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Course content

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.

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

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