Many people who take the Human Osteoarchaeology MSc do so to gain the necessary osteological knowledge to allow them to embark upon a PhD involving human remains. Others take an MSc in Human Osteoarchaeology to enable them to work in mainstream archaeology.
A large proportion of students when they embark on their MSc degree intend to continue their studies to PhD level and beyond at Edinburgh or elsewhere. Several previous students have already embarked on PhDs. Some career paths lead to work in museums or archaeological units.
Kathryn Meyers graduated with an MSc with Distinction in Human Osteoarchaeology in 2010. She is now a PhD student in Mortuary Archaeology at Michigan State University, USA.
"I decided to attend University of Edinburgh in order to gain important technical and methodological skills in human osteoarchaeology that I felt were important to advancing my academic career. Coming from the United States, I also hoped that I would be able to gain experience working directly with skeletal collections from the United Kingdom to which I otherwise would not have access. During my year in the program, I was able to solidify my overall identification skills, as well as learn practical applications of how to construct proper skeletal reports.
"The professors were extremely supportive. They pushed me to excel, but also checked on my personal well-being. We also received lectures from professionals outside of the University, who were both informative and supportive of our personal research. I had the opportunity to work on a number of archaeological collections, numerous ones at the University, collections from Museum of London, and was even given the opportunity to do the osteological analysis for a local heritage group.
"What was most important in my time at the University of Edinburgh was my work on the dissertation. Not only did this piece of scholarly work push my intellectual boundaries, my affiliation with University of Edinburgh allowed me to conduct my dissertation research at the Museum of London. By doing my research there, I was able to experience life as a professional osteoarchaeologist as well as make important professional contacts. My dissertation research was invaluable in affording me the chance to do research at a museum, as well as learning to do professional level work.
"I am currently enrolled in a PhD program in Mortuary Archaeology at Michigan State University. My Masters degree from University of Edinburgh is highly regarded in my current institution, and it has made me a more competitive candidate for funding. Based on my Masters dissertation, I am now able to present at national conferences, and have plans to publish within the next year. Even after returning to the United States, I have kept in contact with my professors and they continue to be a source of support and inspiration.
"What I learned in my year at Edinburgh has given me a strong foundation for my future work. I highly recommend attending the University of Edinburgh for any program, whether it be gain the knowledge for a career or to continue onto another degree program. Attending University of Edinburgh was the best choice I have ever made for my future and my own happiness."
This article was published on Feb 22, 2011