Biological Anthropology (MSc)

the United Kingdom

For more information about Biological Anthropology at University of Kent, please visit the webpage using the button above.

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How long you will study
12 Months

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About Biological Anthropology at University of Kent

Location: Canterbury

The MSc in Biological Anthropology is a perfect foundation for PhD research: it provides theoretical background, discipline specific knowledge and advanced, quantitative research methods.

Taught by one of the UK’s largest group of biological anthropologists with a demonstrated record of world-class research in human and primate behaviour, human evolution and skeletal biology this innovative one-year MSc allows you to focus your studies through one of two routes:

  • The Human and Primate Behaviour route combines principles of evolutionary anthropology and the behaviour of human and non-human primates, with aspects of evolutionary social, cognitive, and forensic psychology (formerly MSc in Evolution and Human Behaviour).
  • The Human Evolutionary Anatomy route focuses on the skeletal biology, functional morphology and evolution of humans and non-human primates. 

Both routes emphasize the development of original thinking, training in advanced research methods, and the production of original research. It provides students with transferable skills in data collection, oral and written dissemination of information and professional development opportunities. The MSc in Biological Anthropology provides the theoretical background, discipline-specific knowledge and advanced quantitative research methods necessary to embark on doctoral projects or a wide range of professional careers.

Why study with us?
  • Dedicated mentoring with an expectation that students will develop and conduct a publication quality research project as part of their degree
  • Dedicated professional development seminar for biological anthropology post-graduate students with topics including (but not limited to) grant writing, interview skills, analytical methods, work/life balance, professional conduct
  • Biological Anthropology research seminar series featuring UK and international scientists
  • Additional School research seminars in the School of Anthropology and Conservation and School of Psychology 
  • Access to cutting edge laboratory facilities, and training in the latest methods for addressing questions in biological anthropology
  • Potential opportunity to work directly within the research programmes of world-leading academics
  • Focused on providing a strong foundation for future PhD research: theoretical background, discipline-specific knowledge and advanced research methods. 

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • historical and contemporary theoretical and philosophical issues underlying the discipline of biological anthropology
  • the major analytic techniques and research methodologies employed by biological anthropology
  • the principles of evolutionary anthropology, evolutionary psychology, human ecology, non-human primate behaviour and communication, human and primate cognition, and methods of primate field study (Human and Primate Behaviour route)
  • the principles of evolutionary anthropology, physiology and growth of the human skeleton, osteology, skeletal functional morphology, and the skeletal and archaeological record of prehistory (Human Evolutionary Anatomy route).

Intellectual Skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • effectively apply the knowledge, theory and general principles of biological anthropology to a wide range of topics and situations where relevant practical or theoretical issues are under considerationGeneral learning and study skills
  • apply critical reasoning and learned analytical skillsCritical and analytical skills
  • formulate and express ideas in a coherent and concise manner through both written and oral means. Ability to express ideas in writing and orally
  • advanced communication skills; including poster or podium presentations of scientific data
  • work in groups to discuss, critically evaluate, formulate and present scientific information
  • use standard computing software for word processing, advanced numerical analysis, and high quality presentations
  • advanced ability to review and summarise scientific literature on a range of topics relevant to biological anthropology
  • recognise potential alternative arguments, and contrary evidence, to a student’s own opinion and present a reasoned justification for preference
  • reflect constructively on their learning progression.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific:

  • advanced skills to complete an empirical study in an area of biological anthropology, under expert supervision
  • advanced skills to use the major analytic techniques employed by biological anthropologists
  • advanced skills to evaluate and select appropriate methods for researching questions in biological anthropology
  • skills in advanced methods of data collection on living subjects, comprehensive statistical tools relevant to evolutionary psychology, methods of behavioural observation and recording, comprehensive statistical tools relevant to the analysis of behavioural data, and principles of ethology (Human and Primate Behaviour route)
  • advanced skills in the handling and analysis of human skeletal material, detailed analysis of casts of non-human primate and fossil skeletal material, advanced biomechanical principles of functional morphology of bone, comprehensive statistical tools relevant to the study of anatomy and functional morphology, principles of geochronology and taphonomy (Human Evolutionary Anatomy route).

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • advanced numeracy: develop the skills to analyse data and make sense of statistical materials; integrate numerical and non- numerical information; understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
  • advanced communication: develop the skills to organise information clearly, write coherently and concisely about the chosen research area and other areas of evolutionary anthropology/psychology, and give oral presentations about these topics
  • working with others: to systematically review the work of others; work cooperatively in groups; understand in-depth ethical principles and the procedures for gaining ethics approval for research
  • improving own learning: critically explore personal strengths and weaknesses; develop the high level skills of time management; review scrutinise the student-staff relationship; develop specialist learning skills; develop autonomy to a high level in learning
  • specialized information technology: use computers for complex data analysis, word processing, graphical display of data for analysis and presentation, and bibliographical research and documentation; email 
  • advanced problem solving: identify and define problems; explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.

This programme aims to:

  • provide the opportunity to develop expert knowledge and a sophisticated understanding of particular areas of biological anthropology
  • provide the opportunity to develop advanced research, writing and oral communication skills of general value to further postgraduate training and employment
  • provide a degree of specialization in areas of biological anthropology chosen from the subject routes
  • provide students with opportunities to engage with academics and academic work which are at the frontiers of scholarship in Biological Anthropology
  • provide students with the skills to undertake supervised research on an agreed topic in their specialization, and encourage the production of research that meets the appropriate standards of scientific scholarship
  • train students in transferrable skills in preparation for entering academic or other careers
  • assist those students who are minded to pursue academic research at a higher level in acquiring a sophisticated grounding in research methods
  • satisfy the Economic and Social Research Council’s requirements for the first year of the “1+3” research training/PhD arrangements. 

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMScHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study12 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

Full Time UK/EU: TBC EUR | Full Time Overseas: TBC EUR | Part Time UK/EU: TBC EUR | Part Time Overseas: N/A

Entry requirements

Contact University of Kent to find course entry requirements.

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