MSc in Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology


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Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description


The course is designed to provide students with an understanding of how traditional and advanced techniques from archaeology and physical anthropology can be applied in the forensic context. The course offers students a wide range of different experiences with unique facilities available to no other university in the UK. The course is highly practical and hands-on, aiming to produce forensic experts with a strong background to later enter the field and be capable of giving expert witness testimonies in a courtroom situation and elsewhere. Students come from a wide range of backgrounds, usually with a science or forensic science first degree. Many students come from abroad, especially in Europe, Africa and North America. The MSc Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology course is part of the MSc Forensic Programme which has been formally accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. This course is designed to give a broad introduction to the subject, rapidly advancing into the understanding of cutting-edge research and the latest methodologies. Students have access to our purpose-built outdoor research facility - the Forensic Fieldwork Facility one of only two in the country. The facility has been specifically designed to enable research into animal decomposition, taphonomy, search and location and excavation of buried remains.

Course structure

Students are required to take eight core modules and choose three elective modules based on their particular background, future requirements or interests. This is followed by a four-month research project and thesis.

Example modules


  • Analytical Techniques
  • Courtroom Skills
  • Forensic Archaeology: Mass Grave Excavation
  • Forensic Archaeology: Recovering Buried Remains
  • Fundamentals of Forensic Anthropology: Osteology
  • Further Forensic Anthropology: Identification
  • Investigation and Evidence Collection
  • Reasoning for Forensic Science
  • Research Project


  • Introductory Studies
  • Fakes and Forgeries
  • Fires, Explosions and their Investigation
  • Introduction to Firearms Investigations and Forensic Ballistics
  • Mass Fatality Incidents
  • Practical Archaeological Excavation
  • Radiographic Investigations in Forensic Science
  • Trace Evidence
  • Forensic Exploitation and Intelligence
  • Digital Crime and Investigation
  • Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Capability
  • Environmental Forensic Science
  • Hazardous Forensics

Individual project

The individual project takes four months from April to July. The student selects from a range of titles or may propose their own topic. Most are practically or experimentally based using Cranfield’s unique facilities.

Future career

Prepares you to work in the field of forensic archaeology or anthropology within forensic laboratories, police departments, government bodies, non-governmental organisations, museums, commercial archaeological companies and universities. It is also a necessary introduction that could lead to conducting research at PhD level in the subject.

Entry requirements

A first or second class Honours degree or equivalent in archaeology, forensic science or scientific discipline, or the professional equivalent. Students with other degrees who can show knowledge of and interest in the scientific elements of the subject will also be considered.

Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

Cranfield's distinctive expertise is in our deep understanding of technology and management and how these work together to benefit the world.

Cranfield's distinctive expertise is in our deep understanding of technology and management and how these work together to benefit the world. Read less
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