Taught course

Human Osteology and Funerary Studies

University of Winchester · Faculty of Social Sciences

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Entry requirements

Normally a first or second-class Honours degree in Archaeology o ra related subject. It is also expected that prospective students will have already taken an undergraduate level module in Human Bioarchaeology/Human Osteology or equivalent, have participated in a bioarchaeological/osteological field school, or have relevant professional experience.

Months of entry


Course content

  • Access to collections in the Novium Collections at Fishbourne and the holdings of the Hampshire Cultural Trust
  • Wide range of research options
  • Opportunity to take a work placement

Human Osteology and Funerary Studies at Winchester gives you the opportunity to study the practical and theoretical aspects of human remains and funerary studies in archaeology, and what they tell us about the life, health and death of past populations. The course includes taught components on a wide range of practical and theoretical aspects of the study of human remains in archaeology, with some modules focusing on the study of funerary beliefs and rituals throughout prehistory and history.

You study and undertake research from a particular archaeological period or geographical area, such as The Palaeolithic of Western Europe, The Roman Period, The Post-Medieval Period in Europe, or North America and the Caribbean. The practical teaching on the course uses skeletons from the St Mary Magdalen Leprosy Hospital, curated in the Department of Archaeology.

You complete core modules in Human Skeletal Anatomy and Fundamentals of Skeletal Analysis, Palaeopathology, Concepts of Funerary Archaeology, and Funerary Studies, along with Research Methods and Skills, which is designed to help you complete your final dissertation.

The dissertation allows you to apply your knowledge and research skills in the production of a substantive piece of research of 15,000 words on a relevant topic of your choice, supervised by a member of staff with relevant research interests. Departmental staff have expertise in themes and approaches including Medieval Hospitals, Leprosy in the Medieval Period, Skeletal Trauma, Deviant Burials, Disability in Prehistory, Commingled and Disarticulated Remains and Cremated Remains.

Collections available for dissertations include material in the Novium Collections at Fishbourne and the extensive holdings of the Hampshire Cultural Trust. You also choose a module from a wide range of options including Issues in Global Cultural Heritage, Byzantium and Beyond, The Archaeology of Africa, and The Archaeology of Buddhism.

MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Studies acts as a basis for a career within archaeology or a related discipline, or as preparation for undertaking an MRes, MPhil or PhD.

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

Course Enquiries and Applications
+44 (0) 1962 827234