Human Osteology Courses in the UK

22 Jan

This is something I should have done a while ago.  Regardless, whilst I was doing some light research for another article I made a quick list of every course in the UK that offers human osteology as a taught masters (either as an MA – a Masters of Arts or as an MSc – Masters of Science) or offer a distinctive human osteology module or component within a taught masters degree.  England is well represented within the universities highlighted, Scotland only comes in with two entries whilst Wales and Northern Ireland, as far as I know, offer no distinctive osteological courses at the Masters level.  Further to this the reader should be aware that some universities, such as the University of Leicester, offer commercial or research centers for human and animal osteology yet run no postgraduate courses that provide the training in the methods of osteoarchaeology.  Thus they are excluded from this list.

This information is correct as of the 8 January 2014, but please expect at least some of the information to change.  I think we could likely see a raise in the tuition fees for MSc and MA courses within the next few years, as a direct knock on effect of the upping of undergraduate fees.  It should be noted here that the education system in the UK is well-regarded, and it’s educational institutions are often in the top 10% in world league tables; however it can be very expensive to study here, especially so in the consideration of prospective international students.  Please also take note of the cost of renting (especially in the south east of the country) and the high cost of daily living.  The list is not an exhaustive attempt and I am happy to add any further information or to correct any entries.


A example of an archaeological skull. Image credit: source.

MA/MSc Degrees in England

Bournemouth University:

University of Bradford:

University of Cambridge:

  • MPhil Human Evolution (amazingly there are 18,000 skeletons in the Duckworth Collection).

Cranfield University:

Liverpool John Moores University:


University College London:

University of Durham:

  • MSc Palaeopathology (Fees available on request, expect UK/EU £5000 and International £14,000).
  • MSc Evolutionary Anthropology (Fees available on request, expect UK/EU £5000 and International £14,000).

University of Exeter:

Universities of Hull and York Medical School:

  • MSc Human Evolution (A very interesting course, combining dissection and evolutionary anatomy) (UK/EU £4620 and International £16,540).

University of Liverpool:

University of Manchester:

  • MSc Biomedical and Forensic Studies in Egyptology (course under review).

University of Oxford:

University of Sheffield:

University of Southampton:

University of York:

MA/MSc Degrees in Scotland

University of Dundee:

University of Edinburgh:

Please be aware of changing program fees, as some of the above information has come from the 2012/2013 course fees, and these can, and are likely, to change during the next academic year.  In conjunction with the above, a number of universities also run short courses.

The following universities offer short courses in human osteology, osteology, forensics or zooarchaeology.

Short Courses in England

Bournemouth University:

Cranfield University:

Luton Museum

Oxford Brookes University:

University of Bradford:

  • On occasion run a palaeopathology course, please check the university website for details.

University of Sheffield:

I am surprised there are not more short courses in the UK.  If you find any in the UK please feel free to drop a comment below!


A University of Hull and Sheffield joint excavation at Brodsworth carried out in 2008 helped to uncover and define a Medieval cemetery. Image credit: University of Hull.

Note: A final note to prospective students, I would strongly advise researching your degree by visiting the universities own webpages, finding out about the course specifics and the module content.  I would also always advise to try and contact a past student and to gain their views on the course they have attended.  They will often offer frank advice and information, something that can be hard to find on a university webpage.  Also be aware of the high cost of UK tertiary education as prices have been raised considerably in the past few years and are likely to rise again.

Furthermore if you know of any other human osteology Masters or short courses in the UK please comment below or send me an email and I will add it to the list here.

Further Information

17 Responses to “Human Osteology Courses in the UK”

  1. Emily.Archaeology.Evans February 21, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    Very useful information, nice one Dave! 😀 P.S. I remember cleaning the curved spine top left when I was at ol Broddy!! ❤

    • These Bones Of Mine February 21, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      Hope to be going back to brodsworth after a long break! Thanks 😀

  2. Megan November 10, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    I started the MA Osteoarchaeology course at Southampton in September 2013, and they decided out of nowhere that we should be paying £6,200 instead of £5,940 – I’m not really sure why, something to do with being part of Humanities (I’m not sure if there was a change in the fees for international students). Either way, it’s a really wonderful course! 🙂

    • These Bones Of Mine November 11, 2013 at 12:05 am #

      Hi Megan,
      Thank you very much for the comment! That is weird, and a bit cheeky of them! I’ve checked the course details online and it still says the old price for UK students – I’ll update the entry again when we swing into the new academic year. Glad to hear it! What is the best part about it?

  3. Keneiloe January 8, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Oh man, I can’t believe I paid so much money for my MSc at York as an international student. Well, you know what, is was well worth it.

    • These Bones Of Mine January 8, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      Yup I’m afraid it is very expensive for a international student! Glad you thought it was worth it though 🙂

    • These Bones Of Mine January 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      Also great to read your blog as well!

      • Keneiloe January 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

        oh thanks =) I haven’t been updating it in a while…maybe I’ll fit it into my teaching schedule.

        • These Bones Of Mine January 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

          That sounds great about the teaching 🙂 Cheers for the comment Keneiloe!

  4. Ayodeji February 9, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    Any schools in Germany, Austria, etc (Basically European Schools outside of the UK) where one can get a Masters in Forensic anthropology?

    • These Bones Of Mine February 10, 2015 at 1:31 am #

      Hello Ayodeji,
      Not that I know of I’m afraid. I have a search and let you know though.


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