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Masters Degrees (Palaeopathology)

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Palaeopathology is the study of past disease in human remains; it is a sub-discipline of bioarchaeology (study of human remains from archaeological sites). Read more

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.

Course Structure

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).

Core Modules

  • Research and Study Skills in Archaeological Science
  • Identification and Analysis of the Normal Human Skeleton
  • Palaeopathology: Theory and Method
  • Themes in Palaeopathology
  • Dissertation (double module).

Course Learning and Teaching

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.

Career Opportunities

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.



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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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Evolutionary Medicine is a growing and exciting new field that is highly interdisciplinary in nature. We currently offer the only MSc in Evolutionary… Read more

Evolutionary Medicine is a growing and exciting new field that is highly interdisciplinary in nature. We currently offer the only MSc in Evolutionary Medicine in the world, taught by a unique grouping of world-class researchers specialising in evolutionary approaches to the study of health and disease. A major theme of the course is the mismatch between the environment in which humans evolved and the contemporary environment, and implications for obesity and related metabolic disorders, reproductive health and infant care. Optional modules previously offered included palaeopathology and cultural evolution, and in the wider anthropology of health.

The full-time course runs for a full year, from October to September. Students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany), with further teaching and assessment in April and May (Easter Term), and then work, under the supervision of a specialist supervisor, to complete a dissertation in September. Students take three core taught modules, designed to provide a foundation in evolutionary theory, quantitative methods used in evolutionary medicine, and an introduction to evolutionary medicine. There is also a range of optional modules available to allow students to focus on areas of particular interest.

Each module we offer has a credit value. To obtain a Master’s degree you must register for and pass modules to the value of 180 credits. In recognition of the emphasis we place on independent research skills, the dissertation is a 60 credit module.

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation
  • Evolutionary Theory
  • Evolutionary and Ecological Topics in Medicine and Health
  • Statistical Analysis in Anthropology

Previous optional modules have included:

  • Academic and Professional Skills in Anthropology
  • Evolutionary Perspectives on Western Diseases
  • Public Health Anthropology
  • Anthropology of Global Health
  • Cultural Evolution
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Themes in Palaeopathology
  • Evolutionary Perspectives on Reproductive and Infant Health
  • Foreign language option.

Please see the website for further information on modules.

Course Learning and Teaching

Evolutionary Medicine is a growing and exciting new field that is highly interdisciplinary in nature. We offer the only MSc in Evolutionary Medicine in the world, taught by a unique group of world-class researchers specialising in evolutionary approaches to the study of health and disease. A major theme of the course is the mismatch between the environment in which humans evolved and the contemporary environment, and implications for obesity and related metabolic disorders, reproductive health and infant care. Optional courses are offered in palaeopathology and cultural evolution, and in the wider anthropology of health.

The course runs for a full year, from October to September. Students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany), with further teaching and assessment in April (Easter Term), and then work, under the supervision of a specialist supervisor, to complete a dissertation in September. Students take three core taught modules, designed to provide a foundation in evolutionary theory, quantitative methods used in evolutionary medicine, and an introduction to evolutionary medicine. There is also a range of optional modules available to allow students to focus on areas of particular interest.

Each module we offer has a credit value. To obtain a Master’s degree you must register for and pass modules to the value of 180 credits. In recognition of the emphasis we place on independent research skills, the dissertation is a 60 credit module.

Career Opportunities

Students with a postgraduate qualification in Anthropology pursue a diverse array of careers in areas such as conservation, tourism, public health, health research and management, captive primate care and zoological research management, local government research and management, education (secondary, further and higher), social care, social research, in addition to academia.



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This MSc provides students with a foundation in the analysis of human remains, both in archaeological and modern forensic settings. Read more

This MSc provides students with a foundation in the analysis of human remains, both in archaeological and modern forensic settings. With a solid grounding in skeletal and dental anatomy, students learn about morphological variation, development, methods for biological profiling, human disease and forensic approaches to trauma and taphonomy.

About this degree

Students will learn procedures for interpretation and analysis of human skeletal remains - considering both archaeological and modern forensic contexts. There is a unique opportunity to analyse recently excavated human remains, utilising methods and techniques learned during the programme. While the focus of this programme is primarily on modern humans, late Pleistocene hominids are also considered.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), one optional module (15 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

  • Dental Anthropology
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Methodology and Issues in Bioarchaeology and Palaeoepidemiology
  • Morphology and Palaeopathology of the Human Skeleton
  • Variation and Evolution of the Human Skull

Optional modules

Students choose one optional module from the following list or from the wider range of Master's optional modules available. Please note that some core modules are normally only available to those enrolled for the degree in question. If you wish to take a core module from another degree as an option certain restrictions may apply. Please consult the programme co-ordinator before choosing your optional module.

  • Advanced Forensic Anthropology
  • Archaeologies of the Modern World
  • Archaeology of Early Modern Humans
  • Forensic Geoscience (by arrangement with the Jill Dando Centre for Forensic Sciences)
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Human Evolution (by arrangement with the Department of Anthropology)
  • Palaeoanthropology (by arrangement with the Department of Anthropology)
  • Zooarchaeology in Practice
  • Other Master's options available at the Institute of Archaeology.

Please note that not all options run every year. 

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical classes. This MSc has strong links with the Forensic Archaeological Science MSc which gives individual programmes an interesting mix of participants and provides many opportunities for discussion. Assessment is through essays, class tests, reports and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Bioarchaeological and Forensic Anthropology MSc

Careers

Some graduates of the programme go on to PhD studies, while others go on to work in a range of archaeological and non-archaeological roles as osteoarchaeological specialists, members of the police, curators and political researchers.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse archaeology department in the UK, offering students a range of opportunities.

This particular MSc is unique, offering a combination of bioarchaeological and forensic principles for the study of human remains unlike anything else available in the UK. Students further benefit from access to a large collection of skeletal material for study, including dental and palaeopathology reference collections. Access to sophisticated equipment and techniques (laser scanner, SEM, thin sectioning, CT) is also available.

Some lectures will take place at the Royal College of Surgeons and students have access to their teaching collections and museums, including the Wellcome Museum of Anatomy and Pathology.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology

73% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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The MSc in Archaeological Science is designed to provide a broad theoretical and practical understanding of current issues and the techniques archaeologists use to investigate the human past. Read more
The MSc in Archaeological Science is designed to provide a broad theoretical and practical understanding of current issues and the techniques archaeologists use to investigate the human past. Its purpose is to provide a pathway for archaeologists or graduates of other scientific disciplines to either professional posts or doctoral research in archaeological science. It focuses particularly on the organic remains of humans, animals and plants which is a rapidly developing and exciting field of archaeometry. Major global themes such as animal and plant domestication and human migration and diet will be explored integrating evidence from a range of sub-disciplines in environmental and biomolecular archaeology Students taking this course will study and work in a range of environmental, DNA, isotope and dating laboratories alongside expert academic staff.

The aim of this programme is to equip students to:
-Devise and carry out in-depth study in archaeological science
-Analyse and interpret results
-Communicate scientific results to a variety of audiences
-Develop the inter-disciplinary skills (cultural and scientific) to work effectively in archaeology

Students will gain a critical understanding of the application of scientific techniques to our study of the human past, and receive intensive training in a specific area of archaeological science. Students will examine the theory underpinning a range of scientific techniques, as well as the current archaeological context in which they are applied and interpreted. This will be achieved through a broad archaeological framework which will educate students to reconcile the underlying constraints of analytical science with the concept-based approach of cultural archaeology. Students will therefore examine both theoretical and practical approaches to particular problems, and to the choice of suitable techniques to address them. They will learn how to assess the uncertainties of their conclusions, and to acknowledge the probable need for future reinterpretations as the methods develop. Following training in one specific archaeological science area of their choice, students will be expected to demonstrate that they can combine a broad contextual and theoretical knowledge of archaeology with their detailed understanding of the methods in their chosen area, through an original research dissertation.

Course Structure

The course consists of four taught modules of 30 credits each and a 60 credit research dissertation. Students will study two core modules in Term 1 and two elective modules in Term1/2 followed by a research dissertation.
Core Modules:
-Research and Study Skills in Archaeological Science
-Topics in Archaeological Science
-Research Dissertation

Optional Modules:
In previous years, optional modules available included:
-Themes in Palaeopathology
-Plants and People
-Animals and People
-Chronometry
-Isotope and Molecular Archaeology
-Practical Guided Study

Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops and practical classes. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among archaeologists in a specific area or on a particular theme. Seminars and tutorials then provide opportunities for smaller groups of student-led discussion and debate of particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that they have gained through their lectures and through independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours.

Practical classes and workshops allow students to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Archaeological Science with guidance from experienced and qualified scientists in Archaeology. Finally, independent supervised study enables students to develop and undertake a research project to an advanced level. Throughout the programme emphasis is placed on working independently outside the contact hours, in order to synthesise large datasets and to develop critical and analytical skills to an advanced level.

The balance of activities changes over the course of the programme, as students develop their knowledge and the ability as independent learners and researchers. In Terms 1 and 2 the emphasis is upon students acquiring the generic, practical skills and knowledge that archaeological scientists need to undertake scientific study in archaeology whilst examining and debating relevant archaeological theory and the 'big questions' to which scientific methods are applied. They also study a choice of specific areas creating their individual research profile and interests.

Students typically attend three hours a week of lectures, and two one hour seminars or tutorials each week. In addition, they may be required to attend three-four hours a week of workshops or practicals based on lectures. The practical work complements desk-based analytical skills which are intended to develop skills applicable within and outside the field of archaeology. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to undertake their own independent study to prepare effectively for their classes, focus their subject knowledge and develop a research agenda.

The balance shifts into Term 3, as students develop their abilities as independent researchers with a dissertation. The lectures and practicals already attended have introduced them to and given them the chance to practice archaeology research methods within specific fields of study. Students have also engaged with academic issues, archaeological datasets and their interpretation which are at the forefront of archaeological research. The dissertation is regarded as the cap-stone of the taught programme and an indicator of advanced research potential, which could be developed further in a professional or academic field. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom they will typically have ten one-hour supervisory meetings, students undertake a detailed study of a particular theme or area resulting in a significant piece of independent research. They also interact with scientific lab staff as they carry out their research.

Throughout the programme, all students also have access to an academic adviser who will provide them with academic support and guidance. Typically a student will meet with 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..

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COURSE OVERVIEW. Combine theoretical knowledge and practical experience. Access a range of skeletal collections. Research the human bioarchaeological topic of your choice. Read more

COURSE OVERVIEW

  • Combine theoretical knowledge and practical experience
  • Access a range of skeletal collections
  • Research the human bioarchaeological topic of your choice

If there’s a human bioarchaeological research topic which you’d to follow to PhD, but you need to acquire new research skills or hone existing ones, this course is for you. It’s also suitable if you are already working in the archaeology, heritage or environment sector and would like to enhance your research experience.

Human Bioarchaeology at Winchester offers you an intensive research training programme with a high level of supervisorial contact. Examine approaches and methodologies, theoretical underpinnings and practical applications in archaeological research, with some modules focusing on the practical and theoretical aspects specific to Human Bioarchaeology. Through lectures, laboratory practicals, seminars and workshops you have opportunities to explore and discuss your experiences.

Departmental staff have particular expertise and access to skeletal collections relevant to research in The Roman Period, The Early and Later Medieval Periods, Medieval Hospitals, Leprosy in the Medieval Period, Skeletal Trauma, Deviant Burials, Commingled and Disarticulated Remains, and Cremated Remains.

You complete modules in Research Methods and Skills, Analysing and Presenting Archaeological Data, Human Skeletal Anatomy and Fundamentals of Skeletal Analysis and Palaeopathology. There is also a module that takes the you through the process of producing an academic standard research paper. You then apply your research skills in the production of a substantive piece of research of 20,000 to 25,000 words on a human bioarchaeological topic of your choice, supervised by a member of staff with relevant research interests.

MRes Human Bioarchaeology is a useful basis for an advanced career within archaeology or a related discipline, or as preparation for undertaking an MPhil or PhD.

Careers

MRes Human Bioarchaeology acts as a basis for an advanced career within archaeology, or related discipline, or as preparation for undertaking an MPhil or PhD.

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Learning and teaching

Modes of teaching include lectures, laboratory practicals, seminars and workshops. Attendance at departmental/research centre seminars enables students to share their experiences.

Location

King Alfred or West Downs, University of Winchester

Assessment

Assessment is by means of a series of essays, reports, exams and a blog/diary. One module takes the student through the process of producing an academic standard research paper. Students apply the research skills developed in the production of a substantive piece of research of 20,000-25,000 words on a Human Bioarchaeological topic of their choice, supervised by a member of staff with relevant research interests.

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Feedback

We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.

PgDip/PgCert

Please note the Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate exit qualifications have a different title to reflect the research element: PgDip Human Bioarchaeological Research and PgCert Human Bioarchaeological Research.



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COURSE OVERVIEW. Access to collections in the Novium Collections at Fishbourne and the holdings of the Hampshire Cultural Trust. Wide range of research options. Read more

COURSE OVERVIEW

  • Access to collections in the Novium Collections at Fishbourne and the holdings of the Hampshire Cultural Trust
  • Wide range of research options
  • Opportunity to take a work placement

Human Osteology and Funerary Studies at Winchester gives you the opportunity to study the practical and theoretical aspects of human remains and funerary studies in archaeology, and what they tell us about the life, health and death of past populations. The course includes taught components on a wide range of practical and theoretical aspects of the study of human remains in archaeology, with some modules focusing on the study of funerary beliefs and rituals throughout prehistory and history.

You study and undertake research from a particular archaeological period or geographical area, such as The Palaeolithic of Western Europe, The Roman Period, The Post-Medieval Period in Europe, or North America and the Caribbean. The practical teaching on the course uses skeletons from the St Mary Magdalen Leprosy Hospital, curated in the Department of Archaeology.

You complete core modules in Human Skeletal Anatomy and Fundamentals of Skeletal Analysis, Palaeopathology, Concepts of Funerary Archaeology, and Funerary Studies, along with Research Methods and Skills, which is designed to help you complete your final dissertation.

The dissertation allows you to apply your knowledge and research skills in the production of a substantive piece of research of 15,000 words on a relevant topic of your choice, supervised by a member of staff with relevant research interests. Departmental staff have expertise in themes and approaches including Medieval Hospitals, Leprosy in the Medieval Period, Skeletal Trauma, Deviant Burials, Disability in Prehistory, Commingled and Disarticulated Remains and Cremated Remains.

Collections available for dissertations include material in the Novium Collections at Fishbourne and the extensive holdings of the Hampshire Cultural Trust. You also choose a module from a wide range of options including Issues in Global Cultural Heritage, Byzantium and Beyond, The Archaeology of Africa, and The Archaeology of Buddhism.

MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Studies acts as a basis for a career within archaeology or a related discipline, or as preparation for undertaking an MRes, MPhil or PhD.

Careers

MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Studies acts as a basis for a career within archaeology, or related discipline, or as preparation for undertaking an MRes, MPhil or PhD.

Subject to Validation/ReValidation

*subject to validation

'Validation' is the process by which the University approves a new programme to ensure that it provides a distinct, high quality academic experience for students, that enables them to acquire the necessary academic knowledge, understanding, general and subject-specific skills required to pursue a graduate level career. In the unlikely event that a programme is not validated then we will do our best to find you an alternative programme within the University.

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Learning and teaching

The course is taught through a combination of lectures, presentations and practical laboratory sessions, and attendance at departmental/research centre seminars enables students to share their experiences.

Collections available for dissertations include material in the Novium Collections at Fishbourne and the extensive holdings of the Hampshire Cultural Trust.

Location

Taught elements of the course take place on our King Alfred Campus (Winchester) or at our West Downs Campus (Winchester)

Assessment

Assessment is by means of a series of essays, reports and exams. The dissertation module allows students to apply the knowledge and research skills developed in the production of a substantive piece of research of 15,000 words on a Human Osteology and/or Funerary Studies topic of their choice, supervised by a member of staff with relevant research interests.

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Feedback

We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.



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This programme is a pathways-based MSc degree, with a strong emphasis on the development of skills and specialism in Bioarcheology, including opportunities to gain experience with both human and zooarchaeological remains. Read more

This programme is a pathways-based MSc degree, with a strong emphasis on the development of skills and specialism in Bioarcheology, including opportunities to gain experience with both human and zooarchaeological remains.

Students will acquire expertise in the anatomy of humans and animals, bone identification, sexing, ageing, health and disease, paleopathology, growth, diet, death and burial, and ethics. They will learn how to consider issues such as status, ethnicity, social identity, disability, migration and domestication thorough skeletal material and mortuary contexts.

The programme has a strong practical component. Students have full and unlimited access to the large human skeletal collection held in purpose-built facilities in the Department of Archaeology, including Bronze Age, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and medieval skeletons, as well as one of the largest faunal comparative collections in the UK, including fish and birds. Practical work further includes opportunities to work with isotopes for analysis of diet and migration in our isotope preparation lab, with analysis undertaken at National Oceanography Center, part of University of Southampton. State-of-the-art imaging is available at University of Southampton MuVIS Imaging Centre where students can access a full scanning, imaging and micro-CT suite through Archaeology’s collaboration with Bioengineering. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and 3-D printing facilities are also available. In addition, students engage with the latest developments in molecular techniques that can be applied to osteological material.

Bioarchaeology at University of Southampton has close links and collaboration with Anatomy through the Centre for Learning Anatomical Sciences and with Historic England. It is a global leader in research with projects across the globe including Spain, Romania, Croatia, Sudan, Egypt, USA, Canada, Denmark, UK and students frequently participate in these. Staff are actively involved in the following journals and organisations: Bioarchaeology International, Paleopathology Association, British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO), and American Journal of Physical Anthropology (AJPA)

Overview

You will engage with hands-on, real-world archaeological materials and situations, including opportunities to collaborate with a range of stakeholders and partners in the archaeological sector through a professional placement. By these means you will acquire skills for vocational employment or subsequent PhD research. Your programme will be embedded within Southampton Archaeology’s distinctive research culture, with world-class expertise, diverse practice, and contacts with the commercial environment and the heritage sector.

The specialism in Bioarchaeology includes elements that familiarise you with human skeletal biology; key research questions in, and approaches to, bioarchaeology; palaeopathology and disease; the archaeology and anthropology of death; and zooarchaeology. This pathway provides a springboard towards further research or a career in the commercial sector. 

Important aspects of the programme are available across all specialisms. These include the compulsory dissertation module, which should focus on an area of your specialism, if you have chosen one. Furthermore, modules from each pathway are open to you as options, regardless of your chosen specialism. By these means you will be able to build a personalised and flexible programme tailored to your needs. 

This programme includes opportunities for credit-bearing placements within organisations involved in commercial archaeology, heritage management, fieldwork projects and/or museums. The placements are typically organised by the University, and may be available to students following all specialisms, or crossing between them.

View the programme specification document for this course



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