PDF version of Skeletal and Dental Bioarchaeology MSc

Contact details

Professor Andrew Reynolds

Email: a.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 1522

Fees and funding

UK/EU 2013/14:

£8,500 (FT)

Overseas 2013/14:

£16,500 (FT)

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website

More information

Prospectus Entry


Key facts

Research Assessment Rating

60% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
(What is the RAE?)

The programme information on this page relates to 2013 entry. 2014 content to appear here shortly. 

Skeletal and Dental Bioarchaeology MSc

This MSc gives students a detailed background in the methods used to study bones and teeth in archaeology and physical anthropology. It provides a grounding in skeletal and dental anatomy, together with an understanding of the histology of dental and skeletal tissues, morphological variations, and changes with age and/or sex.

Degree summary

What will I learn?

Students learn procedures for excavating skeletonised human remains alongside the standards used for recording them, and have the opportunity to apply these methods to a small group of previously excavated skeletons. The programme focuses on the remains of Late Pleistocene and Holocene hominids (particularly anatomically modern humans, but including Neanderthals).

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK.

Students benefit from access to extensive skeletal, dental and pathology reference collections; ageing, sexing and measuring aids; a wet chemistry laboratory; a thin sectioning and hard tissues laboratory, and facilities for transmitted light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray radiography.

Some lectures will take place at the Royal College of Surgeons and students have access to their teaching collections and museums, including the Wellcome Museum of Anatomy and Pathology.

See subject website for more information:

Degree structure

Availability: Full-time 1 year; Part-time 2 years

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core Modules

  • Dental Anthropology
  • Methodology and Issues in Bioarchaeology and Palaeoepidemiology
  • Morphology and Palaeopathology of the Human Skeleton
  • Variation and Evolution of the Human Skull


  • Anthropological and Archaeological Genetics
  • Human Evolution
  • Palaeoanthropology
  • Zooarchaeology in Practice
  • Other Masters course options from the Institute of Archaeology


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical classes. This MSc has strong links with the Forensic Archaeological Science MSc which gives individual courses an interesting mix of participants and provides many opportunities for discussion. Assessment is through essays, class tests, reports and the dissertation.

Further details available on subject website:

Entry and application

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

For overseas equivalencies see the relevant country page.

How to apply

You may choose to apply online or download application materials; for details visit www.ucl.ac.uk/gradapps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. The final deadline for submitting complete applications, including references, is 1 April. Please contact the department if applying after this date to see if places are available. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for graduates with a first degree in archaeology, anthropology, geography, geology or the biological and environmental sciences, and provides a basis from which students can develop their own research projects or go on to gain experience in helping to report on-site collections.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Skeletal and Dental Bioarchaeology at graduate level
  • why you want to study Skeletal and Dental Bioarchaeology at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


Some graduates of the programme go on to PhD studies, while others go on to work in a range of archaeological and non-archaeological organisations as osteoarchaeological specialists.

First destinations of recent graduates include:

  • Hunterian Museum: Deputy Curator
  • Natural History Museum: Science Educator
  • Epsom & St Helier Trust: Laboratory Assistant
  • British Museum: Archaeology Work
  • Pre-Construct Archaeology: Archaeologist
  • Birkbeck College: PhD Archaeology
  • University of Bradford: PhD Ice-Age Skeletal Remains in Scotland
  • UCL: PhD Archaeology

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:

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