Bioarchaeology MSc

Course fees (2018/19 entry)

Option / fee Value
Home/EU full-time annual tuition fee: £6,500
International full time annual tuition fee: £14,450

Course type



Natural Sciences and Psychology

Study mode

Full Time (1 year)

About your course

Bioarchaeology is an exciting and fast-moving interdisciplinary field which combines archaeology with the natural sciences to discover how ancient populations lived. Study for this Masters in Bioarchaeology at Liverpool John Moores University and gain hands-on experience of archaeology excavations at the Poulton Project, carry out novel research and discover new laboratory techniques.

  • Complete this Masters degree in one year (full-time)
  • Gain a broad-based foundation in the field of Bioarchaeology, combining theoretical knowledge and hands-on applied learning at the cutting edge of Bioarchaeology
  • Benefit from world-leading, specialist teaching in dental anthropology, ancient DNA and virtual methods in bioarchaeology, with lectures and practical sessions delivered by specialists in their field
  • Learn from our academic team of internationally recognised experts who are active in research – both in the UK and abroad – through our Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology
  • Study in some of the best-equipped specialist laboratory settings in the country, featuring extensive human skeletal collections and well-equipped research laboratories    
  • Look forward to excellent employment prospects in a wide range of disciplines

I would definitely recommend this course. I particularly enjoyed the anthropological and archaeological elements of the programme. Studying Bioarchaeology at LJMU has inspired me to go further in my academic career

Aline Tarmann

You are taught using real skeletal material that allows you to understand skeletal anatomy in its true form. Many universities don’t have access to large skeletal collections and LJMU utilises this collection fantastically, allowing students to study it throughout the year. This has really advanced my skills in osteology

Daniel Charters

Introduction to the School

Bioarchaeology students use our new human osteology laboratories in the James Parsons Building of the City Campus.

This purpose-built facility stores the osteology collections and also specialist equipment for digital radiography and 3-dimensional imaging, such as laser scanners and microscribes for advanced morphometric studies.

Our campus provides other advanced laboratories for soil, animal and ancient DNA analyses and IT facilities supported by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team of technical staff, many of whom are actively engaged in research and scholarly activity in the field. 

We have a close working relationship with the Poulton Project, an archaeological excavation, where you will be able to assist in the excavation a Medieval cemetery.

This collaboration also serves as a great opportunity to observe and learn details about the management of archaeological sites, which is one of the possible career prospects for our graduates.

In addition, you will be encouraged to become members and participate in various bioarchaeology associations.

Why study this course at LJMU?

This dynamic programme provides you with a broad-based foundation in the field of Bioarchaeology – the study of human and other biological remains from archaeological sites – while at the same time achieving standards necessary for employment or further study in this field.

You will learn the method and theory of the analysis and interpretation of human skeletons and other biological remains from archaeological contexts.You will also will have the unique opportunity to excavate and analyse human remains using the skills learned during the programme.

You will undertake a minimum of two weeks of excavation practice. The course offers the opportunity to take part in archaeological excavations at the Poulton Project archaeological site near Chester or join staff members on their excavations abroad. You will also be supported by the Faculty of Science placement learning support unit to find suitable excavations to take part in.

The programme focuses on biological remains from archaeological contexts, however the skills learned will also be applicable to living humans and animals.

Archaeological field skills and excavation form an integral component of the degree. The skills taught throughout this programme will enable graduates to find employment in a wide range of careers, not only those related to archaeology, but also in wider fields of health, education, administration and business.

Programme outline and structure

The programme combines theoretical knowledge and hands-on applied learning at the cutting edge of the field of bioarchaeology.

LJMU has world-leading specialist teaching in dental anthropology, ancient DNA and virtual methods in bioarchaeology, which is delivered through lectures and practicals by specialists.

Our academic team of internationally recognised experts are active researchers – both in Britain and abroad – through our Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology. The Centre was founded in 2004 and specialises in forensic anthropology, human variation and evolution and the study of animal societies. Our teaching staff offer a programme of study that combines theoretical knowledge and hands-on applied learning.

At LJMU we have some of the best-equipped specialist laboratory settings in the country. Our outstanding facilities include:

  • Anthropology laboratories with a dedicated laboratory for postgraduate research
  • DNA laboratory facilities, including ancient DNA laboratories
  • An extensive human skeletal reference collection
  • State-of-the-art surveying equipment (including resistivity equipment, magnetometer, differential and hand-held GPS and total station theodolite)
  • A dedicated virtual anthropology laboratory with laser scanners, 3D printers, photogrammetry equipment, digital X-ray facilities and specialist software for CT and other big data processing
  • Clean labs with fume cupboards for chemical work
  • A drone technology laboratory with simulator facilities
  • Scanning electron, laser confocal and other high-end microscopes
  • Wet labs for artefact and environmental sample processing
  • Sets of high and low-power teaching microscopes

What you will study on this degree

You will study the following modules:

  • Archaeological Science and Ancient DNA
    Provides an understanding and critical awareness of ancient DNA and its use in bioarchaeology. Include hands-on practicals and workshops. Archaeological Science covers palaeoanthropology, world archaeology and current methods such as radiocarbon dates (C14 dating) and stable isotopes.
  • Dental Anthropology
    Provides the theoretical knowledge and practical experience required by a bioarchaeologist to identify and examine human teeth, and to use them to characterise and compare both samples and individuals. 
  • Advanced Osteology and Skeletal Pathology
    Provides an advanced knowledge of the human skeleton and the ability to identify animal bones, methods for the determination of the biological profile, curation and pathological processes.
  • Virtual Methods and Topics in Bioarchaeology
    Focuses on attaining skills from computer-based analytical techniques and their applications to bioarchaeology. Covers geometric morphometrics, 2D and 3D data capture techniques including laser and CT scanning, drone technology and GIS methods

  • Research Methods
    Covers a wide range of research skills including research/project design, time keeping, ethics, health and safety and statistics.
  • Archaeological Field Skills
    Topics introduced in Archaeological Science are further explored with emphasis on archaeological fieldwork for both research and professional excavations. Students learn excavation planning, execution and reporting. Includes assessed fieldwork and a compulsory competency placement of a minimum of two weeks’ excavation of an archaeological site.
  • Research Project
    An original research project written up as a c.15,000 word dissertation. Many of our students go on to publish their thesis with their supervisors and present their work at national and international conferences.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.

How will I be assessed?


We aim to educate students in stimulating ways to help you to develop intellectual skills for life and employment in the contemporary world. We deliver the programme through lectures, hands-on workshops, practicals and fieldtrips. The programme is taught full- time. Due to the practical hands-on learning and fieldwork, scheduled activities will vary from three to five days per week.  

Formal classes will be based on a mixture of lectures, practicals and workshops, the proportion of which will vary between modules. Each student will be allocated a personal tutor who will be their dissertation supervisor.

For your research project you may find yourself working in our state-of-the art laboratory facilities, in the field or a museum collecting data, or you may choose to do your project on our LJMU’s large skeletal collections. The assessments are a combination of reports, essays, tests and oral and poster presentations. The dissertation will be up to 15,000 words and is an original piece of research on a topic of your choice in discussion with your dissertation supervisor.

Staff research interests

Our team are well-established members of this exciting discipline both within the UK and internationally.

All members of staff are active researchers and regularly attend conferences, symposia and workshops. They also conduct research through our Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology. This active engagement in the discipline enables us to provide top quality teaching by experts in their field.

Entry requirements (Home)

  • You will need an Honours degree (minimum 2.1) in anthropology, archaeology or a related field
  • Alternative qualifications, coupled with a significant period of relevant work experience, will also be considered

Entry requirements (International)

LJMU welcomes applications from international students. In addition to normal entry requirements, you will be expected to demonstrate a very good level of English language competence, for example an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent. Please note: specific courses may require higher levels of English language competence.

For North American students, a GPA of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 (or equivalent) is usually required.​

If you have applied to study a full-time taught Masters, MRes, MPhil or PhD at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate. It can take four to six weeks to receive an ATAS certificate, so please make sure you apply as early as possible. You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for guidance.

 Please note: international students entering on a Tier 4 visa cannot study part time. Students entering the UK on alternate types of visa may be in a position to study part time. Please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for further details before making your application. 

 In order to obtain a visa you will also need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application. So please make sure that your finances are in place before applying. For more details, go to our international website

For advice on any aspect of the application process, please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team

Will I be interviewed?



6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)


58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)

Is RPL accepted on this programme?


Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

Financial support

Tuition fees

All students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or in instalments. If you need advice about how to pay your tuition fees, please email LJMU’s Student Funding Team.

Funding sources

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From Postgraduate Masters Loans and Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Graduate employment

Postgraduate level study is highly recommended for a career in Bioarchaeology.

The MSc in Bioarchaeology is designed to develop skills of analysis, assessment and interpretation of biological archaeological remains and refine your ability to produce written and oral reports. The broad-based nature of the subject and the skills it provides give a strong grounding for a wide range of careers, not only those related to archaeology but also in the wider fields of education, health, administration and business. Some graduates combine their initial job with voluntary archaeological work or with further part-time study of the subject. 

Graduates may go on to work as:

  • Archaeological Assistants/Contract Archaeologists
  • Osteoarchaeologists
  • Museum Curators
  • Field Archaeologists
  • Forensic practitioners
  • Teachers
  • Community Archaeologists
  • They may also study for a PhD in subjects such as Anthropology and Zooarchaeology.

Beyond what archaeology teaches about the past and the present, it is an excellent subject for acquiring the following transferable career skills:

  • Communication
  • Financial management
  • IT skills
  • Presentation skills (both oral and written)
  • Research skills
  • Literacy and writing skills
  • Numeracy
  • Patience/accuracy
  • Problem solving
  • Responsibility/leadership
  • Project management and logistics
  • Self-motivation
  • Team work
  • Time management

International Study

International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.

Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.

Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.

Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting for more information and advice.


LJMU has launched a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University.

These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.

You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here:

Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:

  • new international applicants
  • current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
  • LJMU international alumni

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.

Take the next steps towards your future today