Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology MSc

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 biology profiling, human disease, and forensic approaches to trauma and taphonomy.

Key Information

Modes and duration

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

Tuition Fees (2015/16)

£9,015 (FT) £4,530 (PT)
£17,510 (FT) £8,755 (PT)

Application deadlines

All applicants:
1 April 2015

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.

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.

International students

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:

Degree Information

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, utilise methods and techniques learned during the course. While the focus of this programme is primarily on modern humans, late Pleistocene hominids are also considered and explored.

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
  • Forensic 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
  • Archaeology of Early Modern Humans
  • Forensic Archaeology
  • Forensic Geoscience
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Human Evolution
  • Palaeoanthropolgy
  • Zooarchaeology in Practice
  • Other Master's options available at 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. Assessment is through essays, class tests, reports and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Bioarchaeological and Forensic Anthropology MSc


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

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below. 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 organisations as osteoarchaeological specialists.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK, offering students a range of opportunities.

This particular MSc is unique, offering a combination of bioarchaelogical 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.

Student / staff ratios › 60 staff › 263 taught students › 130 research students

Department: Institute of Archaeology

Degree reviews

Staff review

"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

Archaeology MA
Professor of British Later Prehistory

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 of 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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
1 April 2015
Please contact the department if applying after the application date to see if places are 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 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.


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

UCL-IoE merger

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