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F4K809 Palaeopathology MSc Postgraduate Taught 2012


UCAS code F4K809
Degree MSc
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time) or 2 years (part-time)
Start Date 2012-10-01
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1154

Course Content


Palaeopathology is the study of past disease in human remains. This lecture, seminar and laboratory based MSc equips students with the theoretical and practical knowledge of how to study and interpret data collected from human remains. The emphasis is on health and well-being using a multidisciplinary approach, linking biological evidence for disease with cultural data (the bioarchaeological approach). This course is unique in the world and it takes a holistic view of disease, as seen in a clinical context today, and prepares students for undertaking significant research projects in this subject, or working in contract archaeology. It is aimed at graduates mainly in archaeology and anthropology with or without past experience of knowledge in this field, and for those who aspire to continue as into a PhD programme or work in contract archaeology.

Course Structure

Two taught modules in the Epiphany term (Research and Study Skills in Archaeological Science and Identification and Analysis of the Normal Human Skeleton), and two taught modules in Michaelmas term (Palaeopathology: Theory and Method; Themes in Palaeopathology), with the double module dissertation over Easter term and the summer (submitted early September).

Core Modules

  • Research and Study Skills in Archaeological Science
  • Identification and Analysis of the Normal Human Skeleton
  • Palaeopathology: Theory and Method
  • Themes in Palaeopathology
  • Dissertation (double module).

Teaching and assessment details

A mix of assessment methods are used: essays, practical tests, poster, article critique, grant application, statistics exercise.

English Language Requirements

Candidates whose first language is not English will normally be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language by possessing: a recent English language test score of 7.0 or above in IELTS with no component under 6.5; or 600 or above in TOEFL PBT; or 102 or above with no element below 25 in TOEFL IBT; or an equivalent qualification.

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

A minimum of an Upper 2nd class degree or equivalent; GPA of 3.0 or above.

English Language requirements


Requirements and Admissions

You can apply to our postgraduate programmes via our online application process.

Fees and Funding

Fees have not been set for this academic year.


Candidates may apply for a range of departmental grants and awards including an AHRC studentship providing full UK/EU fees and a maintenance grant to support full time MA and MSc study as well as departmental and faculty awards and bursaries.

For more information on funding opportunities, visit the University's funding database.

Career Opportunities


Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.

For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.

Open days and visits

Campus tours

Are you interested in studying at Durham University? Then why not come along to one of our Campus Tours? They run regularly at Durham City and Queen's Campus, Stockton on Wednesday afternoons. For further information, please click here.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits

Department Information



Our Department was ranked as the best archaeology research department in the UK Government Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) for 2008, with the highest overall score and highest percentage of 4* (world-class) and 3* (internationally excellent) research. We are positioned in the top four archaeology departmentsin the UK by The Independent. Complete University Guide 2012.

Our taught Masters courses are amongst the best in their fields with the MA in Museum and Artefact Studies, the MA in Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects and the MSc in  Palaeopathology all having particular strengths for professional/vocational development as well as preparation for a PhD. The MA in Archaeology and the new MSc in Archaeological Science offer wide-ranging professional training and provide an ideal preparation for doctoral research.

A thriving group of postgraduate research students, both at Masters and PhD levels, contributes to the diversity of interests that underpins the Department's vibrant research environment.


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