Taught course

Human Bioarchaeology and Palaeopathology

Durham University · Department of Archaeology

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class (2:1) degree or equivalent; GPA of 3.3 or above.

One satisfactory academic reference is required. There is no specific deadline for applications. Applications for any given academic year must be received before the start of that academic year.

All self-financing overseas students are required to pay a £1000 tuition fee deposit if an offer from the Department of Archaeology is accepted. The tuition fee deposit is paid before the University issues a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) number, which is required in order to apply for a visa. A £500 deposit is also payable by Home applicants if an offer of a place from the Department of Archaeology is accepted.

Months of entry


Course content

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 structure

Term 1

  • Osteoprofiling
  • Research and Study Skills in Archaeological Science

Term 2

  • Palaeopathology: Theory and Method

Choice of:

  • Themes in Palaeopathology


  • Isotope and Biomolecular Archaeology


  • Research Topic in Archaeology

Term 3


Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
£11,600.00 per year
International students
£24,900.00 per year

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details