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Archaeology Bioarchaeology (MSc)

University of Southampton

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Course options

  • Qualification

    MSc - Master of Science

  • Location

    Avenue Campus

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date


  • Duration

    1 year

Course summary

About this course

Learn how to uncover the secrets of past lives through the study of human and animal skeletons. With this specialist master’s in bioarchaeology, you’ll gain expertise in human anatomy, with unlimited access to our large skeletal collection. You’ll also develop skills in faunal analysis; we have one of the largest reference collections of mammals, birds and fish in the UK.

We’re ranked Top 30 in the world for archaeology (QS World University Rankings, 2019).

Your specialist bioarcheology learning will cover:

  • analysing human bones to understand age, sex, diet, health and migration
  • identifying mammals, birds and fish through skeletal remains
  • understanding fossilisation and bone modification
  • interpreting archaeology from collections of remains

Beyond your specialist modules you can personalise this MSc bioarchaeology degree to your areas of interest through a range of optional modules.

This archaeological science master's is a very practical degree, but you don’t need prior knowledge of biology or anatomy. You’ll spend a lot of time in our dedicated archaeology laboratories and you’ll have access to specialist isotope labs and a scanning, imaging and micro-CT suite.

You’ll work closely with experts in our Centre for Learning Anatomical Sciences and benefit from opportunities to apply your learning in real-world settings.

There's an opportunity to apply your learning on a 4-week placement, where you’ll gain valuable real-world experience of the archaeology sector and heritage industry. Previous placements have included Historic England, Wessex Archaeology and The Nautical Archaeology Society.

We bring expertise together from across the University, including Medicine, Humanities, the National Oceanography Centre, Engineering and Winchester School of Art, to enable you to gain both scientific skills and cultural understanding.

This bioarchaeology master's offers a balance between vocational and research skills. During your dissertation you’ll be able to embed with one of our research groups to do original research on a topic that you choose. There is the possibility that this work will be published.

Southampton is close to the World Heritage sites of Stonehenge and Avebury and we have research projects engaged with both sites, as well as a range of other archaeological projects across the Globe.


90% of our archaeology master’s graduates are in employment or further study 6 months after graduation (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey).

Your research project could set you on the road to an academic or research career, and could end up being published in an academic journal. Many of our graduates go on to complete PhD studies.

You’ll gain lots of practical, vocational experience on the course. Most students go on to work in archaeology, the heritage industry and science. Job roles have included:

  • bioarchaeologist
  • archaeologist
  • maritime archaeologist
  • project officer
  • trainee geophysicist
  • community outreach
  • coastal process scientist
  • civil servant
  • teacher
  • forensic scientist

Our graduates have gone on to work for:

  • Wessex Archaeology
  • Historic Scotland
  • Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Geophysical Surveys of Bradford
  • Channel Coastal Observatory
  • Portsmouth City Council
  • Maritime Archaeology Trust
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Your experience here will set you up with many transferable skills that will be valuable whatever career path you choose. You’ll gain experience of team working, presentation skills, networking and data analysis.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 18,811per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University of Southampton

  • University League Table


  • Campus address

    University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, Hampshire, SO17 1BJ, England

Southampton is proud of its inclusive global community and welcomes students from over 130 countries, including 6,800 EU and international students.
Southampton's Students' Union (SUSU) has over 40 cultural and international groups that help with social connections for international communities.
Specialist careers support and paid Year in Employment and internship opportunities prepare international students for their future.

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    16th out of 32 5

  • Entry standards

    / Max 212
    134 67%


  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    70 70%


  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5
    3.87 77%



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