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MSc Bioarchaeology

Please note that this course is not recruiting for September 2020 and January 2021. Please register your interest and we will let you know when applications open for September 2021 entry.

Bioarchaeology covers the investigation of human and animal skeletal remains to understand the lives of individuals and communities in the past, in relation to their social, cultural, economic, palaeoenvironmental and evolutionary contexts. The subject links both science and humanities within archaeology and anthropology.

Animal bones and human remains are amongst the most common finds on archaeological excavations of all periods. The archaeological profession has an established and increasing need for staff with osteoarchaeological training, to assist in the interpretation of archaeological sites and understanding the human experience in the past, particularly their relationship with animals.

Our facilities are first class with cutting-edge equipment. We have an incredible collection of human skeletal remains, comprising more than 700 specimens. This is one of the largest such collections to be held by any UK university. Our zooarchaeology collection contains over 500 known reference skeletons of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles, including everything you need from cows and wild boar to mice and frogs. We also have a wealth of archaeological animal remains to support your learning and research.

We offer two specialist pathways within the overall context of bioarchaeology:

  • MSc Bioarchaeology (Anthropology)
  • MSc Bioarchaeology (Osteoarchaeology)

Anthropology

The anthropology pathway is set within the wider context and perspective of archaeological studies, with options to explore evolutionary and palaeoenvironmental themes.

This pathway provides opportunities to understand the deeper human past and is ideal if you intend to pursue doctoral level study of human evolution.

Osteoarchaeology

The osteoarchaeology pathway gives you the opportunity to engage in more advanced study of non-human faunal remains. Practical experience of the methods and techniques used for recording and analysing osteological remains is imperative and therefore embedded throughout the course.

This pathway is suited to graduates from a number of fields as well as practising archaeologists looking to expand their knowledge. It provides an excellent foundation if you want to pursue a career as a specialist osteoarchaeological practitioner, researcher or as an academic within the archaeological profession. 

Key information

Next start date:

September 2021

Location:

Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus

Duration:

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Required subjects:

Archaeology, History, Biological Sciences, Biological Anthropology or Anthropology

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:1 in a required subject. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) with a minimum of 5.5 in each component. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Course details

General entry requirements

Careers

Forensic archaeology is an expanding international field. Upon completion of the course you will join other BU graduates who are acknowledged as some of the most experienced forensic archaeologists in the field.

This will open up a wide range of career prospects for you, and you could end up work anywhere in the world examining crime scenes, mass graves & disasters and educating other researchers in new forensic science approaches.

Your application

Costs and fees

You can find full information about the deposits required and how to pay your fees in our postgraduate fees and funding section, including details of the Postgraduate Loan (subject to fee status).

All fees are quoted in pounds sterling and are per annum. Fees quoted are for tuition only unless stated otherwise. Your tuition fees will be the same for each year of your course.

Find out more about living expenses for postgraduate students

Our staff

On this course you will be taught by staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This could include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners and research students, many of whom are actively engaged in research and/or professional practice which is integrated into the teaching of this course. Please note that teaching staff can change.

What our students say

Sara McGuire

My studies have enabled me to develop skills in the study of human skeletal anatomy, and apply them many fields including archaeology, forensic anthropology, evolutionary biology, and the study of primate societies.

What our students say

Helen Slater

I get to spend 8 months in the Sumatran jungle, with orang-utans, gibbons, monkeys, tigers, leopards, rhinos, elephants and much more. Who else can say that?!