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Human Osteology and Palaeopathology

PG Diploma
Duration: Up to five years
Attendance mode: Part-time
Award: PG Diploma
Not suitable for international students
Start date: September
Faculty of Life Sciences
Apply Download course booklet


This course emphasises the study of archaeological human remains within their funerary context.

It builds upon the School's extensive research in human osteology and palaeopathology and related research expertise in field archaeology, archaeozoology, molecular archaeology and archaeological biogeochemistry.

The course strongly emphasises the integration of biological and archaeological evidence to address problem-orientated research themes and the application of scientific methods to unravelling the human past.

It provides advanced instruction in the identification and analysis of human remains, the techniques and methods applied to understanding human skeletal morphological variation, and the means by which to assess pathological conditions affecting the skeleton.

The course can be used either as vocational training or, for the MSc, as a foundation from which to commence further research. The course is normally offered on a full-time basis but a part-time route is feasible as well. Individual modules are available to candidates wishing to enhance their specialist knowledge in a particular area.

Professional Accreditation/Recognition

  • The course provides access to our world renowned collection of reference material (The Bradford Human Remains Collection), hands-on experience in the School's laboratories, and a substantial individual research dissertation.
  • A part-time route is feasible, accumulating module credits over a period of study. Individual modules are available to candidates wishing to enhance their specialist knowledge in a particular area.

"The course was amazing and is one of the best in the country. Compared to other universities, Bradford is on another level of friendliness."

Sabine Pescheck
MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology, 2015

Entry requirements

  • 2:2 or above in Archaeology, Anthropology or another suitable subject (for example Forensic Science, Medical Science)
  • Students will normally have a minimum of one GCSE in mathematics
  • Other relevant qualifications will be considered
  • For North American students a GPA of at least 2.5 on a scale of 4.0 is required, or an equivalent
  • Admissions are made on the basis of demonstrated ability, qualifications, experience, references, and, occasionally, interviews

English language requirements:

IELTS at 6.0 or the equivalent.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

The programme can be used either as vocational training or as a foundation from which to commence further research. The programme is offered on a full-time basis or part-time over up to 5 years. Individual modules are available to candidates wishing to enhance their specialist knowledge in a particular area.

Students can choose to undertake a substantial individual research dissertation or they can alternatively select a non-dissertation route which includes a substantial research and writing assignment that requires advanced level academic writing skills and a population level analysis that meets the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Management of Projects in the Historic Environment (MoRPHE) and associated professional standards (by CIfA, and BABAO).

Modules: (C) = Core, (O) = Option

Semester 1 (60 Credits - 4 x (C) Modules):

  • Analysis of Human Remains (20 Credits) (C)
  • Archaeozoology (10 Credits) (C)
  • Quantitative Methods (10 Credits) (C)
  • Musculoskeletal Anatomy (20 Credits) (C)

Semester 2 (60 Credits - 2 x (C) Modules and 20 Credits from the (O) Modules listed):

  • Palaeopathology (30 Credits) (C)
  • Research Skills (10 Credits) (C)
  • Funerary Archaeology (10 Credits) (O)
  • Stable Light Isotope Analysis (10 Credits) (O)
  • Topics in Archaeometry (10 Credits) (O)

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Career support and prospects

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Career prospects

Career destinations after the MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology have included:

  • Lecturers, teaching assistants and post-doctoral researchers at universities in the UK and overseas
  • Osteologists and archaeologists working in commercial archaeology
  • Research, curatorial and education staff in museums
  • Other professional careers

The MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology has also produced a large number of doctoral research students. They have undertaken research in Bradford and at other universities in the UK and overseas, including Ireland, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.


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Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees


  • Home/EU - £3,980 per year

Tuition fees are subject to review for students starting their course in subsequent years. See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

How do I find out more?

Steps to Postgraduate Study

Find out more about studying at a postgraduate level on the official, independent website Steps to Postgraduate Study (link opens in new window).

How to apply

The easiest way to apply is online.

This will help us process your application more quickly and allow you to submit your supporting documents electronically.

If you are unable to apply online, please email to request a paper application form.

We will also need the following supporting documents, along with any other information specified on the course page:

  • Degree certificates/transcripts
  • Research proposal (if required)
  • Two references (including one academic reference)
  • Evidence of English language level (if required)
  • A copy of your passport

Once you have applied you will have access to the University's Applicant Portal, where you can track the status of your application.

You should also start thinking about how you plan to fund your postgraduate study — you may need to apply for loans or grants at this stage.

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.