Our Forensic Anthropology course is concerned with the application of biological anthropological techniques to the analysis of human skeletal remains within a legal context and provides a vital suite of expertise and skills that can be applied to answer both modern and archaeological questions.
Specialist anthropological skills can contribute, not only to our understanding of the past, but also to the effective investigation of serious incidents in the modern world, particularly murder, genocide and human rights violations within the constraints of the criminal justice system. Such skills have also proved increasingly useful in recent years in the wake of mass disasters, both natural and man-made.
A Bachelors Honours degree, 2:2 or above or equivalent in any discipline that includes an element of science and/or relevant comprehensive professional experience. If English is not your first language you´ll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above.
Bodies of evidence - skeletal changes before & after death: There´s an emphasis on skeletonised remains and interpreting material from forensic contexts and the unit will be relevant to archaeological material and consider soft tissue remains. It will also look at the changes that take place during an individual’s life and after death that produce variations in the nature and appearance of the skeleton. You´ll learn about ways skeletal samples can be investigated statistically at the level of populations, and ways of report writing.
Crime scene management & forensic science: Understand the developing nature of crime scene, major incident and disaster management and how expertise from a range of disciplines is applied to analyse crime scenes. This unit provides an introduction to national and international criminal law and humanitarian and human rights law. It also covers the structure of the Police Force and scene of crime protocols, within which forensic scientists operate and is delivered through lectures and practical exercises to demonstrate and test the processes of crime scene control and emergency management.
Human functional anatomy: Gain detailed knowledge of human musculoskeletal anatomy that emphasises a functional approach to identifying and describing human remains, intact and fragmented, recovered from archaeological and forensic contexts. You´ll develop proficiency in distinguishing morphological variation, gain a working knowledge of human functional anatomy and learn about biomechanical approaches to human movement.
Principles & methods in human osteology: An introduction to the basic principles of analysis and interpretation involved in studying skeletal remains of modern humans from archaeological and forensic contexts. This covers biological profiling from the skeleton. You´ll also be introduced to skeletal anatomy, the sub-adult skeleton and the dentition and differences between human and non-human animal bone.
Professional practice in forensic science: Develop the experience, theoretical understanding and practical skills necessary for presenting subject specific material to the courts. Gain expert witness and courtroom skills, learn about legal and practical aspects of evidence and develop an understanding of pre-trial duties, courtroom procedures, lawyers’ requirements and preparing and structuring the expert witness’ report. You´ll be trained in courtroom skills and practical exercises involving simulated forensic investigations. Simulations are tailored to each degree taking the unit. As an anthropologist, you´ll undertake the only simulated mass grave exercise currently offered on a UK Master´s programme.
Research project: Develop your expertise in research methods, data collection, analysis, interpretation and synthesis, and explore in detail core aspects of your subject area to generate new practical or theoretical insights. You´ll develop methodological, research, presentation and advanced communication skills by producing an extensive dissertation or report on your research.
Option units (choose one):
Forensic archaeology: Explore the principles, techniques and methodologies of traditional archaeological practices adapted for forensic contexts. Stratigraphy, remote sensing, geophysical survey, search, location, recovery and dating techniques are covered. These methods are applied to forensic scenes through a series of domestic and international case studies. You´ll also explore techniques for excavating single and mass graves.
Techniques of archaeological recovery & recording: Take part in field work exercises and practical demonstrations to gain grounding in the principal range of methods involved in archaeological field recording and recovery. You´ll learn the principles of location, survey, excavation, planning and recording of archaeological finds and features. You will also learn about the planning of field projects, including health & safety and budgeting.
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