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Human Osteology and Funerary Studies (MSc)

Course Description

MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Studies at Winchester gives students the opportunity to study the practical and theoretical aspects of human remains and funerary studies in archaeology, and what they may tell us about the life, health and death of past populations.
*subject to validation

Programme Content

The course includes taught components on a wide range of practical and theoretical aspects of the study of human remains in archaeology, with some modules focusing on the study of funerary beliefs and rituals throughout prehistory and history.

The programme is suitable for students who wish to study and undertake osteology or funerary studies research from a particular archaeological period, or geographical area, such as:

- The Palaeolithic of Western Europe
- Classical Greece
- The Roman Period
- The Early and Later Medieval Periods
- The Post-Medieval Period in Europe
- North America and the Caribbean
- Africa

Departmental staff have expertise in the following themes and approaches:

- Medieval Hospitals
- Leprosy in the Medieval Period
- Skeletal Trauma
- Deviant Burials
- Commingled and Disarticulated Remains
- Cremated Remains

See the website http://www.winchester.ac.uk/Studyhere/Pages/msc-human-osteology-and-funerary-studies.aspx


Students undertake six core modules and one optional module.

Core modules:
- Human Osteology I
- Human Osteology II
- Concepts of Funerary Archaeology
- Funerary Practice
- Research Methods
- Dissertation

A choice of one Special and/or Applied Studies modules, for example:
- Church Archaeology
- Later Prehistoric Wessex
- Archaeology of Africa
- Caribbean Archaeology
- Excavation

Learning and Teaching

The course is taught through a combination of lectures, presentations and practical laboratory sessions, and attendance at departmental/research centre seminars enables students to share their experiences.


Assessment is by means of a series of essays, reports and exams. The dissertation module allows students to apply the knowledge and research skills developed in the production of a substantive piece of research of 15,000 words on a Human Osteology and/or Funerary Studies topic of their choice, supervised by a member of staff with relevant research interests.

At the University of Winchester validated programmes may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances. The University is committed to ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used in the programme you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day/Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.


MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Studies acts as a basis for a career within archaeology, or related discipline, or as preparation for undertaking an MRes, MPhil or PhD.

Visit the Human Osteology and Funerary Studies (MSc) page on the University of Winchester website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Normally a first or second-class Honours degree in Archaeology or a related subject. It is also expected that prospective students will have passed at least one undergraduate module in Human Bioarchaeology/Osteology.

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