MSc Osteoarchaeology


• The MSc Osteoarchaeology combines the study of human and animal bones from archaeological sites, using established as well as cutting-edge approaches. Students will be trained in both specialisms, but can decide to specialise in one of them.
• It is an intensive 1-year (or 2-years part-time) post-graduate taught degree; through your dissertation you will have the opportunity to develop your own original research.
• The teaching will consist of both lab-based practical sessions and theoretical lectures and seminars.
World-wide case studies will be used and all phases of human history will be discussed.
• Students will join vibrant research teams in human osteology and zooarchaeology and will play an active part in the shaping of their own programmes of study.
• Students will have unlimited access to excellent lab facilities and some of the best human and animal remain collections in the world.
• Due to the prominence of the Sheffield research environment, graduates from this programme will be in a prime position to develop further their professional careers.

Osteoarchaeology students

Student and graduate profiles

Masters student research in Osteoarchaeology

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Aeron Fehir

"I think that the mixture of theoretical and practical exercises has prepared us very well for future careers in either commercial and academic branches of archaeology. It was also extremely easy to get hold of resources if one was struggling or wanted additional information, examples or practice with material."

Aaron Fehir - MSc Osteoarchaeology 2016

Duration One year full-time or two years part-time.
Semesters The teaching component of the programme will commence late September and is based on semesters (Autumn/Spring). Semester dates Over the summer you will undertake your independent research in consultation with an academic supervisor.
Qualification This programme is offered as a MSc (180 credits), Diploma (120 credits) or a Certificate (60 credits).
Assessment Typical forms of assessment include essays, practical tests, reports, presentations and completion of a research-led dissertation.*

Information relates to 2019-20 academic year: The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Core Modules:

These compulsory modules will provide you with the key knowledge and understanding for research in osteoarchaeology.

*While some dissertation projects or work placements do not involve any additional cost to the student, you may incur some expenses depending on the location of your placement or if you choose a dissertation topic that is not resourced by the department.  You will be expected to cover the cost of printing and binding two copies of your dissertation/placement report.

Optional Modules:

You will chose modules worth either 15 or 30 credits, which can also include modules up to the value of 15 credits in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Availability varies from year to year but the module list gives a flavour of the kind of specialised modules we will offer.  Modules that you may find particularly relevant to your programme include:

Full programme specifications are also available.


Core Teaching Staff:

Umberto AlbarellaProf Umberto Albarella (Programme Director)

Umberto specialises in the study of animal bones from archaeological sites (zooarchaeology). His research is wide-ranging and strongly oriented towards the integration of different aspects of archaeology. His work is predominantly based in Britain and Italy and he has also worked in Armenia, Greece, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France and Portugal.

Lizzy CraigDr Lizzy Craig-Atkins

Lizzy is a specialist in human osteology and palaeopathology with particular interests in multidisciplinary approaches to questions surrounding past population structures, health, disease and lifestyle. She has worked with human remains from many periods and locations, but her primarily focus is on material from post-Roman to modern periods in the UK.

Kevin KuykendallDr Kevin Kuykendall

Kevin’s research interests include Plio-Pleistocene hominid fossil site survey and excavation, evolution of early hominid life history, the origin and evolution of Homo sapiens in Africa evolution and variation of the paranasal sinuses in primates.

Pia NystromDr Pia Nystrom

Pia has many research interests. Those of special interest are examination of skeletal pathology in non-human primates using standards developed for the human species, examining the influence of age, sex, positional behaviour, and captivity. The reconstruction of diet in past societies, especially on an individual level, and how diet impact on individual health, wealth and position within a population. The position of children in past societies, their health and well-being and how well integrated they were within the adult social world.

Angelos Hadjikoumis

Dr Angelos Hadjikoumis

Angelos has been a zooarchaeologist for the last 11 years with work and research experience in several countries such as Spain, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Cyprus and Iraq. After receiving his Ptychion (BA) in History and Archaeology from the University of Athens, he pursued postgraduate studies (MSc in Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy) at the University of Sheffield, followed by a PhD in zooarchaeology. Since the completion of his PhD in 2010, Angelos has been involved in post-doctoral research projects in several countries and has worked in the commercial archaeology sector.


Academic Requirements:

A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree (GPA 3.0) in an arts, humanities or science subject is usually required. Your interest in and knowledge of archaeological matters are more important than the specific discipline of your undergraduate degree. EU and international student

entry requirements can be found using the link below:

English Language Requirements:

For applicants whose first language is not English, IELTS is the preferred test of language. You need an IELTS score of 6.5, with at least 5.5 in all the component tests. Further information can be obtained from the following link:


Funding options, instalment plans and tuition fee information are located at:

There may be additional costs associated with any laboratory work you may undertake such as purchase of laboratory coats, dissection kit (Human Anatomy). For field work you would be required to ensure you have appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear, as well as first aid and emergency equipment. You will also need to purchase books, stationery, IT accessories, etc.

How to Apply:

Applications forms are completed on-line at the following link:

Applying to start in over 12 months time?

Please feel free to submit your application via our online system, however please note that we will not be able to process your application for this course until 12 months before your proposed start date.

Visit Us:

If you’re considering doing a postgraduate programme at Sheffield, you are very welcome to visit us. You can attend an open day or a visit afternoon, which will include a tour of the University campus and the department, or contact the department directly ( to arrange a personal visit to meet with the director of your chosen programme.


We are truly international in our scope and ethos. Our students come to us from all over the World. Their vibrancy, pursuit of knowledge and divergent experience informs our debates and provokes lively discussion. We encourage applicants to visit the following webpages aimed specifically at our EU and international students.

We also have a departmental page for our international applicants:

Prospective EU Students

"Before coming to Sheffield I was nervous about finding my place and feeling at home so far from my family and friends. By now, eight months later, I can very confidently say the city of Sheffield, the University, and especially the zooarchaeology lab have welcomed me, challenged me, and become more and more a home to me than I ever could have imagined. This program has given me the confidence and training to approach research with a wide arsenal of invaluable identification and analysis techniques. Sheffield archaeology is wonderful and I haven’t regretted the decision to come here for a second."

Dani Buffa – From the United States, MSc Osteoarchaeology 2016

Dani Buffa

Contact us

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


T: +44 (0) 114 222 2900

Students investigating animal bones

A skull being excavated