MSc in Human Anatomy & Evolution


This taught Masters course will provide you with a detailed understanding of human and primate evolution, focusing on anatomy and morphology and their interfaces with ecology and behaviour. Through membership of the interdisciplinary PALAEO Centre at the University of York, this MSc is an attractive option for those wishing to combine anatomical and archaeological approaches to the study of palaeoanthropology.

The MSc is based in the Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences at HYMS on the University of York campus and co-badged with the Department of Archaeology at the University of York.The programme is open also to medical students wishing to intercalate.

You will acquire practical and theoretical knowledge about cutting edge tools for morphometrics, imaging and functional simulation used to interpret the fossil record. In addition, you can gain practical knowledge of anatomy through dissection of human cadaveric material as well as comparative anatomical study. You will also undertake a research project of your choice in consultation with your supervisor to investigate a current question in human evolution.

Visit Day - Tuesday 04 April 2017

We would like to invite you to our MSC in Human Anatomy and Evolution Visit Day at the Hull York Medical School.

This Visit Day will give you the opportunity to meet the Programme Director, find out more about the structure of the MSc, see the facilities available and meet with current MSc students.

To sign up to this free event, please register here.


Duration: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Entry requirements: Open to strong graduates in anatomy, anthropology, archaeology, biology, psychology, zoology and related fields. Minimum 2.1 or equivalent. IELTS 7 for applicants whose first language is not English. For intercalating students, a minimum of 3 years of successful MBBS or comparable medical qualifications is required.

Campus: University of York, United Kingdom

Programme Structure

Contact Us:  (+44(0)1904 321782) or Programme Director, Dr Laura Fitton (+44(0)1904 321791)

Apply: Applications should be made via the University of York application portal.

Fees and Funding: For information on tuition fees please refer to the University of York fees and funding page.

  • Human evolutionary anatomy

    (20 Credits)

    You will develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of the hominin fossil record, focusing particularly on the interpretation of anatomical material and current methods.

  • Hard tissue biology

    (20 Credits)

    You will develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of mineralised skeletal and dental tissues.

  • Primate ecology and evolution

    (20 Credits)

    You will develop an advanced understanding of primate ecology and evolution, gaining a broad overview of primate evolution, from the origins of the Order around 65 million years ago to the present day.

  • Geometric morphometrics

    (elective 5 credits per module)

    You will develop an understanding of geometric morphometrics and associated methods, including opportunity to try software and problem solving.

  • Virtual anatomy

    (elective 5 credits per module)

    You will develop your knowledge of the human musculoskeletal system and its functioning, with a focus on imaging and simulation.

  • Functional and musculoskeletal anatomy

    (elective 20 credits)

    You will gain an advanced understanding of functional and musculoskeletal anatomy.

  • Special topics in musculoskeletal anatomy

    (optional 20 credits)

    This module provides the opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the human musculoskeletal system from the perspective of function and evolution through dissection.

  • Becoming human

    (elective 20 credits)

    You consider the fascinating question of what it means to be ‘human’, asking if there are critical characteristics of humans which mark us as different from other species, and how, when and where they might be identified in the archaeological record.

  • Ancient biomolecules

    (elective 20 credits)

    This module is principally targeted at osteoarchaeologists, with a focus on the analysis of skeletal materials, but will more broadly appeal to anyone who is likely to encounter biomolecular data sets in the course of their research or professional career.

  • Research project & dissertation

    (core 80 credits)

    Mouse and bookYou will undertake an in-depth project in a topic related to human evolution.


As part of our commitment to excellence, we regularly review our courses to provide students with the best learning experience. For this reason, we may make some changes to the modules before the programme starts. If we make changes, we will publicise them on our website, and notify applicants.