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Archaeological, Anthropological & Forensic Sciences
BSc (Hons) Archaeological, Anthropological & Forensic Sciences
BSc (Hons) Archaeological, Anthropological & Forensic Sciences

BSc (Hons) Archaeological, Anthropological & Forensic Sciences

  • ID:BU440023
  • Level:3-Year Bachelor's Degree
  • Duration:
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Admission Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • This course requires 104–120 UCAS tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. We are happy to consider a combination of qualifications and grades to meet the overall tariff, for example A-levels A*CC, ABC, BBB or BCC, BTECs DDM or DMM. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to UCAS tariff points.

English Requirements

  • If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in either reading or writing and 5.5 in all other components, or equivalent. 

Course Information

Why study BSc (Hons) Archaeological, Anthropological and Forensic Sciences at BU?

  • This highly employable sciences degree bridges the gap between science and humanities, preparing you for a wide range of fascinating career opportunities in archaeology, anthropology, forensic investigation and other applied sciences

  • Receive theoretical and practical learning across the human investigative sciences of crime scene investigation, archaeological and anthropological theory and scientific problem solving

  • Attend BU’s archaeological field school to participate fully in a large-scale excavation, where our students have discovered significant finds, changing the way we view the past

  • Build a strong portfolio of transferable skills and, in second and third year, select a combination of units of study based on your own personal interests and career ambitions

  • Undertake hands-on practical work in our state-of-the-art laboratories, all delivered by leading academics

  • Complete a five or a 30-week placement to apply skills developed as well as build a network of professional contacts and a strong CV, enhancing your career prospects.  

For September 2022 entry: In order to take advantage of new approaches to learning and teaching, as well as developments in industry to benefit our students we regularly review all of our courses. This course is currently going through this process and we will update this page in June 2022 to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded.

UCAS Code: 4K2M

More info: Click here

Year 1

Core units

  • Archaeological, Anthropological & Forensic Science Study Skills: Scientists must be able to work with a range of field and lab data. This unit will teach you how to perform statistical analysis, create charts, graphs and maps, and write clear and concise reports using appropriate software packages.

  • Archaeological Practice: Essential skills and knowledge for the aspiring archaeologist. You'll understand the interconnectedness of data collected from field situations and recovered from archived sources in an on-going analytical process of refinement and reinvestigation. Completing this unit will help you to understand the context of archaeological data, which will support and enhance aspects of structural, artefactual and palaeo-environmental analysis delivered at all levels in the course.

  • Chemistry: Gain an understanding of aspects and processes in fundamental and analytical chemistry and develop your laboratory skills. The unit will be predominately delivered through lectures and practical laboratory sessions. The laboratory sessions will reinforce theoretical concepts by dealing with experimentally generated data and allow for one-to-one and small group discussions.

  • Introduction to Social Anthropology: Most of the unit will focus on social anthropology, but links between social anthropology and biological anthropology as well as archaeology will be explored from the outset. It aims to develop your awareness of what is distinctive and valuable about anthropological approaches to studying people, and the uses to which these have been put, in addressing some of the world’s problems.

  • Studying Ancient Materials: Learn to handle a range of artefacts and other archaeological materials including ceramics, textiles, foodstuffs, glass, metals and building materials. You'll observe and record their characteristics and their importance to the interpretation of people and societies.

  • Introduction to Forensic Investigation: Gain a deeper appreciation of the legal aspects, command structure and operational procedures of UK forensic investigations, as well as an insight into the range of forensic sciences available. You'll gain a theoretical understanding for enhancing practical experience in the recovery of physical evidence.

Year 2

Core units

  • Archaeological Science: How thematic archaeological research questions may be addressed using archaeological scientific techniques and approaches. You'll develop case study knowledge to promote your understanding of potential applications of archaeological science for investigating the behaviour of past human societies.

  • Crime Scene: The legal aspects, command structure and operational procedures of UK crime scene investigations, and an introduction to a range of forensic sciences. You'll gain practical experience in recovering evidence from potential crime scenes.

  • Field & Research Skills: To ensure you gain a practical understanding of the aims, strategies and methods of fieldwork, you will participate in a fieldwork training project. You'll carry out practical tasks such as excavating, processing finds and samples. You will work in groups to solve problems, developing team skills and professional competencies.

  • Forensic Science: The basic scientific and analytical principals underlying the practice of forensic science. You'll be introduced to a range of basic case types and common analytical techniques used in forensic casework.

Option units  (choose two):

  • Environmental Archaeology: Introducing you to the principles and practice of environmental archaeology and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, this unit offers an overview of site formation processes, the types of environmental evidence encountered in the archaeological record and the appropriate sampling strategies used to recover them. You'll see examples of the interpretation of environmental evidence through archaeological case studies.

  • Becoming Human: What makes us (as humans) unique? Where did our species come from? Starting from the divergence of the human lineage from that of other apes, this unit will demonstrate how a wide variety of different lines of evidence can inform the way in which we became human. You will learn how archaeologists and anthropologists interpret the fossil and archaeological evidence to understand the ways in which our ancestors and related species lived and how this changed over time. A key focus throughout will be on the relationship between the biological and social environments for evolution, and how the interaction between them influenced the evolution not only of our distinctive biological life histories, subsistence and foraging patterns but also our social life and culture, in the form of technology, material culture, language and symbolism.

  • Introduction to Toxicology: Explore the basic principles of toxicology. This unit has been designed to offer foundation knowledge for those wishing to study toxicology at higher levels and for those wishing to study subjects peripheral to toxicology or where a basic understanding of toxicology will be relevant.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Optional placement year

You may choose to complete an optional 30-week (minimum) placement on a four-year course, or a short five-week work placement on a three-year course. You’ll get an opportunity to include a period of academic study during this time. The placement year offers a chance to gain experience and make contacts for the future.

Final year

Core units

  • Advanced Forensic Science: Enhance your knowledge and critical thinking skills for scientific and analytical principals underlying the practice of forensic science. You'll gain in-depth knowledge of key areas of forensic science.

  • Archaeological Management: The practice of conserving and managing the historic environment in the UK will be explored to prepare you for employment in archaeological and conservation organisations. You'll examine the professional environment, legislative background and organisational context of the historic environment sector in the UK.

  • Independent Research Project: An opportunity to gain experience of researching a topic of your choice and to show your ability in reporting your research. This experience is considered essential for pursuing academic or professional research at a higher level of responsibility and achievement.

  • The Science of Human Remains: Practical lab sessions will allow you to analysis skeletal material of modern humans in archaeological and forensic contexts. You will examine the ways in which disease can inform health status in past societies and how disease, trauma and skeletal pathology can identify individuals in a forensic context.

Option units (choose one)

  • Primate Behaviour Ecology: This unit will provide you with an understanding of how primate behaviour can be interpreted from an evolutionary viewpoint and how human and non-human primates’ behavioural strategies are adapted to the environment (social and ecological) in which they live. The unit will stimulate discussion and the critical analysis of theories by a combination of lectures, directed reading and discussion sessions which will involve the analysis of scientific articles.

  • Sarup to Stonehenge: Neolithic & Chalcolithic NW Europe: The archaeology of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods, broadly 4000-2000BC, in the British Isles and the adjacent Continental coastlands from western France to southern Scandinavia is one of the most formative periods in the social and economic development of communities occupying northwest Europe, and includes both the transition from hunter-gatherer to farming cultures and the introduction of metallurgy. The unit will provide a broad and comparative knowledge of a selected chronological period for a selected geographical region and contribute to your knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of archaeology as a discipline. A field-visit will normally be made to allow the direct observation of a selection of field monuments we discuss. We expect you to visit a number of sites and museums during the course of the year, in order to broaden your overall experience of the Neolithic Period.

  • Forensic Practice: Enhance your knowledge and critical thinking skills for scientific and analytical principals underlying the practice of forensic science. You'll gain in-depth knowledge of key areas of forensic science.

  • Animals & Society: Gain a critical understanding of human interactions with animals in Britain, from the Palaeolithic through to the early Post-medieval period. These interactions include the exploitation of animals for meat and other products and how animals were incorporated into burial practices and other rituals.

  • Roman Britain: An opportunity to explore the practical and theoretical problems associated with the study of material culture and archaeology of a distinct geographical area. You'll develop a solid understanding of the importance of archaeological data for understanding and interpreting historical chronologies.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

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Career Opportunity

Career Opportunity

We have an internationally renowned reputation for producing highly skilled practitioners with excellent career opportunities. Within fifteen months of completing their course, 90% of our students who study Forensic and Archaeological Science courses are working or studying.

There is an increased demand for archaeologists and the profession has been placed on the government list of skilled occupation shortages.

Ability to settle

Overseas Student Health Cover

OSHC: 624 ($) GBP per year

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