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Forensic Anthropology (MSc)

Course Description

Programme description

Intensive and challenging, this programme prepares you for a career in the rapidly growing area of forensic human bone analysis, identification, and interpretation.

Whether recovered from crime scenes, war graves, or mass disasters, the bones and teeth of a deceased person can provide such information as age at death, sex, stature and indications of general health and lifestyle, all of which can assist in the personal identification of that individual, and provide an insight into the circumstances surrounding death. Through a multidisciplinary combination of academic theory and practical application, you’ll learn to approach osteological problems creatively and develop the ability to develop and test research, critically investigate data sources and relate scientific analyses to forensic problems. Crucially, you will also study the legal, scientific and evidential framework of forensic anthropology, which will aid you in the proper interpretation of recovered osteological remains.

Programme structure

The programme consists of seven compulsory courses and combines lectures, seminars and hands-on practical work with archaeological skeletal assemblages and reference collections. In addition to essays, reports and practical assessments, you will complete a dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Compulsory courses include:

Analytical Methods in Human Osteology
Forensic Taphonomy
Legal and Evidential Framework in Forensic Anthropology
Human Musculoskeletal Analysis Anatomy
Practical Osteology
Scientific Evidence in Forensic Anthropology
Skeletal Pathology

Career opportunities

Many students who choose this programme do so to gain the necessary osteological knowledge for relevant PhD study. Others are seeking employment in mainstream forensics. Other possible career options include working as a freelance forensic anthropologist, or employment with a private forensic company, a national institution, or the United Nations.

Visit the Forensic Anthropology (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An undergraduate degree performance at upper 2:1 honours level, 65% or above UK or GPA 3.4 or other international equivalent in a relevant subject, such as anatomy, medicine or forensic science, and related fields. Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. No previous knowledge of human osteology is required.

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Recipient: University of Edinburgh

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