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.
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:
On successful completion of the programme, you will be able to:
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.
MSc Forensic Anthropology is designed to enable graduate students to develop skills in a variety of areas, which concern the processing, analysis and identification of human remains. This postgraduate course provides intensive training in developmental anatomy and osteology, forensic anthropology methods and theory, forensic taphonomy in theory and practice, crime scene investigation and the law, research methods and expert witness and presentation skills. The course has a focus on both domestic forensic anthropology work (e.g. UK and US) and forensic anthropology in the context of international humanitarian work and international criminal investigation.
UCLan’s postgraduate Forensic Anthropology course is the only forensic anthropology/osteology MSc in the UK to be based within a dedicated forensics department with state-of-the-art Crime Scene Investigation practical labs as well as excellent resources in Forensic Biology and Chemistry.
We have a dedicated MSc Forensic Anthropology laboratory and radiography facilities with the full range of teaching casts as well as an extensive collection of experimentally induced projectile, blunt and sharp force trauma. We have an archaeological skeletal collection consisting of some 120 individuals from two sites, one late Medieval and one Victorian. UCLan’s TRACES facility for decomposition and taphonomic experimentation is located nearby and many students choose to conduct MSc dissertation research projects as part of the long term research agenda into estimating time since death. Staff members teaching the course are also active in research and consultancy.
Assessment is based on a combination of coursework and examination and includes an MSc dissertation project. Students are encouraged to present their research findings at international meetings.
Graduating from this course, you will be well placed to undertake further research at the doctoral level, take up jobs in forensic anthropology laboratories, or to participate in human remains excavations.