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Masters Degrees (Osteology)

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This course emphasises the study of archaeological human remains within their funerary context. It builds upon the School's extensive research in human osteology and palaeopathology and related research expertise in field archaeology, archaeozoology, molecular archaeology and archaeological biogeochemistry. Read more
This course emphasises the study of archaeological human remains within their funerary context.

It builds upon the School's extensive research in human osteology and palaeopathology and related research expertise in field archaeology, archaeozoology, molecular archaeology and archaeological biogeochemistry.

The course strongly emphasises the integration of biological and archaeological evidence to address problem-orientated research themes and the application of scientific methods to unravelling the human past.

It provides advanced instruction in the identification and analysis of human remains, the techniques and methods applied to understanding human skeletal morphological variation, and the means by which to assess pathological conditions affecting the skeleton.

The course can be used either as vocational training or, for the MSc, as a foundation from which to commence further research. The course 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.

For more information on the part time version of this course, please view this web-page: http://www.brad.ac.uk/study/courses/info/human-osteology-and-palaeopathology-msc-part-time

Professional Accreditation

The course provides access to our world renowned collection of reference material (The Bradford Human Remains Collection), hands-on experience in the School's laboratories, and a substantial individual research dissertation.

A part-time route is feasible, accumulating module credits over a period of study. Individual modules are available to candidates wishing to enhance their specialist knowledge in a particular area.

Modules

(C) = Core, (O) = Option
Semester 1 (60 Credits - 4 x (C) Modules):
-Analysis of Human Remains (20 Credits) (C)
-Archaeozoology (10 Credits) (C)
-Quantitative Methods (10 Credits) (C)
-Musculoskeletal Anatomy (20 Credits) (C)

Semester 2 (60 Credits - 2 x (C) Modules and 20 Credits from the (O) Modules listed):
-Palaeopathology (30 Credits) (C)
-Research Skills (10 Credits) (C)
-Funerary Archaeology (10 Credits) (O)
-Stable Light Isotope Analysis (10 Credits) (O)
-Topics in Archaeometry (10 Credits) (O)

Career support and prospects

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.

Career destinations after the MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology have included:
-Lecturers, teaching assistants and post-doctoral researchers at universities in the UK and overseas
-Osteologists and archaeologists working in commercial archaeology
-Research, curatorial and education staff in museums
-Other professional careers

The MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology has also produced a large number of doctoral research students. They have undertaken research in Bradford and at other universities in the UK and overseas, including Ireland, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.

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This course emphasises the study of archaeological human remains within their funerary context. It builds upon the School's extensive research in human osteology and palaeopathology and related research expertise in field archaeology, archaeozoology, molecular archaeology and archaeological biogeochemistry. Read more
This course emphasises the study of archaeological human remains within their funerary context.

It builds upon the School's extensive research in human osteology and palaeopathology and related research expertise in field archaeology, archaeozoology, molecular archaeology and archaeological biogeochemistry.

The course strongly emphasises the integration of biological and archaeological evidence to address problem-orientated research themes and the application of scientific methods to unravelling the human past.

It provides advanced instruction in the identification and analysis of human remains, the techniques and methods applied to understanding human skeletal morphological variation, and the means by which to assess pathological conditions affecting the skeleton.

The course can be used either as vocational training or, for the MSc, as a foundation from which to commence further research. The course 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.

Professional Accreditation

-The course provides access to our world renowned collection of reference material (The Bradford Human Remains Collection), hands-on experience in the School's laboratories, and a substantial individual research dissertation.
-A part-time route is feasible, accumulating module credits over a period of study. Individual modules are available to candidates wishing to enhance their specialist knowledge in a particular area.

For more information on the part time version of this course, please view this web-page: http://www.brad.ac.uk/study/courses/info/human-osteology-and-palaeopathology-pgdip-part-time

Modules

(C) = Core, (O) = Option

Semester 1 (60 Credits - 4 x (C) Modules):
-Analysis of Human Remains (20 Credits) (C)
-Archaeozoology (10 Credits) (C)
-Quantitative Methods (10 Credits) (C)
-Musculoskeletal Anatomy (20 Credits) (C)

Semester 2 (60 Credits - 2 x (C) Modules and 20 Credits from the (O) Modules listed):
-Palaeopathology (30 Credits) (C)
-Research Skills (10 Credits) (C)
-Funerary Archaeology (10 Credits) (O)
-Stable Light Isotope Analysis (10 Credits) (O)
-Topics in Archaeometry (10 Credits) (O)

Career support and prospects

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.

Career destinations after the MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology have included:
-Lecturers, teaching assistants and post-doctoral researchers at universities in the UK and overseas
-Osteologists and archaeologists working in commercial archaeology
-Research, curatorial and education staff in museums
-Other professional careers

The MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology has also produced a large number of doctoral research students. They have undertaken research in Bradford and at other universities in the UK and overseas, including Ireland, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.

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Sheffield’s MSc in Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology has offered advanced training in the study of archaeological human bones for 25 years. Read more

About the course

Sheffield’s MSc in Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology has offered advanced training in the study of archaeological human bones for 25 years. This programme will provide you with both the technical skills and knowledge required to undertake analysis of archaeological human remains, and the cultural understanding of funerary practices needed to situate your findings within a broader archaeological and historical context, providing you with the tools to write human history from human remains.

Your future

Each of our masters courses is designed to equip you with valuable employment skills and prepare you for your future career. If you’re seeking to move into an archaeology-related field from a different academic or employment background, our courses and supportive staff will help you to realise your ambitions and develop professionally.

Graduates from our MA and MSc courses successfully compete for some of the most sought-after archaeological posts in the world. Our courses help students to develop essential transferable skills, and upon graduation they are also in demand by a wide variety of employers outside of the sector.Many of our graduates decide to continue their studies, carrying out doctoral research in their chosen specialist field, equipped with a solid theoretical and practical grounding from which to develop their research.

World-leading expertise

The character and strength of research carried out by Sheffield’s Archaeology department is captured under the following broad themes. These reflect the range of our research and its cross-disciplinary, embedded nature:

Funerary Archaeology
Landscape Archaeology
Bioarchaeology
Medieval Archaeology
Cultural Materials
Mediterranean Archaeology

Specialist facilities

The Archaeology department is situated on the edge of the main campus, near to Sheffield’s city centre. The department houses world-class reference collections and facilities to support teaching, learning and research in a range of archaeological disciplines. Facilities include specialist lab space dedicated to teaching and research, dedicated study spaces, and a student common room.

Fieldwork opportunities

We offer you the opportunity to get involved in our research projects in the UK, Europe and further afield.

How we will teach and assess you

Our students come from all around the world and the content of our courses reflects this. You can expect a balanced timetable of lectures, seminars and practicals. Many of our masters courses also include a fieldwork or project work component. Our teaching staff are leading scholars in their field. Through their research and field projects they are active in generating new knowledge that feeds directly into their teaching.

Funding, scholarships and bursaries

If you accept a place on one of our courses, you may be eligible to apply for WRoCAH and University of Sheffield studentships. There are also a number of departmental and programme-specific scholarships available each year. See our website for details.

Core modules

Funerary Archaeology; Quantitative Methods in Anthropology and Archaeology; Research Design: planning, execution and presentation; Biological Anthropology I; Biological Anthropology II; Human Anatomy; Human Osteology; Dissertation.

Indicative optional modules

A 15 credit module can be selected from a range across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

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This new MSc programme equips you with the ability to excavate and analyse human remains. Learn the practical skills needed to recover human remains in the field. Read more
This new MSc programme equips you with the ability to excavate and analyse human remains.

Learn the practical skills needed to recover human remains in the field. Gain the theoretical knowledge needed to reconstruct biological profiles from hard tissue, supported by laboratory based training.

You learn from a team of internationally respected academics with extensive professional experience. You have the opportunity to access one of the largest human skeletal collections in the UK, with extensive skeletal pathology and accompanying radiographs. The collection is curated by the Skeletal Biology Research Centre, in the School's Human Osteology Research Laboratory.

The programme is suited for students from a wide range of BA and BSc backgrounds. This MSc will provide a firm foundation for continued work, or PhD research, in anthropology, archaeology and related forensic fields.

For more information about this new MSc programme please contact the programme director Dr Chris Deter:

About the School of Anthropology and Conservation

With specialisation in forensics and paleopathology, osteology, evolutionary psychology and the evolutionary ecology and behaviour of great apes Kent is one of the largest institutions for biological anthropolgy. The School also houses the Skeletal Biology Research Centre (SBRC) which brings together innovative research, novel methodologies and international collaborations. Kent Osteological Research and Analysis (KORA) is an enterprise unit based within SBRC offers osteological analyses of human skeletal remains.

Kent has pioneered the social anthropological study of Europe, Latin America, Melanesia, and Central and Southeast Asia, the use of computers in anthropological research, and environmental anthropology in its widest sense (including ethnobiology and ethnobotany). We maintain an active research culture, with staff working in many different parts of the world.

Our regional expertise covers Europe, the Middle East, Central, Southeast and Southern Asia, Central and South America, Amazonia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Polynesia.

Careers

Higher degrees in forensic anthropology create opportunities in many employment sectors including academia, archaeology, police sector, the civil service and non-governmental organizations through work in areas such as human rights. A forensic anthropology degree also develops interpersonal and intercultural skills, which make our graduates highly desirable in any profession that involves working with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

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This one-year degree is designed for students who already hold a first degree (BA or BSc) in Forensic Anthropology or a related subject, and is intended to provide advanced training in subject areas which are germane to current professional requirements, but which are not available collectively at any other institution in the world. Read more
This one-year degree is designed for students who already hold a first degree (BA or BSc) in Forensic Anthropology or a related subject, and is intended to provide advanced training in subject areas which are germane to current professional requirements, but which are not available collectively at any other institution in the world.

Why study Anatomy & Advanced Forensic Anthropology at Dundee?

Forensic anthropology is the analysis of human remains for the medico-legal purpose of establishing identity. The discipline has adopted a pivotal role in UK and International investigations in cases of inter-personal violence and homicide, repatriation, mass disasters and war crimes.

Recent mass fatality incidents have highlighted the requirement for national and international disaster victim identification (DVI) capability, and cemented the forensic anthropologist’s role as a significant component within the multi-disciplinary response facility.

Traditionally the forensic anthropologist has dealt with human skeletal remains resulting from unexplained deaths; this professional definition is unrealistically restrictive given the multi-disciplinary nature of the demands of human identification in the twenty-first century. In particular there is a significant requirement for anatomically-trained forensic anthropologists who are competent in dealing with both soft and hard tissues in order to fulfil the requirements of DVI deployment.

Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification

This course is taught within the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identfication (CAHID) and is located in the Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Dundee, Scotland.

Prof Sue Black heads the Centre, she was awarded an OBE for her International Human Identification work from mass graves and co-authored Developmental Juvenile Osteology and The Juvenile Skeleton.

The award-winning staff of this Centre are amongst the most experienced in the UK in the fields of human identification, forensic anthropology, craniofacial identification and the study of the human body.

The core remit of the Centre is the study of anatomy. The Centre delivers high quality anatomy teaching at all levels, via whole body dissection which allows students to develop a sound knowledge of the human body. The Centre relies on the generosity of donors for the ability to teach students to the highest standard possible.

The Centre was awarded a prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in November 2013. Presented in recognition of 'world class excellence', the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are among the

Aims of the Programme

The aim of this programme is to provide training in anatomically-based forensic anthropology, and specifically to provide advanced training in musculoskeletal anatomy, juvenile osteology, comparative forensic osteology and DVI training.

What you will study

Course Structure:
This is a one year full time taught Masters programme in which all modules are compulsory. The research dissertation can be in the form of original laboratory research in an area pertinent to anatomy and forensic anthropology.

Human Gross Anatomy (Semesters 1 & 2):
Provides the opportunity to conduct whole body dissection, with particular emphasis on functional and musculoskeletal anatomy
Exposure to human form and function with direct relevance to the identification process
Only institution in the UK offering the opportunity to dissect cadavers which have been embalmed using the Thiel soft-fix method, which provides life-like preservation of the soft tissues.

Developmental Juvenile Osteology (Semester 1):
Focuses on the development of the human juvenile skeleton as a means to understanding adult skeletal form
Through practical examination, each bone of the body will be studied from its embryological origin, through key developmental milestones, until the attainment of its adult form
Practical sessions will focus on the unique Scheuer collection of juvenile skeletal remains.
Forensic Anthropology as Expert Evidence

Covering the more specialised skills including forensic anatomy, trauma analysis and age estimation in the living this module will cover the skills required to present your analyses in a court of law.

Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) training (Semesters 1 & 2):
Provides a thorough understanding of the DVI process in the UK and abroad
Developed by experienced practitioners, it is based on the National DVI Training course for the UK DVI team
Delivers a robust theoretical underpinning for anyone undertaking DVI work on a practical basis.

MSc Research Project (Semester 3):
Students will undertake an advanced level practical project supervised by a research-active practitioner
CAHID staff have significant experience in many areas of forensic human identification, including juvenile osteology, facial anthropology, facial reconstruction, age assessment in the living and dead, analysis of sexual dimorphism and ancestry, soft tissue biometric systems, human provenance, skeletal pathology and trauma, and virtual anthropology

How you will be assessed

A variety of assessment methods will be employed including practical spot exams, online assessment and traditional essay based examination.

Careers

There is a significant requirement for anatomically-trained forensic anthropologists who are competent in dealing with both soft and hard tissues in order to fulfill the requirements of DVI deployment. This degree will train individuals to be competent in specialist areas of anatomy and forensic anthropology.

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What does it mean to be human? What are the origins of our species? Archaeological and palaeontological discoveries help us answer these fundamental questions and provide insights into human cognition, behaviour and life ways. Read more
What does it mean to be human? What are the origins of our species? Archaeological and palaeontological discoveries help us answer these fundamental questions and provide insights into human cognition, behaviour and life ways.

On this course you'll study human evolution by evaluating the ultimate source of information – the fossil record.

We'll teach you to think critically and train you in the analytical techniques required to describe and interpret the fossil evidence for early hominid and human evolution.

Our approach is both science- and humanities-based. You'll explore themes such as the evolution of bipedalism, cognition and the origins of modernity, providing you with a unique combination of biological anthropology, human and comparative anatomy, primatology and hominid palaeontology.

The course also offers an introduction to the use of innovative technologies for 2D and 3D imaging of skeletal and fossil materials in palaeoanthropological research. It's designed to appeal to those who want to create a strong platform for doctoral research in palaeoanthropology, as well as those who just want to deepen their understanding of our extinct ancestors.

You'll get unlimited access to excellent lab facilities and extensive collections of skeletons and replica casts of modern humans, primates and fossil hominins. A wide range of up-to-date resources are available in the department's palaeoanthropology and osteology teaching laboratories.

Core modules

The programme offers a range of closely integrated core modules in human anatomy and comparative osteology which enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the palaeoanthropological record.

Human Evolution: Theory & Practice in Research
Quantitative methods in anthropology and archaeology
Research design: planning, execution and presentation
Human anatomy
Human osteology
Evolutionary anatomy
Dissertation in Palaeoanthropology
Optional modules

Optional modules are available in philosophy, linguistics and other topics. Examples include:

Archaeobotany
Archaeozoology

If you study part-time, you'll take two 15-credit modules in each semester during Year 1 and Year 2, and either a dissertation or placement module over the summer of Year 2. We arrange for you to attend two days a week but we try to be as flexible as possible.

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Bioarchaeology is an exciting and fast-advancing field which combines archaeology with branches of the natural sciences to study key topics such as past health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and environmental impacts. Read more
Bioarchaeology is an exciting and fast-advancing field which combines archaeology with branches of the natural sciences to study key topics such as past health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and environmental impacts.

The MSc in Bioarchaeology aims to develop a broad understanding of these issues through the study of human remains. Students on this programme will also have the opportunity to study animal remains, as well as floral and faunal evidence.

The programme develops advanced practical skills in skeletal analysis, making use of the department’s well-provisioned specialist laboratories and reference collections. A particular strength of our provision is that we are able to address the bioarchaeology of both the New and Old Worlds. Those completing the Course acquire the skills necessary to continue into academic research or employment, as an osteologist in field units, museums or Cultural Resources Managament companies.

The programme allows you to specialise in one of two named pathways: Human Osteoarchaeology (physical anthropology and funerary archaeology) or Zooarchaeology (animal bones and other faunal remains).

Learning and teaching

Most of the formal classes that you attend will be based on a mixture of lectures, seminars, and workshops. The precise mix will vary between modules. These aim to outline the principal issues of the module, to explore some detailed issues, and, where relevant, to give you experience of working with a particular technique or data set.
All members of staff are actively engaged in research, both in Britain and abroad, and regularly attend conferences, symposia and workshops. It is through this active engagement in the discipline that we are able to supply top quality teaching by experts in their field and as a result we have a 24/24 grading for our teaching from the Quality Assurance Agency.
In addition to our established palaeobotany, experimental archaeology, and microscopy laboratories, we have a new bioarchaeology lab dedicated to the study of anatomical variation, palaeopathological conditions, and the funerary context of human and animal remains. The laboratory, accompanied by a designated store for the Department's collection of human remains, provides facilities for use by researchers and students for examining skeletal remains recovered from archaeological sites. Equipment includes anatomical casts and demographic reference standards used to determine the sex, age-at-death, stature and body proportions from human remains.

Research areas

Bioarchaeological research at Exeter combines the study of archaeology with branches of the natural and physical sciences to address questions of health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and natural and human-induced environmental impacts in the past.

Our approach is holistic and inter-disciplinary, drawing its inspiration from both definitions of ‘bioarchaeology’: as a study applied to human remains (human osteoarchaeology) and, as originally defined by Grahame Clark, as related to the integration of environmental archaeology, floral and faunal evidence – archaeobotany and zooarchaeology – in archaeological research.
Active field research programmes in North and South America and Eurasia link with extensive laboratory research to address questions of social structure and social organisation, the process of animal and plant domestication, the development of social inequality and power relations, violence and warfare, the rise of élites and craft specialists, and division of labour.

Programme Structure

This programme includes 135 credits of compulsory modules and 45 credits of optional modules.

Pathways

The two available pathways are; Human Osteology (http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/archaeology/bioarch/humanosteology/) and Zooarchaeology
(http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/archaeology/bioarch/zooarchaeology/)

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules for each of the pathways can include the following; Research Methods and Archaeological Theory; Musculo-skeletal Anatomy; Advanced Zooarchaeology; Advanced Human Osteology; Zooarchaeology (Masters level); Bioarchaeology Dissertation and Bioarchaeology Dissertation Zooarchaeology.

Optional modules

The following is a list of the possible optional modules; Advanced Project; Experimental Archaeology in Practice; Field Study; Landscape Archaeology: Understanding the historic environment; Material Culture; Advanced Human Osteology; ;Zooarchaeology (Masters level); Palaeobotany (Masters level); Funerary Osteoarchaeology (Masters level); Musculo-skeletal Anatomy and Researching the Historic Environment Online.

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand

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The MSc Forensic Anthropology is designed to equip students with the skills necessary for the analysis and identification of human skeletal remains. Read more
The MSc Forensic Anthropology is designed to equip students with the skills necessary for the analysis and identification of human skeletal remains. The one-year degree is uniquely designed for students who already hold a degree in a relevant biomedical science and wish to pursue further study in Forensic Anthropology.

Why study Forensic Anthropology at Dundee?

Forensic anthropology is the analysis of human remains for the medico-legal purpose of establishing identity. The discipline has adopted a pivotal role in UK and International investigations in cases of inter-personal violence and homicide, repatriation, mass disasters and war crimes.

Our course provides you with training in dedicated laboratory areas with exclusive access to the unique skeletal collections in the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identfication (CAHID). The programme offers a unique mix of theoretical subject matter combined with hands on practical experience which is delivered by case active academic staff who are world leaders in the field.

Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification

This course is taught within Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID). The award winning staff of CAHID are amongst the most experienced in the UK in the fields of human identification, forensic anthropology, cranio-facial reconstruction and the study of the human body. The Centre is regularly contacted for advice and input in high-profile forensic cases both at home and abroad. The cases in which staff have involvement are reflected in much of the research undertaken by the Centre, enabling it to maintain a high profile within the forensic community.

The Centre was awarded a prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in November 2013. Presented in recognition of 'world class excellence', the Queen's Anniversary Prizes are among the most highly-regarded awards for the UK's universities and colleges.

Top 10 reasons to study Forensic Anthropology at Dundee

Only institution in the UK to offer a career progression pathway in Forensic Anthropology
Opportunity to review forensic case work undertaken by CAHID staff
Teaching by world leading forensic practitioners
Access to several unique skeletal collections
Opportunity to act as an expert witness in simulated courtroom exercises
We teach and train towards RAI accreditation standards following the approved Forensic Anthropology curriculum
Multidisciplinary approach with excellent links across subject boundaries
Access to cases from CAHID's virtual anthropology communication service
Regular programme of seminars delivered by invited speakers from the UK and abroad
Diversity of career opportunities – our graduates work in a variety of related fields

Teaching & Assessment

This course is taught by a team based in the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID). Specialist teaching is undertaken by case-active forensic practitioners. The cases in which our staff have involvement are reflected in much of the research undertaken by the Centre, enabling it to maintain a high profile within the forensic community. In turn, this research feeds into our teaching.

The course starts in September each year and lasts for 12 months on a full time basis.

How you will be taught

The programme will be taught through a combination of face-to-face lectures and on-line learning resources as well as a large practical involving direct examination of the adult human skeleton.

Course Structure

This is a one year full time taught Masters programme in which all modules are compulsory. The research dissertation can be in the form of original laboratory research in an area pertinent to anatomy and forensic anthropology.

- Forensic Osteology (20 Credits)
- Peri and Post mortem processes (20 credits)
- Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) training (20 credits)
- Research Methods (20 credits)
- Forensic Human Identification (20 credits)
- Forensic Science and the Law (20 credits)
- Developmental Juvenile Osteology (20 credits)
- Research Project (60 credits)

How you will be assessed

Assessments will take the form of in-course essays, paper appraisal and presentation exercises in addition to final degree examinations and MSc research dissertation.

Careers

There is a significant requirement for anatomically-trained forensic anthropologists who are competent in dealing with both soft and hard tissues in order to fulfil the requirements of DVI deployment. This course will greatly increase the professional employment characteristics of any student undertaking it who seeks a career in forensic anthropology, forensic osteology or DVI.

Where are our graduates now?

Previous graduates in Forensic Anthropology have progressed to become teachers and researchers in the field with some going on to provide their skills and services on both the national and international forensic front.

Some of our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in biomedical research, scene of crime analysis, forensic science, human biology and osteological research.

Many have chosen to enter a degree in medicine or dentistry and have found that the skills they have acquired in Forensic Anthropology stand them in good stead, particularly with regards to radiology, paediatrics, gerontology and orthopaedics.

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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. You will complete six courses that are assessed through reports, lab exams, oral and poster presentations and essays.

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 the Anatomy Department, which provide unique collections of pathological and anatomical study specimens.

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 courses on this programme are:

  • Analytical Methods in Human Osteology
  • Bioarchaeological Interpretation
  • Human Musculoskeletal Anatomy
  • Practical Osteology
  • Research Sources and Strategies in Archaeology
  • Skeletal Pathology

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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Our Forensic Anthropology course is concerned with the application of biological anthropological techniques to the analysis of human skeletal remains within a legal context and provides a vital suite of expertise and skills that can be applied to answer both modern and archaeological questions. Read more
Our Forensic Anthropology course is concerned with the application of biological anthropological techniques to the analysis of human skeletal remains within a legal context and provides a vital suite of expertise and skills that can be applied to answer both modern and archaeological questions.

Specialist anthropological skills can contribute, not only to our understanding of the past, but also to the effective investigation of serious incidents in the modern world, particularly murder, genocide and human rights violations within the constraints of the criminal justice system. Such skills have also proved increasingly useful in recent years in the wake of mass disasters, both natural and man-made.

This course was previously called Forensic Osteology.

Core units:
Bodies of Evidence-Skeletal Changes Before & After Death
Crime Scene Management & Forensic Science
Human Functional Anatomy
Principles & Methods in Human Osteology
Professional Practice in Forensic Science
Research Project

Optional units (Choose 1):
Forensic Archaeology
Techniques of Archaeological Recovery & Recording

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Biological Anthropology is the study of evolution and variation in human populations and of the interactions between human biology and environment. Read more
Biological Anthropology is the study of evolution and variation in human populations and of the interactions between human biology and environment. This combines our international reputation for anthropology, archaeology and biology, specifically including studies in primatology, evolutionary anthropology, human osteology, zooarchaeology, but also (paeleo-) ecology and behaviour.

This exciting course gives a core grounding in human evolution, primate behaviour and ecology, the origins of human behaviour and how hominines adapted to their environment, as well as human and animal skeletal analysis. Ultimately this course offers a uniquely wide range of suitable project topics that can prepare you for a career in a variety of aligned fields.

Core units:

Human Evolution
Human Functional Anatomy
Primate Behaviour & Ecology
Principles & Methods in Zooarchaeology
Research Project

Optional units (choose one of):
Principles & Methods in Human Osteology
Techniques of Archaeological Recovery & Recording

And one of:
Archaeology of Human Remains
Bodies of Evidence - Skeletal Changes Before & After Death
Humans, Animals & Diet

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This programme combines the study of human and animal bones from archaeological sites, generally known as ‘human osteology’ and ‘zooarchaeology’ or ‘archaeozoology’. Read more

About the course

This programme combines the study of human and animal bones from archaeological sites, generally known as ‘human osteology’ and ‘zooarchaeology’ or ‘archaeozoology’. Teaching is centred on the explanation of methods and approaches that can be used to address many different types of archaeological questions, regardless of the period or geographic area. Students play an active part in the shaping of their own programme of study and have the opportunity to develop their own original research.

Your future

Each of our masters courses is designed to equip you with valuable employment skills and prepare you for your future career. If you’re seeking to move into an archaeology-related field from a different academic or employment background, our courses and supportive staff will help you to realise your ambitions and develop professionally.

Graduates from our MA and MSc courses successfully compete for some of the most sought-after archaeological posts in the world. Our courses help students to develop essential transferable skills, and upon graduation they are also in demand by a wide variety of employers outside of the sector.Many of our graduates decide to continue their studies, carrying out doctoral research in their chosen specialist field, equipped with a solid theoretical and practical grounding from which to develop their research.

World-leading expertise

The character and strength of research carried out by Sheffield’s Archaeology department is captured under the following broad themes. These reflect the range of our research and its cross-disciplinary, embedded nature:

Funerary Archaeology
Landscape Archaeology
Bioarchaeology
Medieval Archaeology
Cultural Materials
Mediterranean Archaeology

Specialist facilities

The Archaeology department is situated on the edge of the main campus, near to Sheffield’s city centre. The department houses world-class reference collections and facilities to support teaching, learning and research in a range of archaeological disciplines. Facilities include specialist lab space dedicated to teaching and research, dedicated study spaces, and a student common room.

Fieldwork opportunities

We offer you the opportunity to get involved in our research projects in the UK, Europe and further afield.

How we will teach and assess you

Our students come from all around the world and the content of our courses reflects this. You can expect a balanced timetable of lectures, seminars and practicals. Many of our masters courses also include a fieldwork or project work component. Our teaching staff are leading scholars in their field. Through their research and field projects they are active in generating new knowledge that feeds directly into their teaching.

Funding, scholarships and bursaries

If you accept a place on one of our courses, you may be eligible to apply for WRoCAH and University of Sheffield studentships. There are also a number of departmental and programme-specific scholarships available each year. See our website for details.

Core modules

Advanced Zooarchaeology; The History of the Human Animal Relationship; Zooarchaeological Assemblage Analysis; Archaeozoology; Biological Anthropology I; Biological Anthropology II; Human Osteology; Dissertation in either Human Osteoarchaeology or Zooarchaeology.

Indicative optional modules

A 15 credit module can be selected from a range across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

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This course provides postgraduate education in the discipline of Forensic Anthropology. This course provides intensive training in human osteology and the techniques used by Forensic Anthropologists to build osteological profiles of unknown skeletonised human remains. Read more
This course provides postgraduate education in the discipline of Forensic Anthropology. This course provides intensive training in human osteology and the techniques used by Forensic Anthropologists to build osteological profiles of unknown skeletonised human remains. The first half of the taught phase provides you with a solid foundation in the core skills of forensic science, such as crime scene examination and interpretation and presentation of evidence, using our crime scene facilities and real crime scene expertise and casework. The second half of the taught phase includes specialised modules on human osteology, and techniques of estimation of sex, age, stature and ethnic ancestry in skeletal remains, as well as distinguishing between animal and human bones. It also includes topics such as skeletal development, trauma and pathology; forensic taphonomy (decomposition and decay); and post-mortem interval estimation. The course is very practically and vocationally-focused, and provides hands-on experience of dealing with skeletonised and decomposed human (and animal) remains.

In the last third of the course, you are given the opportunity to pursue an original research project, on a topic provided by supervisors or of a relevant topic of your choice. This requires 50 days of laboratory work, and takes place in the summer term.

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This programme explores experimental archaeology's potential as a powerful research method, an effective educational tool and an excellent medium for public outreach. Read more
This programme explores experimental archaeology's potential as a powerful research method, an effective educational tool and an excellent medium for public outreach.

You will receive a sound practical and theoretical grounding in scientific use of experiments in archaeological research. The programme will give you practical experience of experiments related to archaeological and taphonomic processes and the production of a range of material culture types including ceramics, stone tools, metals and a range of organic materials.

The role of experiments and ‘reconstructions’ in education and public outreach is investigated through classes, practical activities, and field visits. Links with professionals, such as museums and independent establishments, provide opportunities for practical work based on a sound appreciation of theory.

The University has established an outdoor centre on its Streatham Campus to provide a location for both short- and long-term experimental archaeology research. The programmes involve practical work and field trips.

Programme Structure

The programme is divided into units of study(modules).

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules can include; Research Methods and Archaeological Theory; Experimental Archaeology; Material Culture and Dissertation

Optional modules

You can choose from a variety of modules on offer, some examples of these are; Advanced Project; Field Study; Landscape Archaeology: Understanding the historic environment; Advanced Human Osteology; Zooarchaeology and Funerary Osteoarchaeology.

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand

Learning and teaching

This programme involves a high degree of learning through practice and experiments. Most of the formal classes that you attend will be based on a mixture of lectures, seminars, and workshops. The precise mix will vary between modules.

All members of staff are actively engaged in research, both in Britain and abroad, and regularly attend conferences, symposia and workshops. It is through this active engagement in the discipline that we are able to supply top quality teaching by experts in their field and as a result we have a 24/24 grading for our teaching from the Quality Assurance Agency.

We have excellent facilities for experimental archaeology including:
• experimental archaeology lab - this flexible laboratory space is the epicentre of our students' experimental activity and is a hard- wearing practical space in which we can carry out the unusual projects that only experimental archaeologists can dream up!
• material stocks - including sinew, feathers, hides, bones, antlers, wood, different stone types and plant materials
• pottery and kiln room, where students can work with clay, equipped with a potter's wheel and a large programmable electric kiln that can reach 1300 degrees Celsius
• workshop equipped with all the tools necessary to prepare materials for experiments
• knapping area - an outdoor space reserved for flintknapping and other activities best done in the fresh air
• experimental land - a substantial area of land on campus for long-term outdoor experiments.

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Our MA in Aegean Archaeology offers a series of specialist modules on the archaeology of the Aegean and neighbouring regions, situated within a sophisticated and intellectually demanding theoretical context. Read more

About the course

Our MA in Aegean Archaeology offers a series of specialist modules on the archaeology of the Aegean and neighbouring regions, situated within a sophisticated and intellectually demanding theoretical context. We encourage a diachronic perspective and broad range of approaches and throughout the programme we will encourage and support you in the development of intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, problem-solving and independent judgement.

Your future

Each of our masters courses is designed to equip you with valuable employment skills and prepare you for your future career. If you’re seeking to move into an archaeology-related field from a different academic or employment background, our courses and supportive staff will help you to realise your ambitions and develop professionally.

Graduates from our MA and MSc courses successfully compete for some of the most sought-after archaeological posts in the world. Our courses help students to develop essential transferable skills, and upon graduation they are also in demand by a wide variety of employers outside of the sector.Many of our graduates decide to continue their studies, carrying out doctoral research in their chosen specialist field, equipped with a solid theoretical and practical grounding from which to develop their research.

World-leading expertise

The character and strength of research carried out by Sheffield’s Archaeology department is captured under the following broad themes. These reflect the range of our research and its cross-disciplinary, embedded nature:

Funerary Archaeology
Landscape Archaeology
Bioarchaeology
Medieval Archaeology
Cultural Materials
Mediterranean Archaeology

Specialist facilities

The Archaeology department is situated on the edge of the main campus, near to Sheffield’s city centre. The department houses world-class reference collections and facilities to support teaching, learning and research in a range of archaeological disciplines. Facilities include specialist lab space dedicated to teaching and research, dedicated study spaces, and a student common room.

Fieldwork opportunities

We offer you the opportunity to get involved in our research projects in the UK, Europe and further afield.

How we will teach and assess you

Our students come from all around the world and the content of our courses reflects this. You can expect a balanced timetable of lectures, seminars and practicals. Many of our masters courses also include a fieldwork or project work component. Our teaching staff are leading scholars in their field. Through their research and field projects they are active in generating new knowledge that feeds directly into their teaching.

Funding, scholarships and bursaries

If you accept a place on one of our courses, you may be eligible to apply for WRoCAH and University of Sheffield studentships. There are also a number of departmental and programme-specific scholarships available each year. See our website for details.

Core modules

Current Issues in Aegean Prehistory
Reinventing Archaeology
Research Design: Planning, Execution and Presentation
Dissertation

Indicative optional modules

Mediterranean Landscapes
Rethinking the Ancient Economy
Experimental Archaeology
The Archaeology of Cyprus
Introduction to Human Osteology
Ethnography in Archaeology: Materialising Culture: Agents, Things and Social Processes
Reconstructing Ancient Technologies: Ceramics
Archaeobotany
Archaeozoology

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