• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Science & Engineering
  • Study Mode: Full Time

A course for students who already hold a degree in biomedical science and want to develop skills for the analysis and identification of human skeletal remains.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

Forensic anthropology is the analysis of human remains for medico-legal purposes. The discipline has adopted a pivotal role in UK and International investigations of inter-personal violence and homicide, repatriation, mass disasters and war crimes.

Our course provides you with training in dedicated laboratory areas with access to the skeletal collections in the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID). There are is unique mix of theoretical subject matter combined with hands on practical experience which is delivered by case active academic staff who are world leaders in the field.

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An inside look at our MSc in Forensic Anthropology

Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification 

The award winning staff of CAHID are among the most experienced in the UK in the fields of human identification, forensic anthropology, cranio-facial reconstruction and the study of the human body. We are regularly contacted for advice and input in high-profile forensic cases both at home and abroad and all staff who run and teach on the courses are certified by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland and are case active practitioners. The cases involving our staff inform much of the our research which enables us to maintain a high profile within the forensic community.

We were 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.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

How you will be taught

  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Workshops
  • Seminars

You will also have the opportunity to attend talks by invited speakers and researchers.

How you will be assessed

  • In-course essays
  • Computer marked assessments
  • Reports
  • Presentation exercises including a mock-trial scenario
  • Written and practical examinations
  • MSc Research Dissertation

What you will study

All modules are compulsory, the research dissertation can be in the form of original laboratory research or a dissertation in an area pertinent to forensic anthropology

  • Provides a thorough understanding of the DVI process in the UK and abroad
  • Developed by experienced practitioners, it is based on the National DVI Training course for the UK DVI team
  • Delivers a robust theoretical underpinning for anyone undertaking DVI work on a practical basis.
  • Focuses on the development of the human juvenile skeleton as a means to understanding adult skeletal form
  • Through practical examination, each bone of the body will be studied from its embryological origin, through key developmental milestones, until the attainment of its adult form
  • Practical sessions will focus on the unique Scheuer collection of juvenile skeletal remains.

A concise introduction to the adult human skeleton. Detailed adult cranial and postcranial osteology and musculoskeletal anatomy will be studied to establish baseline knowledge for subsequent aspects of this programme. You’ll also be introduced to the various methods of assessing and recording information derived from osteological material.

Introduces you to the operational and theoretical framework of forensic investigation in the peri- and post-mortem periods; including areas such as death investigation and body recovery from simple to complex fatality scenes and burial environments, estimation of time-since-death, forensic taphonomy, and the analysis of peri- and post-mortem trauma.

Introduction to current practice in Forensic Human Identification (FHI) as applied by Forensic Anthropologists.

Discover the analysis of markers of biological identity and personal identity. Then learn to combine the two into a coherent framework for identification and individuation.

A comprehensive background to the framework of forensic science and the legal profession. Get a broad knowledge of police structure, criminal investigation, scene of crime investigation, medico-legal procedures and their relevance to the criminal justice system. Plus contextualising current forensic scientific practice (including CSI, forensic anthropology, and human identification) within the UK and European legal systems. Find out what constitutes an expert witness, and what are the methodological, practical and conceptual boundaries of forensic science evidence considered admissible under English, Scottish and US law.

  • Students will undertake an advanced level practical project supervised by a research-active practitioner
  • CAHID staff have significant experience in many areas of forensic human identification, including juvenile osteology, facial anthropology, facial reconstruction, age assessment in the living and dead, analysis of sexual dimorphism and ancestry, soft tissue biometric systems, human provenance, skeletal pathology and trauma, and virtual anthropology

There is a significant requirement for anatomically-trained forensic anthropologists who are competent in dealing with both soft and hard tissues in order to fulfil the requirements of DVI deployment. If you are seeking a career in forensic anthropology, human osteology or the forensic sciences, this course will greatly increase your employment opportunities.

Where are our graduates now?

Previous graduates in Forensic Anthropology have progressed to become teachers and researchers in the field with some going on to provide their skills and services on both the national and international forensic front.

Some of our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in biomedical research, scene of crime analysis, forensic science, human biology and osteological research.

Many have chosen to enter a degree in medicine or dentistry and have found that the skills they have acquired in Forensic Anthropology stand them in good stead, particularly with regards to radiology, paediatrics, gerontology and orthopaedics.


An honours degree at 2:1 or above (or equivalent) in a relevant biomedical science, or an ability to demonstrate considerable experience in a relevant field.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 6.0
Reading 6.0
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

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 statusFees for students starting 2019-20
Scottish and EU students £15,950 per year of study
Rest of UK students £15,950 per year of study
International students (non-EU) £17,950 per year of study
Fee statusFees for students starting 2020-21
Scottish and EU students £16,750
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Rest of UK students £16,750
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
International students (non-EU) £18,150
See our scholarships for International applicants

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students will increase by no more than 5% per year for the length of your course.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

You apply for this course through our Direct Application System, which is free of charge. You can find out more information about making your application when you click Apply Now below

  Degree Course code
Apply nowForensic Anthropology MScP037297

Course Contact

Dr Catriona Davies
Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification
01382 384220