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.
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.
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).
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.
Please note that not all options run every year.
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
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.
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.
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.
The Research Master’s programme in Archaeology is the most diverse in the Netherlands. Benefit from our extensive experience and reputation in archaeological research.
Our research master's programme offers interesting regional and thematic specialisation possibilities. It stimulates extra-talented and motivated students by exposing them to cutting edge research and making them part of it.
The programme helps you to find your own place in the wide world of archaeological careers, and equips you with all the 21st century professional and transferable skills you need.
Our research facilities and labs, field schools and excavation projects, experimental archaeology projects and the national research schools (ARCHON, OIKOS) offer excellent opportunities for every prospective researcher.
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Fragments of a sabre-toothed cat skull where recenty excavated
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Students who choose the Bioarchaeology track receive a Master of Science degree in Archaeology. For the other research tracks you receive a Master of Arts degree in Archaeology.