MSc Forensic Anthropology is designed to enable graduate students to develop skills in a variety of areas, which concern the processing, analysis and identification of human remains. This postgraduate course provides intensive training in developmental anatomy and osteology, forensic anthropology methods and theory, forensic taphonomy in theory and practice, crime scene investigation and the law, research methods and expert witness and presentation skills. The course has a focus on both domestic forensic anthropology work (e.g. UK and US) and forensic anthropology in the context of international humanitarian work and international criminal investigation.
UCLan’s postgraduate Forensic Anthropology course is the only forensic anthropology/osteology MSc in the UK to be based within a dedicated forensics department with state-of-the-art Crime Scene Investigation practical labs as well as excellent resources in Forensic Biology and Chemistry.
2.1 degree in a related field or equivalent professional experience in the discipline
If English is not the native language, proof of proficiency (IELTS with no component score less than 7) is required
Prior to enrolment, students must provide proof of vaccination for Hepatitis B and Tetanus
Pregnant women cannot enrol in the FZ4308 module for health and safety reasons.
The date of the next UCLan Postgraduate Advice Event will be confirmed soon, in the meantime please contact Course Enquiries with any queries regarding postgraduate study and research.
Awards: MSc. Postgraduate diploma and postgraduate certificate are exit awards for students failing to complete certain sections of the MSc programme.
MSc Forensic Anthropology is a one-year taught Master’s programme consisting of two semesters' coursework and one semester of an original research project.
Students will study the current issues and techniques involved in all aspects of human remains recovery and identification with an international focus. They will gain knowledge of modes of decomposition and death, and learn how to approach a body in any condition to learn the most from it. In addition, they will have the chance to develop a large number of transferable skills.
The course is structured into three parts :
Part 1 (14 weeks):
Developmental Anatomy: Covers human embryology and developmental anatomy through the adult form.
Forensic Anthropology: Concerned with methods of identification in the forensic context, utilising a lab-based focus on the estimation of age, sex, stature, and race and the identification of trauma and pathology. Issues in both domestic and international contexts of forensic work will be addressed.
Research Methods: Trains students in a wide range of skills, including technical documentation, project management, data analysis and retrieval, writing and research skills, and library use.
Part 2 (14 weeks):
Forensic Taphonomy: Covers the process and sequence of human decomposition, as well as the burial and surface dispersal of human remains.
Crime Scene Investigation and the Anthropologist: Concerned with crime scene investigation and the supporting role of the forensic archaeologist and anthropologist at the crime scene and in the mortuary, and the legal framework governing domestic and international investigation procedure.
Expert Witness and Communication: Communication skills providing background and training in expert witness delivery, and the study of British and International Law.
Part 3 (16 weeks) - Research Project:
Every student will undertake a laboratory or field-based research project, which will use and enhance many of the skills learnt on the course. The project will be based within the university, at a museum, or as an experimental field project. The end result of the research project should be a publishable quality paper. Please note that, owing to limited facilities and collections at UCLan, student may need to conduct their lab or field works elsewhere which will have to be self-funded.
Students are encouraged to present their findings at a variety of national and/or international conferences in the year following completion and to work with staff to submit their co-authored paper to a professional journal to be reviewed for publication
You can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.
For a concise summary of the main features of this course, see our course specification.
For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.
For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:
Full-time: £6,300 per year (UK/EU)
Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated and may be subject to increase annually in line with UK Retail Price Index inflation rate
For 2016/17 fees please refer to our fees page.
The UK Government has confirmed that a new postgraduate loan scheme will be introduced for students commencing a Full Masters Postgraduate programmes from 2016/17 academic year.
We have a dedicated MSc Forensic Anthropology laboratory and radiography facilities with the full range of teaching casts as well as an extensive collection of experimentally induced projectile, blunt and sharp force trauma. We have an archaeological skeletal collection consisting of some 120 individuals from two sites, one late Medieval and one Victorian. UCLan’s TRACES facility for decomposition and taphonomic experimentation is located nearby and many students choose to conduct MSc dissertation research projects as part of the long term research agenda into estimating time since death. Staff members teaching the course are also active in research and consultancy. UCLan has an MSc-level Exchange with two US universities with forensic anthropology MA programmes, namely California State University at Chico and Wichita State University, both of which have active forensic anthropology consulting services.
Assessment is based on a combination of coursework and examination and includes an MSc dissertation project. Students are encouraged to present their research findings at international meetings.
Graduating from this course, you will be well placed to undertake further research at the doctoral level, take up jobs in forensic anthropology laboratories, or to participate in human remains excavations.
A course module that will help you plan your career is available as a free choice module (called an elective), which you can study as part of your degree programme.