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Human Evolution

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What you'll need

As part of the application process, you'll need to submit:

  • School or college transcripts/certificates
  • University transcripts and certified translations if applicable
  • Degree certificates
  • Personal statement outlining your learning ambitions

Our application process

  • Sign into our online portal, Apply Yourself, and start your application
  • Submit your application
  • We'll email you to let you know we're processing your application
  • Track the progress of your application using the Postgraduate Application Tracker (we'll send you a link to the tracker)
  • We'll email you when a decision has been made
  • If you've been made an offer, you can then accept or decline it using the Postgraduate Application Tracker.

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Master of Science

A Master of Science (MSc) is a master’s degree awarded for a postgraduate programme in the sciences.

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Course overview

It has taken 7 million years of struggle to make us ‘human.’ How did we get here and why? In our Human Evolution MSc you'll investigate the biological and behavioural changes that made us the species we call 'Homo sapiens'.

Introduction

Our MSc offers the unique opportunity to benefit from two institutions specialisms’ as your programme will be delivered by University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University in collaboration.

Liverpool John Moores University will help you gain expertise in the human fossil record, ancient DNA / proteomics and Neanderthal archaeology / spatial analysis. You will benefit from dedicated laboratory facilities for osteological analyses and practical field training in the excavation and recording of human skeletal remains. Liverpool John Moores University’s collaboration with The Poulton Trust will provide you with access to archaeological sites with burials and large skeletal collections for practical training.

University of Liverpool will provide you with expertise in the early archaeological records of Africa and Eurasia, archaeological and evolutionary theory, as well as ecological, environmental, and climate change modelling. We have dedicated facilities and support staff for undertaking materials analysis linked to experimental archaeology and 3D modelling. The Professor Elizabeth Slater Laboratories for Archaeological Science provide analytical tools including scanning electron microscopy [SEM-EDX], a visualisation suite for 3D modelling of artefacts, and microscopes for use-wear analysis of stone tools.

Through the research-led teaching on our MSc you will be fully involved in the human evolution research community, and will learn about the latest theoretical orientations, methods, and discoveries.

Please note this programme is subject to final approval. 

Who is this course for?

This MSc is for graduates who have an undergraduate degree in Archaeology, Anthropology, Biology, or other related discipline and want to further investigate the biological and behavioural changes that made us Homo sapiens. Past practical experience will also be considered in lieu of achieving the required undergraduate degree (or grade) on a case-by-case basis.

What you'll learn

  • Advanced practical and theoretical experience in the methods and practice of human evolution research
  • Hands-on training in archaeological fieldwork, including excavation of human remains
  • Knowledge of the human fossil record, ancient DNA, proteomics, Neanderthal archaeology and spatial analysis
  • Insight into the early archaeological records of Africa and Eurasia, archaeological and evolutionary theory, as well as ecological, environmental, and climate change modelling
  • To engage independently and critically with a significant body of data on the foundations of human evolutionary studies
  • To communicate orally and in written work, and to evaluate critically the work and research of others
  • Transferable skills in analysis, computing, and the scientific method which enhance employment prospects
  • Knowledge of a wide range of perspectives, cultures, and practices, and benefits of variation and diversity within the human species

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Studying this course part-time

International students may be able to study this course on a part-time basis but this is dependent on visa regulations. Please visit the Government website for more information about student visas.

If you're able to study part-time, you'll study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.

Studying part-time means you can study alongside work or any other life commitments. You will study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.

Semester one

You will take 60 credits of required modules in semester one.

Compulsory modules

EARLY TECHNOLOGIES (ALGY763)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

We live in a time of unprecedented technological change. As a species we are reliant on technological solutions to many of the world’s problems, including those created by technology such as climate change. This module provides the deep time context for understanding how we came to be so dependent on the things we make. We will examine the archaeological evidence for early technologies based on stone, bone and wood. And we will consider the social processes in learning to be a toolmaker.

You will learn to make some simple stone tools and to analyse the tools in terms of the planning and knowledge of the materials involved. Basic descriptive statistics forms part of your practical skills learning. You will use these skills in the main assessment which is a written comparison of the tools you and your classmates have created. We conclude with a consideration of the broad sweep of general purpose technologies that are the foundations of our world.

PALAEOANTHROPOLOGY (ALGY751)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

The module will cover the key issues and topics in palaeoanthropology, ranging from the origins of the earliest hominins to modern humans, the biomechanics of bipedalism, and our distinct growth pattern and life-history.

ADVANCED OSTEOLOGY AND SKELETAL PATHOLOGY (ALGY753)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

In this module students will learn to identify and describe the human skeleton, become familiar with animal bones and learn how to differentiate between the two.
Practical and ethical considerations of the curation of human skeletal collections will be considered. Issues in working with commingled remains and identifying skeletal pathologies will also be considered

ANCIENT DNA AND PROTEOMICS (ALGY752)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Ancient DNA is an extremely powerful tool for understanding the population history of our species. Recent methodological advances have led to a rapid expansion of the field and to its establishment as a vital component to other bioarchaeological methods for analysing ancient human remains. In this module, students will acquire critical knowledge about the main ancient DNA findings which have emerged in the last decade. Emphasis will be given to the acquisition of computational skills for the analysis of genetic data which are in high demand in both academic and industrial settings, therefore increasing the students’ future job prospects.

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Your experience

The Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology is part of the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures. Teaching takes place across campus, including in specialist facilities in the Central Teaching Hub and Garstang Museum of Archaeology.

Virtual tour

Supporting your learning

From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:

Why Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology at University of Liverpool?

  • Fantastic on-campus facilities such as the Garstang Museum with its outstanding archaeological collections and GIS suite for archaeological drawing
  • Our extensive laboratories used for conservation, lithics, geomagnetism, stable isotope, trace elements, finds processing and sample preparation
  • An enviable library which has been built up since the Ancient World and Archaeology has been studied at Liverpool since the 1880s
  • Opportunities to learn ancient languages such as Greek, Latin, Akkadian, Sumerian, Egyptian and Coptic
  • Archaeological projects based internationally, in Egypt, Greece, Bulgaria, Jordan, Turkey, Italy, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa, as well as in the British Isles

Careers and employability

Our MSc in Human Evolution will offer you the opportunity to learn a set of scientific skills useful in future careers in academia, in the private sector, or in associated scientific or heritage industries.

The core module, Research Methods, includes employability-focused topics such as; CV writing and applying for jobs, project logistics, communicating your work outside academia, creating websites, use of social media and grant applications.

All students will have their own personal supervisor, allowing for targeted conversations about research (e.g. dissertation research) and future employment.

Our Human Evolution MSc will help you to develop a skill set including data collection and statistical analysis, scientific writing, public presentations, and working as a team, which will be valuable for many careers.

Career planning

Three career coaches standing outside the Careers Studio

Our campus Career Studio is a space for students and graduates to drop into and talk to a career coach. Career coaches are highly trained to help no matter what stage you are at in your career planning. You can access support to find and apply for full-time and part-time roles, placements, internships and graduate schemes. You will also find the help you need if you have a start-up idea or want to create a business plan. You can explore the world of work, prepare for job interviews, and access careers events and workshops. The Career Studio is open Monday to Friday from 10am-5pm, simply drop in at a time that works for you.

From education to employment

Two graduates in postgraduate robes.

We develop our programmes with employers in mind. You will be supported to enhance your long-term employment prospects as you learn. We do this by exposing you to professionals, a variety of sectors and supporting you to work collaboratively with others to develop transferable skills. You are equipped with a clearer view of what to focus on in your area of interest, and to reflect on your studies. Our digital employability tools give you a tech-enhanced curriculum experience and make it easy for you to prepare for the world of work. You can use tools like the Handshake platform to connect with employers and message the Career Studio 24/7.

Networking events

Postgraduate students hold a discussion while sat round a table in in the Liverpool Guild of Students.

You can start building good professional networks by attending events and employability activities. Our events are designed to develop your skills and expose you to many different employers, as well as to help you make contacts in your field. We help you improve your confidence when speaking to employers and give you access to unique opportunities. Our networking events also boost your understanding of the competencies and skills that employers are looking for in their recruitment process, giving you a competitive edge.

Your future

With an MSc in Human Evolution, you may choose to go on to a PhD programme in a more specific area of the Life Sciences, or pursue a career in the following areas:

  • natural and social sciences
  • cognition and psychology
  • genetics
  • forensic science
  • archaeological science
  • zoology
  • primatology
  • animal husbandry
  • veterinary science
  • museum management
  • academic research

You will also be eligible to gain employment in:

  • teaching
  • the civil service
  • science communication and science policy through governmental and non-governmental organisations, including journalism
  • field and laboratory science-related roles across a range of employment sectors.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
Full-time place, per year £10,800
Part-time place, per year £5,400
International fees
Full-time place, per year £22,400
Part-time place, per year £11,200
Fees stated are for the 2024-25 academic year.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support.

If you're a UK national, or have settled status in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan worth up to £12,167 to help with course fees and living costs. Learn more about paying for your studies..

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries that could help pay your tuition and living expenses.

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ANID Chile Scholarship

  • International students
  • Chile

If you’re a Chilean student joining a master’s degree, you could be eligible to apply for a 20% discount on your tuition fees with an ANID Chile Scholarship.

Chevening Scholarships

  • International students

If you’re an international student from an eligible country, joining a one-year master’s course, you could apply to have your master’s fees paid, up to a maximum of £18,000, and receive additional help with living costs.

CONACYT Award

  • International students
  • Mexico

If you’re a Mexican student joining a master’s degree, you could be eligible to apply for a 30% discount on your tuition fees with a CONACYT Award.

FIDERH Award

  • International students
  • Mexico

If you’re a Mexican student joining a master’s degree and you’re in receipt of a FIDERH graduate loan, you could benefit from a 20% discount on your tuition fees with a FIDERH Award.

Fulbright Scholarship

  • International students
  • United States

If you’re a USA student joining a master’s degree, you can apply to be considered for a tuition fee discount of £20,000 with a Fulright Scholarship. One Fulbright Scholarship for master’s study is available in each academic year.

FUNED Awards

  • International students
  • Mexico

If you’re a Mexican student joining a master’s degree and you’re in receipt of a FUNED loan, you can apply to be considered for a 20% tuition fee discount. A total of up to ten awards will be available to master’s and PhD students per academic year.

Graduate Association Hong Kong & Tung Postgraduate Scholarships

  • International students
  • China
  • Hong Kong

If you’re a master’s student from Hong Kong or the People’s Republic of China who can demonstrate academic excellence, you may be eligible to apply for a scholarship worth up to £10,000 in partnership with the Tung Foundation.

HLC Scholarships for Postgraduate Study

  • Home and international students

Are you a UK student joining a master’s course in the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures? You could be eligible to apply for a fee discount of £2,000. Four awards will be available in each academic year.

HRH Princess Sirindhorn University of Liverpool Scholarship (Thailand)

  • International students
  • Thailand

If you’re a student from Thailand joining a one-year master’s degree, you might be eligible to apply to have your tuition fees paid in full and receive help with living costs. One award is available and only students who are new to the University will be considered.

JuventudEsGto Scholarship

  • International students
  • Mexico

If you’re a resident of the state of Guanajuato in Mexico joining a master’s degree, you could be eligible for a 10% discount on your tuition fees with a JuventudEsGto Scholarship.

Marshall Scholarship

  • International students
  • United States

If you’re a USA student joining an eligible master’s with us, you could apply to be considered for a Marshall Scholarship. If your application is successful, your master’s tuition fees will be paid in full. One Marshall Scholarship for master’s study is available in each academic year.

Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary

  • Home students

If you’re a UK University of Liverpool graduate joining a master’s degree with us, you could be eligible to receive £3,000 off your tuition fees. You must have graduated in the last two years and received a widening access scholarship during your undergraduate studies.

Turkish Ministry of Education Scholarship

  • International students
  • Turkey

If you’re a Turkish student joining a master’s degree, you could be eligible to apply for a 20% discount on your tuition fees with a Turkish Ministry of Education Scholarship.

Humanitarian Scholarships for Master’s Programmes

  • International students

Do you have recognised status as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection outside the UK? Or are you a Ukrainian who’s sought temporary protection in the EU? You could be eligible to apply for the full payment of your master’s fees and additional financial support.

University of Liverpool International College Excellence Scholarship

  • International students

Completed a Pre-Master’s at University of Liverpool International College (UoLIC)? We’re offering a £5,000 fee discount off the first year of master’s study to some of the highest achieving students joining one of our non-clinical master’s courses from UoLIC.

University of Liverpool International College Impact Progression Scholarships

  • International students

If you’re a University of Liverpool International College student awarded a Kaplan Impact Scholarship, we’ll also consider you for an Impact Progression Scholarship. If selected, you’ll receive a fee discount worth £3,000 off the first year of your master’s course.

Vice-Chancellor’s International Attainment Scholarship for Mainland China

  • International students
  • China

Are you a high-achieving graduate from the People’s Republic of China with a degree from a Chinese university? You could be eligible to apply for a £5,000 fee discount if you’re joining an eligible master’s course. Up to 15 eligible students will receive this scholarship.

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

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Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

Postgraduate entry requirements

An upper 2:1 undergraduate degree in Archaeology, Anthropology, Biology or related subject.

Past practical experience will also be considered as an alternative, on a case-by-case basis.

We are able to offer a level of flexibility for applicants. Those with a 2:2 honours degree will be considered on an individual basis.

International qualifications

If you hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, but don’t meet our entry requirements, you could be eligible for a Pre-Master’s course. This is offered on campus at the University of Liverpool International College, in partnership with Kaplan International Pathways. It’s a specialist preparation course for postgraduate study, and when you pass the Pre-Master’s at the required level with good attendance, you’re guaranteed entry to a University of Liverpool master’s degree.

English language requirements

You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language, unless you’re from a majority English speaking country.

We accept a variety of international language tests and country-specific qualifications.

International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.

English language qualification Requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component below 6.0
TOEFL iBT 88 overall, with minimum scores of listening 21, writing 21, reading 22, speaking 23

PRE-SESSIONAL ENGLISH

Do you need to complete a Pre-Sessional English course to meet the English language requirements for this course?

The length of Pre-Sessional English course you’ll need to take depends on your current level of English language ability.

Find out the length of Pre-Sessional English course you may require for this degree.

Pre-sessional English

If you don’t meet our English language requirements, we can use your most recent IELTS score, or the equivalent score in selected other English language tests, to determine the length of Pre-Sessional English course you require.

Use the table below to check the course length you're likely to require for your current English language ability and see whether the course is available on campus or online.

Your most recent IELTS score Pre-Sessional English course length On campus or online
6.0 overall, with no component below 6.0 6 weeks On campus
6.0 overall, with no component below 5.5 10 weeks On campus and online options available
6.0 overall, with no more than one component below 5.5, and no component below 5.0 12 weeks On campus and online options available
5.5 overall, with no more than one component below 5.5, and no component below 5.0 20 weeks On campus
5.0 overall, with no more than one component below 5.0, and no component below 4.5 30 weeks On campus
4.5 overall, with no more than one component below 4.5, and no component below 4.0 40 weeks On campus

If you’ve completed an alternative English language test to IELTS, we may be able to use this to assess your English language ability and determine the Pre-Sessional English course length you require.

Please see our guide to Pre-Sessional English entry requirements for IELTS 6.5, with no component below 6.0, for further details.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new application cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted on the website.

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Fees and Finance

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Changes to Human Evolution MSc

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.