Forensic Anthropology

Forensic Anthropology 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

This Masters course at Liverpool John Moores University provides the skills and knowledge to forge a career in forensic anthropology. You will also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field and carry out novel research.

  • Complete this masters degree in one year (full time)
  • Benefit from specialised forensic science labs and facilities
  • Study a course developed and delivered by leading researchers
  • Gain hands-on experience in the field
  • Explore leading methodologies for identification of unknown individuals
  • Discover how stratigraphic excavation techniques are used to solve missing person cases
  • Look forward to employment opportunities in forensic anthropology and related fields
  • Take an optional module in skeletal anatomy – a complete introduction to working with bones

This programme gives you the opportunity to learn and work closely with lecturers that are also practitioners in the field, from forensic anthropology to forensic sciences and genetics.

The recently refurbished bioarchaeology facilities hold analytical equipment for morphometric analysis, digital radiography and 3-dimensional imaging as well as an extensive human skeletal collection which you will have access to for teaching and research. This is one of the few places where you will work daily with human bones as part of your modules.

Introduction to the School

You will be able to use our new human osteology laboratories in the James Parsons Building of the City Campus.

This purpose-built facility stores the osteological collections and also specialist equipment for digital x-ray and 3-dimensional imagining, as well as microscribes for three-dimensional morphometric studies.

Our campus provides other advanced laboratory 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, where you will have the opportunity to get involved. This serves as a great chance to observe and learn details about the management of archaeological sites, which one of the possible career prospects for our graduates. 

Why study this course at LJMU?

This programme provides the Masters level specialist knowledge that you need for roles in forensic anthropology. The course builds on scientific learning from undergraduate level and provides the opportunity to demonstrate field research acumen.

The programme aims to help you understand the:

  • use of techniques from physical anthropology to analyse and identify human remains
  • medico-legal parameters and techniques for the recovery and identification of human remains
  • reconstruction of aspects of human identity and osteobiography from the skeleton
  • physical settings and contexts in which human remains are found
  • courtroom skills necessary to present the result in a trial

You will learn how to:

  • apply a broad knowledge base of human osteology and biology to a range of real and theoretical forensic applications
  • evaluate the burial contexts of human remains and use this to determine the natural and anthropogenic processes involved in creating them
  • operate in a range of science contexts, and take responsibility for their contributions and outputs
  • generate information using primary observations of human osteology and use these to form responses to the problem presented

The calibre and research standing of academic staff will provide you will valuable experience and connections for your career.

Programme outline and structure

Forensic Anthropology is the combination of physical anthropological knowledge, and the application of forensic methods and techniques. The discipline is used by the justice system to solve cases where a missing person or an unknown murder victim is involved.

The MSc in Forensic Anthropology will provide you with the skills and knowledge required to pursue a career in the search for missing people, recovery of evidence and human remains from clandestine graves and identification of unknown corpses by osteological analysis. 

The programme will develop a broad understanding of these issues, including excavation, laboratory analysis and the courtroom skills necessary to present findings in a trial. You will also have the opportunity to learn analytical techniques, taphonomic analysis, field methods and genetic applications.

The programme develops a high profile curriculum, which is supported by a structured lecture programme, workshops and seminars in the department’s well-equipped specialist laboratories.

The MSc in Forensic Anthropology is also supported by a skeletal reference collection and staff members are currently involved around the world as practitioners in forensic cases. When you complete the course you will have the skills to continue into academic research or employment as a forensic anthropologist.

What you will study on this degree

Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.

Level 7

  • Advanced research methods
  • Project management and employability skills
  • Academic and non-academic dissemination
  • Human identification from skeletal remains
  • Human identification from genetic evidence
  • Dental anthropology
  • Biomechanics and trauma analysis
  • Taphonomy
  • Excavation techniques
  • Paleopathology
  • Laws and courtroom skills
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Forensic sciences, chemistry and biosciences

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Academic Framework reviews are conducted by LJMU from time to time to ensure that academic standards continue to be maintained. A review is currently in progress and will be operational for the academic year 2016/2017. Final details of this programme’s designated core and option modules will be made available on LJMU’s website as soon as possible and prior to formal enrolment for the academic year 2016/2017.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.

    How will I be assessed?

    You will learn through a combination of interactive lectures, workshops, CAL, seminars, literature reviews, extended essays, portfolios, oral presentations, directed supervisions and project work.

    Practical skills will involve activities, demonstrations, project work, external visits and seminars (including high profile external/internal speakers).

    The five-month project will develop your knowledge and understanding of concepts and theories applicable to the analysis of human remains from forensic contexts.

    Assessments on the course include a combination of unseen/seen examination papers (essay and interpretative style questions) and coursework in the form of laboratory reports, essays, case studies, oral examination, poster presentation, scientific paper production, e-portfolio, problem solving exercises, and project thesis.

    Staff research interests

    Our team are well-established figures in this discipline both within the UK and internationally.

    Several members of the teaching team are involved in forensic projects at various locations around the world. In addition, they are members of major forensic science associations and regularly present their work at international meetings.

    Staff are also involved in overseas research in association with international partners and publication in high profile journals.

    Working relationships have been established with the University of Florence (Italy), the University of Athens (Greece), the Natural History Museum (London), the Centre Archéologique de la Grotte Scladina (Belgium), Universtiy of Tübingen and Max Plank Institute for History and the Sciences (Germany), Universiy of Algarve (Portugal), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Universidad de Barcelona (Spain) and the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (University of Manchester).

    Entry requirements (Home)

    A good second class honours degree in a relevant scientific discipline such as anthropology, anatomy or forensic sciences, supported by an academic reference. International students must also have an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component.

    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. 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

    Completing this MSc degree will give you the skills to continue into academic research or forge a career as a forensic anthropologist.

    Opportunities may include the Police, Serious Organised Crime Agency, and MI5. The Natural History Museum is one of many museums who employ forensic anthropologists and you could also consider graduate schemes within the public sector with for example: National Government Development Programme, Civil Service, NHS Management Training Scheme and NHS Clinical Scientist Training Programme. 

    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.

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