View content
Jump to:


  • Combine theoretical knowledge and practical experience
  • Access a range of skeletal collections
  • Research the human bioarchaeological topic of your choice

If there’s a human bioarchaeological research topic which you’d to follow to PhD, but you need to acquire new research skills or hone existing ones, this course is for you. It’s also suitable if you are already working in the archaeology, heritage or environment sector and would like to enhance your research experience.

Human Bioarchaeology at Winchester offers you an intensive research training programme with a high level of supervisorial contact. Examine approaches and methodologies, theoretical underpinnings and practical applications in archaeological research, with some modules focusing on the practical and theoretical aspects specific to Human Bioarchaeology. Through lectures, laboratory practicals, seminars and workshops you have opportunities to explore and discuss your experiences.

Departmental staff have particular expertise and access to skeletal collections relevant to research in The Roman Period, The Early and Later Medieval Periods, Medieval Hospitals, Leprosy in the Medieval Period, Skeletal Trauma, Deviant Burials, Commingled and Disarticulated Remains, and Cremated Remains.

You complete modules in Research Methods and Skills, Analysing and Presenting Archaeological Data, Human Skeletal Anatomy and Fundamentals of Skeletal Analysis and  Palaeopathology. There is also a module that takes the you through the process of producing an academic standard research paper. You then apply your research skills in the production of a substantive piece of research of 20,000 to 25,000 words on a human bioarchaeological topic of your choice, supervised by a member of staff with relevant research interests.

MRes Human Bioarchaeology is a useful basis for an advanced career within archaeology or a related discipline, or as preparation for undertaking an MPhil or PhD.


MRes Human Bioarchaeology acts as a basis for an advanced career within archaeology, or related discipline, or as preparation for undertaking an MPhil or PhD.


Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Learning and teaching

Modes of teaching include lectures, laboratory practicals, seminars and workshops. Attendance at departmental/research centre seminars enables students to share their experiences.


Taught elements of the course take place on campus in Winchester.


Assessment is by means of a series of essays, reports, exams and a blog/diary. One module takes the student through the process of producing an academic standard research paper. Students apply the research skills developed in the production of a substantive piece of research of 20,000-25,000 words on a Human Bioarchaeological topic of their choice, supervised by a member of staff with relevant research interests.

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.


Normally a first or second-class Honours degree or professional experience in the area of study. Ideally applicants will have already taken an undergraduate level module in Human Bioarchaeology/Human Osteology or equivalent, have participated in a bioarchaeological/osteological field school, or have relevant professional experience.


Please note the Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate exit qualifications have a different title to reflect the research element: PgDip Human Bioarchaeological Research and PgCert Human Bioarchaeological Research.

If English is not your first language:

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in writing or equivalent

Course Enquiries and Applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234

Send us a message

International Students

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by emailing our International Recruitment Team at or calling +44 (0)1962 827023

Applications need to be submitted before the 31 May 2021. Late applications can be accepted throughout the remainder of the application year, for more information see our How to Apply section.

Visit us

Explore our campus and find out more about studying at Winchester by coming to one of our Open Evenings.

Year 1: Level 7

Modules Credits

Research Methods and Skills 20

In addition to developing the particular knowledge relating to given field of investigation, postgraduate students need both to reflect on the nature of that discipline, to identify its place in the range of human areas of intellectual investigation, to identify particular methods and skills relevant to their disciple from a wide range of methods and skills, to develop those skills and to begin their implementation in a significant and agreed topic of research. Students also use information technology to create bibliographies, make appropriate use of online resources, and to access research materials; they explore appropriate modes of research‐topic identification, hypothesis formation, and methodology selection; they practice techniques for moving from note taking, and data‐collection to the outlining, sectioning, writing‐up and presentation of the research project materials.

Analysing and Presenting Archaeological Data 20

Analysing and Presenting Archaeological Data provides subject specific research training in statistical, interpretative, graphical and bibliographic methods. The module commences with an evaluation of typical archaeological datasets, how they are acquired and how they can be analysed. Methods of exploratory data analysis are then introduced (e.g, use of simple graphs in spreadsheet packages), before teaching moves on to examine statistical methods of data analysis. The latter commence with bivariate approaches such as the Student T test and Pearson's R correlation coefficients, and then moves on to examining the application of multivariate methods such as principle components and cluster analysis. The second part of the module examines different approaches to data interpretation, beginning with processual theory and then moving on to post-processual paradigms. The third part of the module considers the production of illustrations in an archaeological dissertation. It begins by examining the use of GIS to produce simple distribution and site location maps, later moving on to the production of technical drawings using vector image software, and finally to tidying drawings/images using image processing packages. The final part of the module considers the use of bibliographic management software to research archaeological problems/themes and to output correctly formatted citations and bibliographies.

Open source software packages (e.g. R, QGIS, Inkscape and Mendeley) are used wherever possible.

Human Skeletal Anatomy and Fundamentals of Skeletal Analysis 20

This module will examine the fundamental concepts and methods that underlie the analysis of archaeological skeletal remains. It will focus on a detailed discussion and demonstration of skeletal anatomy and on the techniques, including age estimation, sex determination, metric analysis and MNI calculations, which are vital in any osteological analysis. It will be taught through the use of laboratory-based lectures, demonstrations and practical sessions, which will give students extensive opportunities to work with real archaeological skeletal remains.

Palaeopathology 20

This module will focus on the concepts and methods involved in the analysis of palaeopathology and trauma in skeletal remains, and on the analysis of cremated bone. It will focus on a detailed discussion and demonstration of a wide range of pathological and traumatic conditions, how these manifest in the skeleton and how they can be used to make inferences about the lifestyles and health status of past populations. The topics that will be covered include: infectious disease, joint disease, metabolic disease, neoplastic disease, congenital conditions, dental disease, fractures, and sharp-force trauma. The module will also include a detailed discussion and demonstration of the specific methods used in the analysis of cremated remains. It will be taught through the use of laboratory-based lectures, demonstrations and practical sessions, which will give students extensive opportunities to work with real archaeological skeletal remains.

Personal Research Methodology 20

This module provides a tailor-made training scheme for the student’s own personal research plan. Working closely with the student’s supervisor, the student will prepare an outline bibliography/literature review as part of the assessment and which will form the core of the final dissertation topic. This database of sources, which will be drawn from a variety of media, will be continually critiqued in tutorial situations, and guidance for improvement discussed. In addition, the student will keep a blog or diary (also assessed) within which their personal and academic development with regards to the personal research plan is discussed and critiqued.

Dissertation 80

Students will pursue independent study and research, culminating in a dissertation of 25,000 words. This is the equivalent of four modules and will involve detailed input and support by a named supervisor appointed mid-way through Semester 1 as part of the RT 7122 monitoring and training process.

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at
The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed above.

Progression from one level of the programme to the next is subject to meeting the University’s academic regulations.

2021 Course Tuition Fees

UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

Full-time entry | £6,800
Part-time entry | £3,400 p/a

Total Cost | £6,800

International Students*

Full-time entry | £13,800
Part-time entry | £6,900 p/a

Total Cost | £13,800

*Please note, the tuition fees for students from the EU (excluding UK and Republic of Ireland) are yet to be confirmed by the University.


As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:


Core texts

Multiple copies of core text are held within the library and e-books are identified where possible, however due to the popularity of some books, there will not be enough availability for every student. It is advised that students look into purchasing second-hand copies. Indicative costs is £150.


Printing and binding

The University is pleased to offer our students a free printing allowance of £20 each academic year. This will print around 500 A4 mono pages. If students wish to print more, printer credit can be topped up by the student. The University and Student Union are champions of sustainability and we ask all our students to consider the environmental impact before printing. Our Reprographics team also offer printing and binding services, including dissertation binding which may be required by your course with an indicative coast of £1.50-£3.


We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards.

Key course details

Full-time: 1 year Part-time: 2 years
Typical offer
Normally a first or second-class Honours degree in Archaeology or a related discipline. See more information below.
On campus, Winchester