This MSc provides students with a foundation in the analysis of human remains, both in archaeological and modern forensic settings. With a solid grounding in skeletal and dental anatomy, students learn about morphological variation, development, methods for biological profiling, human disease and forensic approaches to trauma and taphonomy.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £10,410 (FT) £5,240 (PT)
- £21,440 (FT) £10,740 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
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.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
Students will learn procedures for interpretation and analysis of human skeletal remains - considering both archaeological and modern forensic contexts. There is a unique opportunity to analyse recently excavated human remains, utilising methods and techniques learned during the programme. While the focus of this programme is primarily on modern humans, late Pleistocene hominids are also considered.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), one optional module (15 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
- Dental Anthropology
- Forensic Anthropology
- Methodology and Issues in Bioarchaeology and Palaeoepidemiology
- Morphology and Palaeopathology of the Human Skeleton
- Variation and Evolution of the Human Skull
Students choose one optional module from the following list or from the wider range of Master's optional modules available. Please note that some core modules are normally only available to those enrolled for the degree in question. If you wish to take a core module from another degree as an option certain restrictions may apply. Please consult the programme co-ordinator before choosing your optional module.
- Advanced Forensic Anthropology
- Archaeologies of the Modern World
- Archaeology of Early Modern Humans
- Forensic Geoscience (by arrangement with the Jill Dando Centre for Forensic Sciences)
- Funerary Archaeology
- Human Evolution (by arrangement with the Department of Anthropology)
- Palaeoanthropology (by arrangement with the Department of Anthropology)
- Zooarchaeology in Practice
- Other Master's options available at the Institute of Archaeology.
Please note that not all options run every year.
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 programmes an interesting mix of participants and provides many opportunities for discussion. Assessment is through essays, class tests, reports and the dissertation.
Institute of Archaeology Master's Awards: A small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2018/19. All UK/EU and Overseas fee paying students with an offer to start any Master's degree offered by the IoA are eligible to apply. For an application form please email Lisa Daniel. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2018.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Some graduates of the programme go on to PhD studies, while others go on to work in a range of archaeological and non-archaeological roles as osteoarchaeological specialists, members of the police, curators and political researchers.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse archaeology department in the UK, offering students a range of opportunities.
This particular MSc is unique, offering a combination of bioarchaeological and forensic principles for the study of human remains unlike anything else available in the UK. Students further benefit from access to a large collection of skeletal material for study, including dental and palaeopathology reference collections. Access to sophisticated equipment and techniques (laser scanner, SEM, thin sectioning, CT) is also available.
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.
Department: Institute of Archaeology
Student / staff numbers
› 63 staff
including 25 postdocs
› 246 taught students
› 115 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology
73% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
What our students and staff say
"It has been amazing to see the growth of public interest in Stonehenge and archaeology more generally in the ten years that we have been running this project."
Professor Mike Parker PearsonArchaeology MA
Professor of Archaeology
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. 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, or the clinical, biological and environmental sciences, but we also consider a range of related subjects such as history or geography. It 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.
- All applicants
- 2 April 2018
If applying after the deadline, please contact the department before making an application to see if places are still available.
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology at graduate level
- why you want to study Bioarchaeology 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.