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Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation *


World-leading expertise

Learn from staff who are pioneers in their field

Real-world experience

Acquire practical skills and participate in active international research projects

Interdisciplinary approaches

Cross disciplinary boundaries and benefit from our global networks

Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
13 Months
Start date:
21 September 2020
Come to an Open Event Enquire about this course Apply now

*This course is subject to validation

Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation represents an important and relevant area of study. On this course, you will learn about the evidence that genocide and mass violence leaves behind as well as the cutting-edge forensic techniques used to locate and record it.

The MA/MSc Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation is a diverse and versatile programme of study which offers the opportunity to:

  • Gain detailed knowledge about forensic archaeological investigations of genocide.
  • Gain and apply practical skills in the investigation of genocide and mass violence via participation in fieldwork as part of an active research project.
  • Complete a detailed research project relating to a range of topics concerning genocide and mass violence.
  • Undertake interdisciplinary sessions alongside academics and specialists in Archaeology and Genocide Studies, History, International Relations, Geography, Media and Film, Computer Games Design and Visualisation

The course provides a solid foundation for doctoral study and an opportunity for a career in archaeology, conflict and genocide studies, forensic investigation, Holocaust studies, international relations, and a range of other associated fields.

The course offers a unique opportunity to gain a wide range of practical and analytical skills and to participate in valuable career enhancement opportunities – such as fieldwork on active research projects.

The MSc is for students opting for a science-based dissertation, for example this could be a site-based field investigation or a technological-based analysis of multiple sites. The MA is for students opting for a arts-based degree, for example primary documentary research or ethical approaches to genocide research.

On successful completion of study, depending on your choice of specialism pathway, we will issue you with one of the following awards:

MSc Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation
MA Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation

Work placements

Work or study placements are not available, however, students will get the opportunity to work with staff from the Centre of Archaeology on active casework and field investigations.

Course content

This course combines core modules with a dissertation in order to explore contemporary issues connected to the detection and prevention of homicide, conflict and genocide.

Core modules enable you to:

  • Study the wide range of acts of violence and genocide perpetrated in the 20th and 21st centuries, and the landscapes connected to them
  • Explore the ethical issues and challenges associated with forensic and archaeological investigations at sites of violence, conflict and genocide
  • Learn about cutting-edge methods that can be used to document sites and evidence connected to these crimes
  • Put field skills into practice in simulated and real-world scenarios
  • Adopt an interdisciplinary approach to forensic archaeology and genocide investigation.

The dissertation is supervised by staff but is a student-centred piece of independent work. Topics may be drawn from the areas covered by or associated with your taught modules or from active research projects being undertaken by the Centre of Archaeology or one of our partners.



After completing the Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation MA/MSc, you’ll be equipped with transferable skills attractive to employers. These can be adapted to a range of professions including: 

  • Archaeology
  • Forensic Investigation
  • Human Rights Work
  • Law Enforcement
  • Academia
  • Armed forces
  • Security services

Eager for more knowledge? Upon completion, you will be ideally placed for further academic study at PhD level.

Teaching and assessment


On this course, you will learn via a combination of lectures, seminars, practical exercises and fieldwork opportunities. Independent study also makes up an important part of the course. Tutors will provide supporting materials and formative and summative assessments to help you.

Our teaching is supported through our Virtual Learning Environment called Blackboard. This means you can access a range of materials to support your studies wherever you are.


There are two types of assessments: practice (also called formative) or formal (also called summative).

Formal assessments will include poster presentations, essays, fieldwork reports and a dissertation.

Learning support

Your course tutors will provide lots of support. But you can also take advantage of our Academic Skills team, who can help you with:

  • Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English (including punctuation, grammar)
  • Academic writing (including how to reference)
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Revision, assessment and exam skills (including time management)

Additional support

If you have additional needs like dyslexia or a sensory impairment, then our AccessAbility Services are here to help make sure nothing stands in your way.


We know that it is important for you to be able to evaluate your progress. Your tutor will give you feedback on any practice assessments you do.

We usually give you feedback on formal assessments within 20 working days, but the format will vary for each module.


The course is taught by staff from the Centre of Archaeology, a cutting-edge research centre based in the Humanities and Performing Arts Department at Staffordshire University.

The Centre of Archaeology is directed by Professor Caroline Sturdy Colls – Professor of Conflict Archaeology and Genocide Studies – alongside Associate Professor Kevin Colls. Both are practicing forensic archaeologists and investigators.

Our research team consists of specialists in Forensic and Conflict Archaeology, geophysical methods, archaeological excavation, photogrammetry and laser scanning, and ethical approaches to genocide investigation.

The Centre is dedicated to developing research excellence and professional practice with a particular focus on the application of novel techniques to the investigation of recent and historic crimes, guided by the unique ethical challenges posed in these circumstances. As part of this research, we have completed the first archaeological surveys of the former extermination camp at Treblinka (Poland), the sites pertaining to the slave labour programme in Alderney (the Channel Islands), the former Semlin camp (Serbia), killing sites in Ukraine and Poland, and Bergen-Belsen (Germany; in collaboration with the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation).

Caroline Sturdy Colls
Caroline Sturdy CollsProfessor of Conflict Archaeology and Genocide Investigation

Prof. Sturdy Colls’ pioneering research focuses on the application of interdisciplinary approaches to the investigation of Holocaust landscapes.

Read full profile
Kevin Colls
Kevin CollsAssociate Professor of Archaeology

Kevin has directed and published archaeological projects throughout the United Kingdom and Europe and holds over 20 years’ experience in research and professional archaeology. For the past eight years, Kevin has also worked on many forensic research projects throughout Europe associated with the Holocaust.

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William Mitchell
William MitchellProject Archaeologist: Centre of Archaeology

William has worked on a number of forensic research projects throughout Europe, including sites of the Holocaust in Germany, Ukraine and Poland. Using non-invasive geophysical techniques, he has developed his specialism in the search and recovery of buried remains on sites of the recent past.

Dr Tony Craig
Dr Tony CraigAssociate Professor in Modern History

Tony's expertise is in Northern Ireland, intelligence and security studies, archive research, conflict resolution.

His research interests include Irish foreign policy, British foreign policy, intelligence history, 
terrorism, security studies and decolonisation.

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Dr Simon Smith
Dr Simon SmithAssociate Professor of Security and International Relations

Simon's expertise covers EU-NATO Cooperation, transatlantic security and European and US defence transformation.

His research interests include transatlantic security and reforming European defence and the defence and security implications of an independent Scotland.

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Dr Alun Thomas
Dr Alun ThomasLecturer in Modern European History

Alun's research interests cover the history of Russia and the Soviet Union and Central Asia; imperialism, colonialism, decolonisation, refugeedom, itinerance; nomadism,nationalism, state-building, urbanisation, memory and patrimonialisation.

Read full profile

For the course starting on 21 September 2020 the tuition fees are:

Study option
Full time
UK / EU / Channel Islands
£9,085 per course
International (Non-EU)
£14,500 per course

If you would like to know more about the fees listed and what this means to you then please get in touch with our Enquiries Team.

Alumni discount

If you've previously completed a Staffordshire University undergraduate degree (excluding HND and foundation degrees) you may be entitled to a discount of up to 25% off your course fees for any subsequent postgraduate taught course (terms apply, see the postgraduate fees page for details). If you have any questions about how this relates to you, please contact

Our students

Thaleia Marioli
Forensic Archaeology (Module)

We got involved in the full archaeological procedure, we applied our knowledge on the interpretation of an archaeological field and finally, we experienced the satisfaction of finding buried artefacts which strengthen the initial hypothesis.

Daria Cherkaska
Forensic Archaeology (Module)

The Holocaust is one of the darkest pages of modern history and we have to understand that lesson. It’s all about tolerance and about learning hard lessons and as a researcher I could help the understanding and to investigate true stories and pay some respect to the victims.


Stoke-on-Trent campus
21 September 2020

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations.

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05/04/2020 12:10:49 / Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation / Full-time / 20.0 / 27.0 / SSTK-12704 / Direct link