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MSc Forensic Anthropology

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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions, Part-Time

Our Forensic Anthropology course is concerned with the application of biological anthropological techniques to the analysis of human skeletal remains within a legal context and provides a vital suite of expertise and skills that can be applied to answer both modern and archaeological questions.

Specialist anthropological skills can contribute, not only to our understanding of the past, but also to the effective investigation of serious incidents in the modern world, particularly murder, genocide and human rights violations within the constraints of the criminal justice system. Such skills have also proved increasingly useful in recent years in the wake of mass disasters, both natural and man-made.

We adopt a team approach to teaching, with each full-time human osteologist having their own specialisms. Other staff have expertise in relevant related subjects including forensic archaeology, crime scene investigation, forensic entomology, law and expert witness testimony, backed up by a team of specialist technicians. We are also one of very few universities to offer you the chance to undertake a simulated mass grave exercise as part of your Master’s degree.

Your learning is further aided by our extensive skeletal collections, spanning the last 5,500 years, as well as a large and varied teaching cast collection.

Watch the pre-recorded BU Webinar ‘Masters Degrees in Sciences’. Presented by Paul Kneller, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science at the Faculty of Science & Technology, this webinar will give you an excellent insight into the postgraduate courses the faculty offers.

Interested in studying this course part-time? Enquire now.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2019, September 2020


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


1 year full-time, or 2 years part-time


The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences

Required subjects:

Archaeology, Forensic Science, Forensic Investigation, Biological Sciences or Biological Anthropology

Entry requirements:

For 2019 entry: Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in a required subject that includes an element of science and/or relevant comprehensive professional experience.

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 of writing, speaking, listening and reading. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Course content

Your application

We are looking for students who are keen to develop their intellectual skills by gaining a solid grounding in a range of aspects of biological anthropology and its specific application in forensic contexts. We particularly encourage applications from people who have an enthusiasm for developing critical thinking and observational skills and who would like to develop these skills with a view to working within a wider multidisciplinary team. Such qualities comprise transferable skills that appeal to a range of employers. Students on this degree course will typically have backgrounds in archaeology or forensic science.

Entry requirements


Most of our Forensic Anthropology graduates embark on a career in teaching or future research, however there are many and varied professional opportunities. Specialist anthropological skills can contribute not only to our understanding of the past, but also to the effective investigation of serious incidents in the modern world such as both natural and man-made mass disasters. Forensic Anthropology graduates can therefore enjoy a wide range of career opportunities in a range of disciplines.

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. You can visit our department pages to read more about the staff in the Department of Archaeology, Anthropology & Forensic Science. Please note that teaching staff can change.

Hear from our staff

Dr Martin Smith

What we are most proud of is the way our past students have gone on to make a difference in the world in a wide range of roles and locations both here in the UK and internationally.

What our graduates think

Reuben Moreton

In my current role I manage all the image comparison cases for the a police service, ranging from facial image comparison to firearm, clothing and vehicle comparison.