MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology

Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

We draw on the humanities and the sciences to explore our relationship with the world.

We're reinventing archaeology. New perspectives, new methods, new ways to help communities understand and celebrate their heritage. Thinking about the future is part of the discipline.

A masters with us is perfect preparation for a PhD and a research career. We also run courses with an optional vocational track, so you can train for specific jobs. Everyone gets the chance to take part in fieldwork - in the UK, mainland Europe, Asia and Africa.

The question we ask all our students is: "What kind of archaeologist do you want to be?"

Jobs include Historic Buildings Projects Officer, Commercial Field Archaeologist and Postdoctoral Researcher.

About the course

One of the most successful of its kind anywhere, this course has trained many of those now practising the discipline.

We work closely with commercial archaeology units and museums to make sure you learn the skills they're looking for.

There are chances to work with partner organisations in the UK and overseas as part of your dissertation.

Enhance your skills. Prepare for doctoral research in human osteology.

You'll learn the tools to write human history from human remains.

Core modules

  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Quantitative Methods in Anthropology and Archaeology
  • Research Design: planning, execution and presentation
  • Biological Anthropology I
  • Biological Anthropology II
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Osteology
  • Dissertation

Optional module

Choose from a range including:

  • Any units in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities to the value of 15 credits.


  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Projects


  • Coursework assignments
  • Dissertation

Part-time study

This course can be taken full-time or part-time.

If you study part-time, you'll take two 15-credit modules in each semester during Year 1 and Year 2, and either a dissertation or placement module over the summer of Year 2. We arrange for you to attend two days a week but we try to be as flexible as possible.

Apply now

Margaret James, postgraduate student of the Department of Archeology

I love the mix of both theoretical and practical teaching we get. We have seminars but we also get to handle the materials, which is fun and interesting.

Margaret James, postgraduate student in Department of Archaeology

Key facts

Course duration

  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 honours degree in archaeology or anthropology or with equivalent qualifications, for example in biological sciences, preferably with some experience of archaeological practice.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

Fees and funding

If you accept a place on one of our courses, you may be eligible to apply for WRoCAH and University of Sheffield studentships. If you're considering applying for funding, we recommend you contact us as soon as possible.

Financial information for postgraduate taught courses

Specialist facilities

You'll have everything you need to explore your ideas. We have a complex of laboratories, imaging and GIS resources and storage facilities.

There are labs for research and teaching in environmental archaeology, human and animal skeletal analysis, landscape and aerial archaeology, and materials sciences.

World-leading expertise

Publications by our staff have become standard texts on their respective subjects. Our research is organised into six areas: Landscape Archaeology; Material Culture Studies; Medieval Archaeology; Funerary Archaeology; The Archaeology of the Mediterranean and Bioarchaeology.

There are several specialised research centres here: Sheffield Centre for Aegean Archaeology, Sheffield Centre for Archaeobotany and Ancient Land-Use, and Zooarchaeology Laboratory. Their projects, conferences and seminars all add to the quality of your course.

Your career

Any one of our courses will prepare you for a PhD and a research career. Some courses have an optional vocational track that trains you for specific types of jobs.

Sheffield graduates hold archaeological posts in Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia. They use their expertise in universities, museums, archaeological consultancies, heritage parks and government. Jobs include Historic Buildings Projects Officer, Commercial Field Archaeologist and Postdoctoral Researcher.

Global fieldwork

We offer the opportunity for you to get involved in our research projects in the UK, mainland Europe, Asia and Africa.

How we teach

Our students come from all around the world. The content of our courses reflects this. You can expect a balanced timetable of lectures, seminars and practicals. Fieldwork is an important part of all our courses.

Apply now

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It is a quick and easy process.

Postgraduate Online Application Form

Any questions?

If you'd like to know more about any aspect of our courses, contact us:

T: +44 (0)114 222 2900