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Human Bioarchaeology and Palaeopathology MSc

Durham University

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Course options

  • Qualification

    MSc - Master of Science

  • Location

    Durham University

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date

    OCT

  • Duration

    1 year

Course summary

Course Summary

This lecture, seminar and laboratory-based MSc equips you with the theoretical and practical skills and knowledge to study and interpret data collected from human remains. The emphasis is on osteoprofiling, as well as health and disease using a multidisciplinary approach, linking biological evidence with cultural data (the biocultural approach). This is a very hands-on, practical course, and students will gain experience with human skeletal remains from a variety of time periods.

This course is unique in the world and it takes a holistic view of the body and society and will prepare you for undertaking significant research projects in this subject, or working in contract/commercial archaeology, and many other fields. It is aimed at graduates mainly in archaeology and anthropology with or without past experience or knowledge in this field, and for those who aspire to continue on to PhD or work in contract archaeology. However, past students have come from a variety of subject backgrounds, and destination data illustrates a wide range of employers take these students.

Course Learning and Teaching

The course is delivered through an exciting and challenging mixture of lectures, seminars and hands-on practical classes. Lectures provide key information on a particular area and identify the main areas for discussion and debate in bioarchaeology. Seminars then provide opportunities for smaller groups to discuss and debate issues or areas, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and through independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. Finally, practical laboratory classes allow you to gain direct practical skills in recording and interpretation of data from skeletal remains. We have a dedicated human osteology laboratory at Durham and curate large collections of human skeletal remains, including many pathological examples. These are an important component of the course, facilitating independent and group work, as well as hands-on experience under laboratory conditions, essential for a potential future working environment. You will have access to the human bone laboratory for independent study outside of formal teaching hours and we encourage you to use these resources as much as possible.

The balance of these types of activities changes throughout the course, as you develop your knowledge and ability as independent learners. You will have the opportunity to engage in research, professional practice, and to develop and demonstrate research skills in subject areas that interest you. In addition to the taught components, a series of informal ‘open lab’ sessions form part of the learning experience. We also offer guest lecturers and seminars. You will be part of a vibrant bioarchaeology community here at Durham!

Career Opportunities

Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 22,250per year

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

University information

Durham University

  • University League Table

    6th

  • Campus address

    Durham University, The Palatine Centre, Stockton Road, Durham, Durham, DH1 3LE, England

By inspiring students to do outstanding things at Durham, the university believes they will do outstanding things in the world.
Durham's famous cathedral and castle are at the heart of the city – and the heart of the university – forming a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Beyond studies, Durham offers a student experience and college life that is truly unique.

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    7th out of 29 1

    4th out of 33 1

  • Entry standards

    / Max 212
    170 86%

    6th

  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    80.0 80%

    6th

    2
  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5
    3.93 79%

    18th

    3
  • Entry standards

    / Max 212
    155 79%

    6th

    1
  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    76.0 76%

    4th

    6
  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5
    4.30 86%

    7th

    3

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