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MSc - Master of Science
Bioarchaeology is a branch of Archaeology that focuses on the study of biological materials found in archaeological contexts to provide information about the life and environment of humans in the past. It is a fast-paced and continually evolving field with new breakthroughs and discoveries emerging almost every month. Studying the subject at Durham University opens the door to the latest developments and state-of-the-art laboratories in archaeological science, including stable isotope mass spectrometry, ancient DNA, materials analysis, luminescence dating, environmental archaeology, human osteology and geoarchaeology.
The course is lecture, seminar and laboratory-based and designed so that students can specialise in a chosen field and obtain the skills and knowledge of how to obtain and interpret data from biological assemblages. We specialise and teach in areas such as human and animal dispersal and mobility, human health, palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, human-animal-environment relations and subsistence strategies. Many of the human, animal and environmental assemblages our students work with for their research derive from ongoing staff research projects, current Departmental excavations or our in-house commercial unit, Archaeological Services. The course is aimed at inquisitive graduates from science or archaeology with or without past experience of Bioarchaeology, and for those who aspire to continue into a PhD programme or work in contract archaeology.
Course Learning and Teaching
The program is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and laboratory practicals. Lectures provide the student with key information on a particular topic, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among archaeologists. Seminars and tutorials provide opportunities for smaller groups of student-led discussion and debate of particular issues based on the knowledge gained through lectures and independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. Practical classes and workshops allow the student to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Archaeological Science with guidance from experienced and qualified scientists in Archaeology. Finally, through independent supervised study the student will be to develop and undertake a research project to an advanced level. Throughout the programme emphasis is placed on working independently outside the contact hours, to read widely, explore and synthesise larger datasets and to develop critical and analytical skills to an advanced roughout the programme, students have access to an “academic advisor”, usually the director of the course, who provides them with academic support and guidance. Typically a student will meet with their adviser three times a year. In addition, all teaching staff members have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The department also has a vibrant research community and offers an exciting programme of Departmental, research group and postgraduate research seminars that students are strongly encouraged to attend.
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.
For this course (per year)
For this course (per year)
Students need to have a minimum of an upper second-class (2:1) degree or equivalent; GPA of 3.3 or above in Archaeology, Anthropology, Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry or related disciplines. Relevant working experience will be also considered. Reference Requirements Two satisfactory references are required.