MSc Forensic Archaeology: Crime Scene and International Investigations

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  • Objectives
    Forensic Archaeology is a recently recognised and rapidly expanding sphere of archaeology and was developed within the UK in the 1990s. It involves the use of archaeological principles and techniques for the location, recovery, and interpretation of evidence for past events within the constraints of the criminal justice system. Forensic archaeology utilises both field and laboratory skills in the investigation of serious crime which ranges from searching for, and excavating clandestine graves, to the international investigation of crimes against humanity. The MSc Forensic Archaeology course at Bournemouth University provides invaluable expertise in the search, location and recovery of buried victims and material evidence and integrates archaeological, anthropological and legal disciplines. We have excellent laboratories and reference collections and the course is delivered by leading UK forensic experts. The School of Conservation Sciences at Bournemouth University includes one of the largest communities of research-active academic archaeologists in Britain. Our mission is to provide excellent, theoretically informed, science-based teaching as well as research and consultancy relating to the natural and cultural environment. It has a strong commitment to practical and vocational issues. Externally, special relationships, exchange agreements and links with other institutions in the UK and overseas provide numerous opportunities for student placements and personal research. Current collaborations include the Royal Free Hospital London, Forensic Search Advisory Group, United Nations (International Criminal Tribunals), Universities of Newfoundland, and Johannesburg and Witwaterstrand (South Africa) and the National Crime Operations Faculty (UK).
  • Entry requirements
    This course is designed for archaeologists, police, scene of crime officers or graduates from related disciplines e.g. life sciences or law, who are interested in the application of archaeological methods in crime scene investigation. An Honours degree in a relevant subject is usually required, but professional experience will be considered. Potential applicants should contact the Programme Administrator in the first instance.
  • Academic title
    MSc Forensic Archaeology: Crime Scene and International Investigations
  • Course description
    Programme Content

    -Legal Framework and Crime Scene Investigations
    -Forensic Archaeology I: Theory and Practice
    -Forensic Science and Analytical Skills
    -Forensic Anthropology
    -Forensic Archaeology II: Search, Location & Excavation
    -Mass Fatalities Management and Responses
    -Expert Witness Training and Courtroom Skills
    -Forensic Archaeology in Practice

    The Learning Process:

    This Masters course is available either full-time (one year) or part-time (two years). Full-time students take eight taught units with the majority of the third term devoted to the completion of a Masters dissertation for the award of MSc. The award of ‘distinction’ is made for students graduating with an average mark of over 70%. Formal lectures, seminars and practical laboratory and field based sessions will be delivered by the programme team with contributions by national and international experts who are leading practitioners and authorities in their fields. While focusing upon the principles and practice of forensic archaeology within the UK, consideration is also given to the broader international context and the investigation of mass murder and genocide. The anatomy aspects of the course are delivered in a leading UK teaching hospital.

    Students learn in a wide variety of ways on the course including: osteological and archaeological practicals, role-play, a crime scene workshop, written assignments and a dissertation. Just as there are many ways to learn, there are a variety of ways your learning can be assessed, through coursework, group exercises, case study reports, presentations and role-play.

    Assessment will be based entirely on course-work and the dissertation.  Assignments will address specific theoretical and practical problems and some will attempt to simulate tasks likely to be encountered in the professional environment. They will include, for example professionally-structured reports, in-course tests identifying aspects of human bone, essays, presentations (in individual or group contexts), role-play and the preparation of a report based on a forensic excavation.

    Candidates unable to complete the full Masters course may be able to leave with an interim award, Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) or Post Graduate Diploma (PG Dip) based oin the sucessful completion of four or eight taught units respectively

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