Bioarchaeology at York combines advanced osteoarchaeological techniques with the molecular analysis of human remains. You'll be encouraged to immerse yourself in the study of stable isotopes, lipid residue analysis, palaeoproteomics and ancient DNA – and play an active role in the development of new techniques in this constantly evolving branch of archaeology.
We offer advanced training in human osteoarchaeology, delivered by the UK’s leading practitioners, and get the chance to study ancient biomolecules in world-class facilities. The course offers a unique opportunity to combine bioarchaeology with complementary subjects and tailor a course to suit your interests. We also offer training in biomolecular analysis of artefacts (ceramics), other biological remains (animal bones, shells and plants) and historical archives (parchment).
You'll have an opportunity to use a wide range of in-house analytical equipment, take part in cutting-edge science and build essential practical skills whilst working alongside leading researchers and academics in a diverse range of specialisms. You'll also get the chance to work on research projects with original materials that are often ‘fresh out of the ground’, and thus contribute to pioneering research.
It was incredibly stimulating to see how much I developed as an academic over the time. As a mature student with years away from studies, due to excavations, I only have positive things to say about my studies in York, and would anytime recommend it to others.Theis, MSc Bioarchaeology
York is the UK's archaeological capital. You'll study in King's Manor, a beautiful Medieval building in the centre of the historic city.
Informality is one of our distinctive qualities - the atmosphere in our department is friendly, supportive and enthusiastic. We want you to develop your potential and thrive at York.
We were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011 in recognition of our dynamic research community and teaching excellence.
Through a combination of academic studies, practical training and dissertation research, this course provides a thorough grounding in all aspects of bioarchaeology theory, investigation and practice.
You'll study a total of 180 credits over the course. This is made up of two core modules, two shorter core skills modules and four option modules. Finally, you will hone your research skills by producing a dissertation and presenting an assessed lecture on your dissertation topic.
You will study two further 20-credit modules and two 5-credit 'skills' modules from our full range of options. Examples include:
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
In your final term of study, you will carry out research for and write your dissertation (80 credits) which will be 15-20,000 words in length. You'll also give an assessed lecture on your dissertation topic.
Examples of previous dissertation titles include:
Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.
|Full-time (1 year)||£8,040||£18,240|
|Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
|Part-time (3 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.
For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase (no more than 2% each year).
We don't anticipate there being any additional fees associated with this course. All books and resources you need will be available in the library or online and it isn't mandatory to buy your own copies. You may wish to set aside a small budget for photocopying, depending on how you like to work.
UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.
Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.
If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.
We have a variety of funding options available within the department.
You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.
Within a year I had made lifelong friends, learned how to juggle the science and humanitarian aspects of archaeology and, of course, developed a range of osteology skills that would inevitably contribute to shaping my career.Keneiloe, MSc Bioarchaeology
You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.
You'll be taught via a combination of lectures, seminars and lab-based practical work.
Teaching takes place primarily in the Environment building on Campus West, where Bioarchaeology has a dedicated floor. The building houses specialist laboratories for ancient DNA analysis, proteomics, microscopy, isotope geoscience and organic chemistry, as well as hi-technology teaching labs. You will have the chance to carry out projects with archaeologists at King’s Manor and with researchers in Biology, Environment and Geography, and Hull York Medical School.
Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.
You will be assessed by a variety of methods. Depending on which modules you opt to take, these could include:
The skills and techniques you'll develop are deployed widely in the field of archaeological research and exploration, but they are also valuable for a wide range of careers and further studies.
Many our MSc Bioarchaeology graduates go on to further research in bioarchaeological and environmental fields and on PhD courses in York and institutions worldwide.
Recent students have gone on to careers and research in a range of fields:
Thanks to the time and dedication of the staff, the structure of the course and the connections I made through York I was able to expand my skills and confidence and was thus able to take a fantastic professional opportunity as a researcher at the Centre for GeoGenetics in Copenhagen, where I continue to explore the possibilities of investigating our past through scientific application.Anna, MSc Bioarchaeology
|Undergraduate degree||2:1 or equivalent in Archaeology, Anthropology, Biology or related fields|
|Other qualifications and experience||Mature students or those with less conventional qualifications but with relevant professional experience and enthusiasm for this field will be considered. To find out if your professional experience or qualifications are appropriate, please contact the Course Director.|
|Other international qualifications||Equivalent qualifications from your country|
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS||6.5, minimum 6.5 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components|
|PTE Academic||61, minimum 61 in Writing and 55 in all other components|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, minimum 176 in Writing and 169 in all other components|
|TOEFL||87, minimum 23 in Writing and 21 in all other components|
|Trinity ISE III||Merit in all components|
|Duolingo||Minimum overall score of 115|
For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.
You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.
The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.
After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.
You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.
Get in touch if you have any questions
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