Forensic anthropology serves the investigative and judicial communities by analysing human remains for medicolegal purposes.
It has adopted a pivotal role in both UK and international investigations being core to issues of repatriation, mass disasters and war crimes.
overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2015
Why study this course at Dundee?
Since 2004 the University of Dundee has offered the first undergraduate degree programme in forensic anthropology in the UK. We are home to the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID), a centre which is regularly contacted for advice and input in high-profile identification cases both at home and abroad.
The Centre was awarded a prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in November 2013. Presented in recognition of 'world class excellence', the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are among the most highly-regarded awards for the UK’s universities and colleges.
What exactly is Forensic Anthropology?
Forensic Anthropology is best described as the analysis of human remains for the medicolegal purposes of establishing identity. It's a specialised area of science that requires detailed anatomical and osteological training. Being able to assign a name to the deceased is critical to the successful outcome of all legal investigations, and this becomes increasingly complex as the body passes through the various transitional phases of decomposition.
The course is centred around human anatomy as the identification of the deceased relies heavily on not only hard tissue but also soft tissue information. A complex subject such as identification requires a multidisciplinary approach that demands free collaboration with many other fields of research and teaching including medical and dental disciplines, biomedical sciences, environmental sciences, law and imaging analysis.
What is so good about this course?
Teaching staff delivering the course have national and international reputations, and several have practical experience of working in conflict zones including Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Iraq. The cases in which our staff have involvement are reflected in much of the research undertaken by the Centre, enabling it to maintain a high profile within the forensic community. In turn, this research feeds into our teaching, particularly at levels 3 and 4.
One of our most well-known members of staff is Professor Sue Black, who has recently been featured on BBC 2's History Cold Case, after finding proof of an African presence in medieval England.
- Anatomical Sciences
- Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
- Biological Sciences
- Biomedical Sciences
- Life Sciences (Foundation Year)
- Foundation Year in Life Sciences and English Language
- Life Sciences (with Dundee & Angus College)
- Medical Sciences
- Oral Health Sciences
- Physiological Sciences
There are regular meetings of staff-student liaison committees. While this provides a forum for formal contact, there is also opportunity for informal contact between you and academic staff, whom you will find friendly and approachable.
We use a variety of teaching methods, with lectures and practicals forming the core. In addition, we use workshops, tutorials, computer-aided learning, and field excursions, as appropriate to each module.
Typical Degree Programme
Levels 1 and 2
Our programme in Forensic Anthropology shares common core modules in Levels 1 and 2 from Life Sciences. From Level 3 onwards you will follow specialised modules for BSc Forensic Anthropology within the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID). The Level 1 and 2 curriculum provides a general introduction to the life sciences through an integrated programme of lectures, tutorials, practical work and field excursions.
Please refer to the Biological/Biomedical Sciences degree structure and overview webpage for details of the common curriculum in Levels 1 and 2.
Modules specific to Forensic Anthropology include:
- Human Form and Function - examines the relationships between structure and function in the human body.
- Introduction to Human Anatomy - introduces you to the principles of the dynamics and topography of human form, particularly in relation to the skeletal system.
At Level 3 you will specialise in the following subject areas:
- gross anatomy
- human osteology
- comparative osteology
Practical human anatomy is a substantial component of the Level 3 programme.
- begin to appreciate the intimate relationships between human form and function
- acquire a detailed understanding of the anatomy of the human body
- be able to identify individual skeletal elements and begin to formulate an educated opinion on their origin (human or nonhuman) and their stage of development (i.e. age at death)
Summer work placements
Many students take advantage of opportunities for summer work placements, normally between Levels 3 and 4, which are available as externally-funded competitive placements, or as voluntary laboratory work.
Your studies at Level 4 will be at the level of current research in your chosen subject area.
- sex determination from human remains
- age determination from human remains
- biological identity
- personal identity
- pathology and trauma
- time death interval
- police, the law and the mortuary
Your studies will involve extensive use of scientific literature and the opportunity to attend a regular programme of seminars given by invited speakers from Britain and abroad.
- Research project - several formats are available including laboratory-based research under the supervision of a leading scientist, computer modelling, multimedia teaching packages, literature and electronic database review.
All modules are assessed by a combination of in-course and end-of-course procedures. Regular in-course assessments (e.g. practical reports, computer-based exercises, essays and data processing exercises) provide feedback on your progress and help you prepare for end-of-module examinations.
On-line assignments are used extensively at Levels 1 and 2, with access via a PC on or off campus. Peer assessment operates in many team projects.
As a graduate in forensic anthropology you will have an excellent grounding for a career in biomedical research, scene of crime analysis, forensic science, human biology and osteological research. Those who choose to enter a degree in medicine will find that the skills they have acquired will stand them in good stead, particularly with regards to radiology, paediatrics, gerontology and orthopaedics.
Some graduates may, of course, choose to progress to become teachers and researchers in the field of forensic anthropology or to provide their skills and services on both the national and international forensic front. This BSc degree programme provides the first stage in the Forensic Anthropology Career Foundation Path offered by this University. Your communication and transferable skills will be widely recognised and valued by a wide range of employers.
"The first two years of the course you work on the biological sciences to give you a strong base for further study. When you get to third and fourth year then you’re glad that you’ve done this work. From third year onwards you do dissection on cadavers, you do human anatomy, embryology. You’re hit with everything that you need to learn about Forensic Anthropology. It’s overwhelming but I really like it. I thought about becoming a medical examiner, but then I thought studying bones would be a little bit more interesting, so I decided to go for that, discovered there was a course, applied and got in!"
"I came to Dundee to study BSc Forensic Anthropology at the Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification. From the outset, I was in awe of the community city, university campus-culture, teaching excellence and the educational ethos that welcomed me. I really thrived at the start of my studies; engrossed in life sciences and discovering the intricacy of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. I was awarded the opportunity to undertake an IAESTE British Council internship within the University of Belgrade Serbia, working on human identification projects and participated in residential research excavations in England during the summer months. I will always feel hugely privileged by the extensive resources and practical learning on offer to me, throughout my studies."
The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.
You have to obtain your qualifications at the first sitting of examination.
Courses starting 2016
Level 1 Entry
|Qualification||Minimum Grade||Typical Grade|
|IB Diploma||30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)|
|Essential Subjects||Biology (Higher, ILC Higher, IB Higher Level) plus Mathematics and Chemistry (Standard Grade at 3, Intermediate 2/National 5 at C, ILC Ordinary Level at C or IB Subsidiary Level at 4)|
|EU & International||Visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country"|
|SQA||A relevant HNC with B in the graded unit with appropriate Science units|
|SWAP Access||Relevant science subjects with AAA to include Biology/Human Biology at SCQF Level 6|
|EDEXCEL||A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM|
|European Baccalaureate||70% overall with 7 in Biology|
Advanced Entry (to Level 2)
|SQA Advanced Higher||AB (AH) + BB (H) in different subjects|
|GCE A-Level||Minimum Grade: BBB
Typical Grade: ABB
|IB Diploma||34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level)|
|Essential Subjects||Biology (AH or A-Level or IB Higher level) plus Mathematics and Chemistry (Standard Grade at 3, Intermediate 2/National 5 at C, GCSE at C, or IB Subsidiary Level at 4)|
|EU & International||Visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country"|
|SQA||A relevant HND with AA in the graded units with appropriate Science units|
|Scottish Baccalaureate||Distinction with AB at AH Biology. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 (grade C)|
|EDEXCEL||A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD|
|Advanced Diploma||Grade A with ASL-A Level Biology at A. Mathematics at GCSE C|
|Welsh Baccalaureate||Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C|
|European Baccalaureate||75% overall with 7.5 in Biology|
There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.
The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application. Find out more about fee status.
|Fee category||Fees for students starting 2016|
|Scottish and EU students||£1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2015 entry). Fees for September 2016 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2016.|
|Rest of UK students||£9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.|
|Overseas students (non-EU)||£15,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants.|
Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed for the length of your course. This means that the tuition fee you pay in your first year (shown above) is the same fee you will pay for each year of your course. We guarantee that this will not increase while you are studying with us. The only exceptions to this are our MBChB Medicine, BSc Medical Sciences and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.
Your personal statement should demonstrate an interest in the subject you are applying for and a commitment to the study of that subject. How did your interest in the subject arise, and do you have a particular career path in mind?
You should comment on your participation in both school/college/work and extracurricular activities and on the extent to which they have aided in your personal development and the acquisition of skills that will be of value to you as a life sciences student.
- Do you have an enquiring mind?
- Do you have good analytical skills and problem-solving ability?
- Are you self-motivated and able to work independently?
- Are you a good team player?
- Do you have good communication skills?
If you are planning a gap year, comment on the intended activity and the benefits that you think you are likely to gain from the experience.
Give careful consideration to both the style and content of your personal statement as it can be an indicator of your ability to communicate as well as providing an account of your personal achievements and skills.
|Degree||UCAS Code||KIS Data|
|Apply Now||Forensic Anthropology BSc (Hons)||FL46|