MSc Human Osteoarchaeology

  • DeadlineStudy Details:

    1 year full time

Course Description

The scientific investigation of human skeletal remains, also known as Bioarchaeology or Biological Anthropology, gives unique insights into human history. Demographic shifts, environmental changes, living conditions, migrations, the spread of diseases and the impact of violence and conflict all leave traces on the skeleton.

The MSc in Human Osteoarchaeology provides students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills to understand these important skeletal biographies and interpret them in their cultural context (biocultural approach), at the individual and the population level, combining theoretical learning with hands-on practice.

The programme draws on a variety of techniques, ranging from visual examination of the whole skeleton to the biomolecular analysis of small bone samples. Students gain invaluable hands-on experience with the School’s extensive Scottish skeletal collection.

Teaching and student research projects benefit from our wide range of lab facilities and the programme’s close relationship with the nearby National Museum of Scotland and the Museum of Edinburgh.

Entry Requirements

You will need a UK 2:1 honours degree, a minimum US 3.25 GPA or international equivalent, in a relevant subject such as Archaeology, Anthropology, Anatomy, Medical Sciences and related fields. No previous knowledge of human osteology is required.

Depending on the number of eligible applicants, we may need to limit the number of students admitted, based on academic merit.

We will also consider relevant experience, or professional or other qualifications.


Please see our website

Programme Funding

Student Destinations

The programme provides a foundation for further study or your career. Following successful completion of the programme, a large proportion of students continue their studies to PhD level and beyond, and the programme provides the necessary osteoarchaeological knowledge for PhD study involving human skeletal remains. Our graduates have been very successful in pursuing both, commercial and academic/research careers, and have found employment in commercial archaeological units, consultancy and laboratory work, as well as  government agencies and institutions, in the UK and abroad.

Module Details

You will normally take seven courses across two semesters of teaching, including six compulsory courses and an option of your choice.

Compulsory courses previously offered include:

Human Musculo-Skeletal Anatomy 20
Analytical Methods in Human Osteoarchaeology 20
Quantitative Methods and Reasoning in Archaeology 20
Skeletal Pathology 20
Bioarchaeological Analysis and Interpretation 10
Research Sources and Strategies in Bioarchaeology 10

Learn more about University of Edinburgh

Where is University of Edinburgh?


View Website

University Profile