Taught course

Professional Human Archaeology

University of Reading · Department of Archaeology

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Entry requirements

A good second-class honours degree (2:1 or above), or equivalent from a university outside the UK. Previous subjects of study may include, but not be limited to, archaeology, anthropology, history and biology.

Months of entry


Course content

Our MSc Professional Human Osteoarchaeology course provides advanced instruction on the osteological methods, theories and techniques needed to identify and analyse human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts.

It highlights training for professional practice in the commercial sector, providing details on report writing, tendering, health and safety, ethics and the law.

Archaeology at the University of Reading is a thriving and research-orientated department, with 97% of the Archaeology department’s research overall judged to be world leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognised in the latest REF (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

You will have the opportunity to learn directly from leading academics in modules that immediately relate to their areas of expertise. Our programme’s teaching staff have established international reputations for research in human osteology and chemical analysis specialising in the study of the life course (infants and children, puberty, old age) and diet.

Modules are designed to provide you with the key skills required for a professional career, following the ‘Osteology Specialist Competence Matrix’ published jointly by the British Association of Biological Anthropologists and Osteoarchaeologists (BABAO) and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA). In addition, academic research and writing skills will enable you to engage with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and Historic England’s Management of Projects in the Historic Environment (MoRPHE).

The Department curates over 600 human skeletons providing an excellent resource for teaching human anatomy, analytical methods, adult and juvenile osteology, and palaeopathology in fully-equipped dedicated laboratories.

This programme has been developed in response to industry need, and in consultation with professional practitioners. You will have the opportunity to engage with professionals through talks and site visits, allowing you to develop vital contacts for your career.

This highly flexible degree is offered both part-time and full-time, and can be used to develop or advance vocational training, or provide a solid foundation for future research. Modules may also be studied on an individual basis as part of your continual professional development (CPD).

Information for international students

IELTS: 6.5 overall with no element less than 5.5 (or equivalent).

Fees and funding

UK students
£8,840 per year (full-time)
International students
£19,715 per year (full-time)

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details

Global Recruitment Team