Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology 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.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year
  • Part-time 2 years

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £8,750
  • UK/EU Part-time: £4,400
  • Overseas Full-time: £17,000
  • Overseas Part-time: £8,500

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 April 2014

More details in Application section.

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.

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
  • Archaeology of Early Modern Humans
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • 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:


A small number of IoA Masters Award bursaries, normally in the region of £1,000, are available each year.

Scholarships available for this department

Kathleen Kenyon Awards

Gordon Childe Studentship

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

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.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Good

How to apply

The final deadline for submitting complete applications, including references, is 1 April 2014. Please contact the department if applying after this date to see if places are available.

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 Bioarchaeological and Forensic Anthropology at graduate level
  • why you want to study Bioarchaeological and Forensic Anthropology 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.


Some recent graduates of the programme have gone on to do PhDs, while others graduates have gone on to work in a range of archaeological and non-archaeological organisations as osteoarchaeological specialists; Curator at the Huntarian Museum; political researcher; the Police and a Clinical Governance Facilitator.

Next steps


Professor Andrew Reynolds

T: +44 (0)20 7679 7495


Institute of Archaeology

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Staff View

"UCL Archaeology has a great atmosphere for both staff and students; it's a great place to work, and with so many experts passing through from different countries to give lectures and seminars it is very much the centre of the archaeological world."

Professor Mike Parker Pearson

Professor of British Later Prehistory

Student View

"The Institute of Archaeology's library has been an invaluable tool due to the huge amount of material available that is related to our field, and is one of my favourite things about the institute."

Alexandra Salamunovich

Degree: Archaeology MA