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MSc Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology

This innovative MSc is unique in the UK in terms of its strong international humanitarian focus and the research excellence that is at its core. As an MSc student you will be immersed in a dynamic and interdisciplinary research environment, working with staff who have a strong track record of forensic research and practice. Central to the teaching are hands-on practical classes and mock forensic scenarios, including excavating mass graves, creating osteoprofiles, and being an expert witness. At Durham we curate large collections of human skeletal remains, including many pathological examples. As a student you will have access to the human bone laboratory for independent study and we encourage you to use these resources as much as possible. You will gain experience of a range of biomolecular techniques of analysis in our state-of-the-art laboratories and learn how to apply these to different forensic scenarios. This course has been designed to align with the UN Sustainability goals of peace and justice.


The MSc Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology is designed to provide you with hands-on practical training and scientific research skills. You will be taught using case studies from all over the world, including non-white and indigenous perspectives to facilitate the engagement of learners from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. As well as learning a wide range of analytical skills in our suite of laboratories, you will undertake fieldwork and fieldtrips to supplement your knowledge of professional practice, including international mass disasters. You will have the opportunity to engage in independent research in specific research areas that interest you under the guidance and supervision of world-leading experts in the field, potentially leading to published papers.


Course Modules

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3


30 credits

Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology: Theory and Practice

30 credits


60 Credits

Research Skills in Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology

30 Credits

Isotope and Biomolecular Archaeology (30 credits)


Palaeopathology: Theory and Method (30 credits)


Forensic Genetics (30 credits)

If you would like to learn more about Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology, please feel free to join our free online course with Future Learn.

Student in white protective clothing unearthing a skeleton cast



Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.

Students taking part in a mock trial as part of the Forensic Arch&Anth course

Students taking part in a mock trial designed to teach them how to give testimonies on skeletal investigation as expert witnesses.

Forensic Arch and Anth Students examining interpol forms

Students using Interpol (international police) forms in a practice exercise

Students taking part in a body recovery workshop

Students taking part in a body recovery workshop.

University student
The MSc in Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology provides an excellent blend of theoretical and practical learning. The weekly practical sessions in the human bone lab, expert witness exercise in the mock courtroom, and mock mass grave excavation really brought to life what we were taught.

Lauren Gill
PhD student and MSc Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology graduate