 3D visualisation, image analysis, materials investigation, botanical and faunal analysis and the largest collection of human skeletal remains in any UK archaeology department, over 4,000 skeletons, dating from the Neolithic to the 19th century.

Career prospects

The course prepares students not only for research in archaeological science, but also furthers career prospects in mainstream archaeology or scientific analysis. The course is well-suited both to students who wish to use it as a foundation from which to commence research or as vocational training to enhance employment prospects in archaeology.

Career destinations have included PhDs at Universities of York, Bradford, Oxford, Texas A&M, Catamarca; UNESCO research; archaeological project managers; conservation science and teaching.

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Study support

A comprehensive support network is here for you to ensure you reach your academic potential and go on to further success in the future.

You’ll benefit from a range of support services, including:

  • personal academic tutor
  • student support / administration team
  • Academic Skills Advice service
  • Career and Employability Services
  • award-winning Disability Service
  • well stocked libraries and excellent IT facilities

Research

Archaeology engages the entire human past in all its temporal and spatial dimensions. It is fundamental to our understanding of how we evolved and our communities developed, and how we study, preserve and interpret our past.

At Bradford, our distinctive approach emphasises the integration of the natural and physical sciences in this enquiry. In accordance with the University’s mission, making knowledge work, the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences aims to provide excellence in a comprehensive range of archaeological topics, with emphasis on both teaching and research, believing the two activities to be mutually dependent.



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Study at the frontiers of archaeological science. Like a handful of comparable courses, the York MSc in Bioarchaeology provides training in the advanced osteoarchaeological analysis of skeletal remains. Read more
Study at the frontiers of archaeological science

Why choose this course?

Like a handful of comparable courses, the York MSc in Bioarchaeology provides training in the advanced osteoarchaeological analysis of skeletal remains. Uniquely, however, it is the only course in the UK to combine this discipline with the molecular analysis of human remains. Nowhere else can you immerse yourself in the study of stable isotopes, lipid residue analysis, palaeoproteomics and ancient DNA – and play an active role in the development of new techniques in this constantly evolving branch of archaeology. In 2014, seven of the top 100 discoveries in science were in archaeology, and BioArCh staff were involved in three of these.
-Advanced training in human osteoarchaeology, delivered by the UK’s leading practitioners
-Study ancient biomolecules in world-class facilities at the BioArch centre and Department of Biology
-Unique opportunity to combine bioarchaeology with complementary subjects and tailor a course to suit your interests
-Access an incredible range of in-house analytical equipment
-Take part in cutting-edge science and build essential practical skills
-Work alongside leading researchers and academics in a diverse range of specialisms
-Work on diverse material that is often ‘fresh out of the ground’ and make valuable contributions to live projects Receive career and research guidance from staff with significant experience in the sector and a track record of successfully placing PhD students

What does the course cover?

Through a combination of academic studies, practical training and dissertation research, this course provides a thorough grounding in all aspects of bioarchaeology theory, investigation and practice.

Uniquely, you can combine bioarchaeology with a range of subjects and tailor your degree to your own interests. You could adopt a ‘period’ focus, for example, to specialise in the bioarchaeology of the Medieval, Viking, Mesolithic or early prehistoric periods. You could combine human bioarchaeology with zooarchaeology and orientate your course towards more advanced studies of bone function and anatomy. Or you could focus on skills such as GIS modelling and field archaeology.

Who is it for?

This course is designed for students with a passionate interest in the future of archaeology, who want to work at the frontiers of archaeological science. The degree is primarily aimed at those whose previous experience is in archaeology, anthropology, biology or related fields, but we do accept students from diverse backgrounds. The common factor among our student intake is a keen interest in science and in human remains at a biomolecular or bone level.

What can it lead to?

Molecular analysis is used increasingly widely in archaeology, but the range of osteological and molecular skills offered by the course provide valuable training and expertise for a wide range of careers and further study.

Many students go on to take PhDs at York and other institutions around the world. Others pursue a wide range of professional careers, from osteoarchaeology and environmental archaeology to the medical humanities and laboratory technician work.

Careers

By the end of the MSc Bioarchaeology course you will be able to:
-Identify and record human bone assemblages
-Age, sex and assess pathologies from human bones
-Understand advanced methods for analysing bone tissues, including biomolecular methods
-Apply chemical and biomolecular methods to skeletal material
-Understand the processes of decay and diagenesis of bone tissue
-Critically evaluate published research and datasets
-Orally present knowledge and concepts
-Work effectively within a laboratory environment
-Plan, design and undertake a piece of independent research

These skills and techniques are deployed widely in the field of archaeological research and exploration, but they are also valuable for a wide range of careers and further studies.

Many our MSc Bioarchaeology postgraduates go on to further research in bioarchaeological and environmental fields. The BioArch department has a successful track record of placing students on PhD courses in York and institutions worldwide.

Here’s a selection of the career and research destinations of some of our recent students: US graduate school programmes
-Archaeological field units
-Environmental archaeology
-Professional archaeologists – field and laboratory based
-Laboratory technicians
-Demonstrators
-University/research technicians
-Academia
-On-site osteoarchaeologists
-Medical humanities

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Study animals from the past with the techniques of the future. The MSc in Zooarchaeology at York is the UK's only dedicated programme in the archaeological study of animals. Read more
Study animals from the past with the techniques of the future

Why choose this course?

The MSc in Zooarchaeology at York is the UK's only dedicated programme in the archaeological study of animals. Any consideration of the human past is incomplete without examining the essential roles that animals have played in our economies and societies, and on this course you will study archaeological animal remains on a macro and micro scale to investigate what they tell us about how humans and other species have co-existed over the millennia.

Housed within BioArCh, York's world-leading centre for research into ancient biomolecules, the MSc in Zooarchaeology also draws heavily on the expertise of functional and comparative anatomists from the Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences, part of the Hull York Medical School. We use the full range of available techniques, including advanced biomolecular methods and sophisticated morphometrics, to investigate and interpret animal bone data in a variety of cultural contexts.

The scope of the course is global, equipping you with the knowledge and techniques to study the roles of animals in human societies from the Palaeolithic to the present, around the world. You will learn from leading academics in both traditional and biomolecular zooarchaeology, and from dedicated specialists in evolutionary anatomy, enabling you both to master the latest analytical techniques and to examine skeletal anatomy at a level of detail not possible elsewhere.
-Study past relations between people and other animals, through the archaeological record
-Examine zooarchaeology across the entire span of human prehistory and history, right around the world
-Develop advanced skills in bone taphonomy and understand its importance to osteoarchaeological studies
-Explore biomolecular techniques, including DNA analysis, proteomics and stable isotope analysis
-Investigate skeletal anatomy in intricate detail
-Work alongside leading academics in zooarchaeological research
-Receive career and research guidance from Department of Archaeology staff with significant experience of successfully placing PhD students

What does the course cover?
This course covers the practical skills, analytical techniques, and interpretative frameworks necessary to study the roles of animals in past societies from the bones and other remains that we find on archaeological sites. Core modules and laboratory classes will provide you with a solid grounding in the essential tools of the zooarchaeologist's trade, while the option modules and dissertation allow you to explore and potentially specialise in a unique range of biomolecular and anatomical approaches.

Who is it for?
This course is aimed primarily at graduates in archaeology who want to specialise in the analysis and interpretation of animal remains, either as a basis for future research or as a practical specialism to further a career in archaeology. We are also happy to accept graduates of disciplines such as biology, zoology, ecology, and palaeontology who wish to focus on the study of animals in a human context.

What can it lead to?
The advanced skills and specialist knowledge gained on this course can provide the springboard for many varied careers or further study at PhD level. Previous graduates of the course have gone on to careers in museum services, universities, conservation organisations and commercial archaeology units around the world.

Careers

By the end of the MSc Zooarchaeology course you will have:
-Gained a thorough grounding in all aspects of vertebrate zooarchaeology, including general aspects that are applicable to invertebrate zooarchaeology
-Experienced the processes of data collection, analysis and interpretation, both in principle and in practice
-Developed a range of analytical abilities by studying and undertaking quantitative analysis of zooarchaeological data
-Gained essential critical skills through reviewing and assessing published work from throughout the world, including hunter-gatherer and agrarian sites, and socially complex societies
-Studied the vertebrate skeleton, its evolutionary origins and its adaptations
-Identified and recorded archaeological bone assemblages
-Reviewed the field of taphonomy and the practical recognition of the taphonomic ‘imprint’
-Developed independent research skills by completing a dissertation project

Many our MSc Zooarchaeology postgraduates go on to conduct further research at PhD level. Others progress into careers with archaeological units, museum services, conservation bodies and a range of other organisations.

Here’s a selection of possible destinations and careers for students of this course:
-Academia
-Professional archaeologists – field and laboratory based
-Museum outreach programmes and the heritage sector
-University/research technicians
-Commercial laboratory technicians
-US graduate school programmes

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Human skeletal remains are the most direct evidence of past lifeways and their scientific investigation gives unique insights into human history. Read more

Human skeletal remains are the most direct evidence of past lifeways and their scientific investigation gives unique insights into human history. Bioarchaeology (the study of archaeological human remains) is an exciting field that draws on a variety of techniques, ranging from visual examination of the whole skeleton to the biomolecular analysis of small bone samples. Demographic shifts, environmental changes, migrations, the spread of diseases and the impact of violence and conflict all leave traces on the skeleton.

This MSc provides the skills required to understand skeletal biographies and interpret them in their cultural context at the individual and the population level. Combining theoretical learning with hands-on practice, we will provide you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills essential to your handling and analysis of specimens recovered from archaeological sites.

Programme structure

Throughout the programme, you’ll take part in lectures, seminars and practical work with archaeological skeletal assemblages and reference collections. Drawing on Edinburgh’s long history in the study of the human body, you will also have the opportunity to visit Surgeons’ Hall Museum and anatomy department, which provide unique collections of pathological and anatomical study specimens.

You will complete six compulsory courses and select one further option. You will be assessed through reports, lab exams, oral and poster presentations, and essays. You will also submit a dissertation on a research topic of your choosing. Past dissertations have ranged from experimental projects on violence in prehistory to dietary studies of Chalcolithic Turkey and considerations of disease and impairment in post-medieval England.

The compulsory courses on this programme are:

  • Human Musculo-Skeletal Anatomy
  • Analytical Methods in Human Osteology
  • Quantitative Methods and Reasoning in Archaeology
  • Skeletal Pathology
  • Bioarchaeological Analysis and Interpretation
  • Research Sources and Strategies in Bioarchaeology

Option courses change from year to year and those available when you start your studies may be different from those shown in the list:

  • Exploring the past with data science
  • Practical Zooarchaeology

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the programme, you will be able to:

  • identify and interpret human skeletal remains from archaeological sites
  • develop hypothesis testing skills
  • carry out relevant scientific analyses, often in cooperation with experts in other disciplines
  • engage in theoretical and methodological discussions relevant to osteoarchaeology
  • design research strategies based on transferable skills providing a basis for advanced studies (PhD and beyond)

Career opportunities

Examples of career paths available to archaeology graduates (although some may require additional training) include: higher education, heritage management and agencies, commercial archaeology, environmental assessment, teaching, tourism industry, broadcasting and the police.

An archaeology degree does not, of course, restrict you to a career in archaeology. The programme also equips you for advanced study.



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