M.Sc. On Campus

Archaeology Paleonthropology

12 months
21000 GBP/year
9250 GBP/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


Explore the evolution, biology and behaviour of humankind through the study of our Stone Age ancestors. With this Archaeology Paleonthropology MSc programme at the University of Southampton you’ll gain expertise in the analysis of stone tools and hominin skulls to understand our evolutionary journey.


Course Details

The Archaeology Paleonthropology MSc programme at the University of Southampton learning will cover:

  • handling and interpreting stone tools
  • the role of evolutionary models, experimental testing, primatological data and ethnographies in the study of human origins
  • developing methods to interrogate meaning from collections of stone tools
  • using SPSS statistical analysis software
  • Palaeolithic symbolism and language, migration and responses to environmental change

Beyond your specialist modules you can personalise this palaeonthropology MSc to your areas of interest.

We bring expertise together from across the University, including Medicine, Humanities, the National Oceanography Centre, Engineering and Winchester School of Art, to help you gain both scientific skills and cultural understanding through a range of optional modules.

You’ll work closely with experts in our Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO) and benefit from opportunities to apply your learning in real-world settings.

This is a very practical degree, but you don’t need prior knowledge of biology or anthropology. You’ll be based in our dedicated John Wymer Laboratory, with its own specialist library and large collection of stone tools and hominin skulls. Staff, PhD students and MSc students work in the same space, creating a lively learning environment. As a student on this course you automatically become a member of the CAHO research group.

You’ll have the opportunity to apply your skills on a 4-week placement, where you’ll gain valuable real-world experience of the archaeology sector and heritage industry. Previous placements have included Historic England, Wessex Archaeology and The Nautical Archaeology Society.

This  Palaeoanthropology course offers a balance between vocational and research skills. During your dissertation you’ll be able to embed with one of our research groups to do original research on a topic of that you choose. There is the possibility that this work will be published.

Southampton is close to the World Heritage sites of Stonehenge and Avebury and we have research projects engaged with both sites, as well as a range of other archaeological projects across the Globe.

If you’d prefer a less specialised archaeology master’s degree, or you’d like to focus on a different specialism, you can choose from our 3 other Archaeology MSc pathways. When you join us you’ll have 2 weeks in which you can change pathway if you wish.

Career Opportunities

Palaeoanthropology is a pathway within the MSc degree, and it aims to give you a diverse and in-depth experience of the discipline’s key themes.  There is a strong emphasis on the development of practical skills in the study of ancient material culture, in visiting some key Palaeolithic sites, and in reconstructing the environments and lifeways of our hominin ancestors. From seven million years ago, and Sahelanthropus tchadensis, to the molecular biology of Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans, and through to collections of beautiful American Palaeo-Indian Clovis points, this pathway master’s will prepare you for future research in human origins, or give you an in-depth understanding of our amazing evolutionary journey, depending on what you want out of your MSc.

Job roles have included:

  • anthropologist
  • archaeologist
  • maritime archaeologist
  • project officer
  • trainee geophysicist
  • community outreach
  • coastal process scientist
  • civil servant
  • teacher
  • forensic scientist

Graduates have gone on to work for:

  • Wessex Archaeology
  • Historic Scotland
  • Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Geophysical Surveys of Bradford
  • Channel Coastal Observatory
  • Portsmouth City Council
  • Maritime Archaeology Trust
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Archaeology Masters Dissertation
  • Contexts for Human Origins Research
  • Bioarchaeology of Human Remains
  • Analysis of archaeological faunal remains
  • Professional Practice
  • Professional Placement in the Archaeological and Cultural Heritage Sector
  • Stonehenge to Skara Brae: the Neolithic of Britain
  • Ecology of human evolution: biological, social and cultural approaches to hominin adaptations.
  • GIS for Archaeology

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 12 months

Start dates & application deadlines


180 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

GPA admission requirements GPA
Upper Second Class

Other requirements

General requirements

  • You’ll need the minimum of a 2:1 degree in archaeology, anthropology, geography, biology, history or a related subject.

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    21000 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 21000 GBP for the full programme during 12 months.
  • National

    9250 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 9250 GBP for the full programme during 12 months.

EU and international students pay £21,000.

Living costs for Southampton

697 - 1093 GBP /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Archaeology Paleonthropology
University of Southampton


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