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MSc Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology

Course Description

Forensic archaeology is the application of archaeological skills to the location and recovery of human remains and forensic evidence. Forensic anthropology is the analysis of human remains for the medico-legal purpose of establishing identity.

Our MSc Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology course provides students with training in both disciplines in dedicated laboratory areas. You will have exclusive access to the unique skeletal collections in the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID).

You will develop the skills and knowledge required by those who undertake searches for missing people and will be involved in the recovery of remains from clandestine burials. You will also gain the skills required to present evidence as an expert witness in court.

What's so good about this course at Dundee?

Our staff are amongst the most experienced in the UK in the fields of human identification, forensic anthropology, forensic archaeology cranio-facial reconstruction and the study of the human body. We are regularly contacted for advice and input in high-profile forensic cases both at home and abroad. Staff are able to bring this experience into their teaching.

Our students and staff are also involved in forensic research which is informed by casework and is thus relevant and current to modern practice.

Our student feedback reflects the outstanding facilities and teaching collections that are available to support their learning experience.

You will be supervised by a research active member of staff and have the opportunity to pursue an area of research that is of specific interest to you.

Top 10 reasons to study Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Dundee

1 - Only institution in the UK to offer a career progression pathway in Forensic Anthropology
2 - Opportunity to review forensic case work undertaken by CAHID staff
3 - Teaching by world leading forensic practitioners
4 - Access to several unique skeletal collections
5 - Opportunity to act as an expert witness in simulated courtroom exercises
6 - We teach and train towards both the standards set by the RAI accreditation standards following the approved Forensic Anthropology curriculum
7 - Multidisciplinary approach with excellent links across subject boundaries
8 - Access to cases from CAHID's virtual anthropology communication service
9 -Regular programme of seminars delivered by invited speakers from the UK and abroad
10 - Diversity of career opportunities – our graduates work in a variety of related fields

Teaching & Assessment

- How you will be taught

Content delivery will be by a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practical based work, both in the lab and externally. All of the subjects taught have a practical component and the ability to apply theory to practice has always been a strong tradition for all CAHID courses, equipping those attending for the skills for future employment.

Expert witness experience is gained through involvement in a mock trial presided over by skilled legal practitioners.

- How you will be assessed

in-course essays
paper appraisal
practical exercises
final degree examinations
MSc research dissertation

What you'll study

The research dissertation can be in the form of original laboratory research in an area pertinent to forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology.

- Forensic Human Osteology (10 credits)
- Trauma and Taphonomy (10 credits)
- Forensic Archaeology I (20 credits)
- Disaster Victim Identification (20 credits)
- Forensic Human Identification (20 credits)
- Forensic Archaeology 2 (20 credits)
- Forensic Science and the Law (20 credits)
- Research Project (60 credits)


There is a significant international requirement for forensic archaeologists and forensic anthropologists who are competent in dealing with body recovery and identification in order to fulfil the requirements of Disaster Victim Identification deployment. This course will greatly increase the professional employment characteristics of any student undertaking it who seeks a career in forensic anthropology, forensic archaeology or DVI.

Visit the MSc Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology page on the University of Dundee website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An honours degree at 2:1 or above (or equivalent) in a relevant degree, or an ability to demonstrate considerable experience in a relevant field. IELTS of 6.5 (or equivalent) if first language is not English.

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Recipient: University of Dundee
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