MSc Palaeoanthropology

Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

We inspire students to explore and excel through imaginative teaching and the world-leading research we conduct across the globe.

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


About the course

September 2018 start

Course description

What does it mean to be human? What are the origins of our species? Archaeological and palaeontological discoveries help us answer these fundamental questions and provide insights into human cognition, behaviour and life ways.

On this course you'll study human evolution by evaluating the ultimate source of information – the fossil record.

We'll teach you to think critically and train you in the analytical techniques required to describe and interpret the fossil evidence for early hominid and human evolution.

Our approach is both science- and humanities-based. You'll explore themes such as the evolution of bipedalism, cognition and the origins of modernity, providing you with a unique combination of biological anthropology, human and comparative anatomy, primatology and hominid palaeontology.

We'll give you an introduction to the use of innovative technologies for 2D and 3D imaging of skeletal and fossil materials in palaeoanthropological research. The course is designed to appeal to those who want to create a strong platform for doctoral research in palaeoanthropology, as well as those who just want to deepen their understanding of our extinct ancestors.

You'll get unlimited access to excellent lab facilities and extensive collections of skeletons and replica casts of modern humans, primates and fossil hominins. A wide range of up-to-date resources are available in the department's palaeoanthropology and osteology teaching laboratories.

Nicoletta Moca, MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology

Core modules

The course offers a range of closely integrated core modules in human anatomy and comparative osteology which enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the palaeoanthropological record.

  • Human Evolution: Theory & Practice in Research
  • Quantitative methods in anthropology and archaeology
  • Research design: planning, execution and presentation
  • Human anatomy
  • Human osteology
  • Evolutionary anatomy

Optional modules

Select modules to the value of 30 credits from across the Faculties of Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences or Science.

Course duration

  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years 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.

Entry requirements

A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree in archaeology, anthropology, or one of the natural or earth sciences. Students with an academic background or experience in other relevant fields may also be considered, and should contact us.

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

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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. There are also a number of departmental and programme-specific scholarships available each year. See our website for details.

Financial information for postgraduate taught 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:

E: archaeology@sheffield.ac.uk
T: +44 (0)114 222 2900

The course information set out here may change before you begin, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the start date.