Forensic Anthropology - SE609

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR C Deter checkmark-circle


This module examines the contribution of biological anthropology to the study of forensic science and provides students with a detailed understanding of the methods and theory of forensic anthropology. We cover topics such as biological profiling, field excavation and recovery, forensic taphonomy, identity, trauma and expert witness testimony. By the end of this module students will know how biological anthropology is applied in a forensic arena, and understand how human remains are recovered and analysed.

Students are introduced to concepts applied in forensic anthropology. Students learn how to correctly excavate a burial and recover human remains. Students are introduced to environmental factors influencing crime scene recovery and skeletal material and will learn about the importance of other forensic specialities such as forensic entomology, palynology, sedimentology and odontology. They are introduced to forensic anthropological recovery on a local scale and in mass disaster situations. Students also acquire an understanding of the role of a forensic anthropologist in the courtroom.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours



BSc Anthropology
BSc Biological Anthropology
Available as wild

Method of assessment

Exam 40%; Coursework 60%
Expert Witness Lab Report (25%)
Mock Trial and Report (25%)
Online Multiple Choice Questions (10%)

Indicative reading

Learning outcomes

8.1 Critically apply anthropological methods in a legal setting.
8.2 Employ the methods used to build a biological profile, forensic taphonomy, disaster victim identification, and understand how these data are utilised to answer specific medico-legal questions.
8.3 Relate ethical thinking with working with human remains within the legal system.
8.4 Evaluate critically new research methods in the field of forensic anthropology.
8.5 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the crime scene to court process.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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