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Course content

Through imaginative teaching and world-leading research, we inspire our students to explore.

Course description

Using a combination of established and cutting-edge methods, this course focuses on the study of bones from archaeological sites. You’ll get training in the analysis of both animal and human bones, but you may decide to specialise in one or the other. 

The course is taught through lectures, seminars and lab-based practicals. We use case studies from all over the world and we explore all phases of human history. You’ll have unlimited access to labs and some of the best collections of human and animal remains in the world.

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• The MSc Osteoarchaeology combines the study of human and animal bones from archaeological sites, using established as well as cutting-edge approaches. Students will be trained in both specialisms, but can decide to specialise in one of them. 

• It is an intensive 1-year (or 2-years part-time) post-graduate taught degree; through your dissertation you will have the opportunity to develop your own original research

• The teaching will consist of both lab-based practical sessions and theoretical lectures and seminars. 

World-wide case studies will be used and all phases of human history will be discussed.

• Students will join vibrant research teams in human osteology and zooarchaeology and will play an active part in the shaping of their own programmes of study. 

• Students will have unlimited access to excellent lab facilities and some of the best human and animal remain collections in the world.

• Due to the prominence of the Sheffield research environment, graduates from this programme will be in a prime position to develop further their professional careers.


Core modules

These compulsory modules will provide you with the key knowledge and understanding for research in osteoarchaeology.

*While some dissertation projects or work placements do not involve any additional cost to the student, you may incur some expenses depending on the location of your placement or if you choose a dissertation topic that is not resourced by the department. You will be expected to cover the cost of printing and binding two copies of your dissertation/placement report.

Optional modules

You will chose modules worth either 15 or 30 credits, which can also include modules up to the value of 15 credits in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Availability varies from year to year but the module list gives a flavour of the kind of specialised modules we will offer. Modules that you may find particularly relevant to your programme include:


You can expect a balanced timetable of lectures, seminars and practicals. You’ll have access to specialist labs and world-class reference collections. Many of our masters courses include a fieldwork or project-based component.

We integrate humanities and science-based approaches to nurture a deeper understanding. You’ll have the opportunity to explore different viewpoints and make up your own mind about their strengths and weaknesses.

We’ll help you to develop your critical thinking as well as your practical skills. What we ask of you, as a member of our lively academic community, is that you challenge, question, and explore.

Visit the MSc Osteoarchaeology page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!






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