Taught course

Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology

Bournemouth University · Archaeology, Anthropology and Heritage

Entry requirements

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in a required subject. Required subjects:

  • Archaeology
  • Forensic Science
  • Forensic Investigation
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biological Anthropology

Months of entry


Course content

Forensic Anthropology is a division of biological anthropology that is concerned with the analysis of human skeletal remains from forensic contexts, whilst Forensic Archaeology encompasses the application of archaeological principles and methods, within the constraints and framework of the criminal justice system.

You can select one of two specialist award titles:

  • MSc Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology (Osteology)
  • MSc Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology (Search & Recovery)

These two subjects function as complementary areas of expertise in investigations of human remains encountered in modern contexts relating particularly to crime, conflict, human rights violations, and disasters. During recent years international investigations of disasters, human rights violations and genocide have brought a growing demand for skilled practitioners who can contribute towards the recovery and identification of unknown victims and the determination of the cause of their deaths. Such skills have also been increasingly utilised to identify and investigate human remains recovered from forensic contexts relating to domestic criminal activity, particularly in North America, but with a steady growth in recognition globally.

Core to the course is the understanding of legal issues and constraints, management and process of the investigative system and the professional skills enabling evidence to be presented to the Courts. You will also cover the post mortem fate of human remains, the location and recovery of skeletonised remains and the adaptation and application of biological anthropology to the context of individuals, rather than sample populations.

Our course places particular relevance on interpretation of injury and postmortem events with emphasis given to the archaeological recovery of human remains rather than taking a view that analysis begins when remains reach the laboratory. Our graduates will to be able to make confident assertions regarding the recognition and initial assessment of human remains in the field. In addition, you'll gain a wide range of transferable skills including report writing, team working, professional communication and presentation skills, expert witness training and contemporaneous recording.

Both the two specialist routes on this degree derive from the experience of archaeologists and anthropologists who practice both nationally and internationally and address the needs identified by Police services, The UK Forensic Regulator, the UN and other international identification agencies. You can choose to specialise either in osteological or archaeological investigations.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language, you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in writing, speaking, listening and reading.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Please check Bournemouth University course website for the latest tuition fees information.

For fees and funding information, please visit www.bournemouth.ac.uk/pg-funding

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Future Students Enquiry Team
+44 (0)1202 961 916