Atoms/Iconography/360-white@2xion-briefcase - Ionicons Copy@2xAtoms/Iconography/calendar-dark@2xAtoms/Iconography/calendar-pinkAtoms/Iconography/calendar-pinkAtoms/Iconography/calendar-dark Copy@2x3B13F687-6EB2-452A-B918-16B02FF86090@2xchevron-right - FontAwesome@2x81A2B1C2-3C1E-48C0-8EAB-2BB76C1052E1@2xchevron-right - FontAwesome@2xchevron-right - FontAwesome@2xchevron-right - FontAwesome Copy@2x18D48E51-758C-47E9-949E-1E58FC9454A3@2xAtoms/Iconography/close-red@2xAtoms/Iconography/close-white@2xion-android-cloud-circle - Ionicons@2xAtoms/Brand/connected-uni-logo-white@2xAtoms/Iconography-download-icon-white@2xdropdown-chevron-black@2xAtoms/Iconography/dropdown-form-chevron-white@2xAtoms/Iconography/email-icon-light@1xF93E1E4C-136C-41CA-8FC9-02353765C1C0@2xA14CB21F-CD96-450C-BBD7-6647B25B0D0D@1xatoms/Iconography/facebook-icon@2xAtoms/Iconography/facebook-iconAtoms/Iconography/google-plus-icon@2xion-ios-information-outline - IoniconsAtoms/Iconography/instagram-iconGroup@2xAtoms/Iconography/linkedin-icon@2xion-android-menu - Ionicons@2x934F565B-4D4A-4BBE-B4EA-29E0D367BC7F@2xAtoms/Iconography/minus-icon@2xAEC8A5E2-9638-45F8-9E94-3C320D2410A9@2xAtoms/Iconography/nav-icon-white Copy@2xAtoms/Iconography/pause-icon-white@2xion-android-person - Ionicons@2xAtoms/Iconography/phone-icon-white@2x5131105A-B2E1-443D-A44D-E6DCCBBF53DD@2xAtoms/iconography/pintrest-icon@2xAtoms/Iconography/play-button-white@2xAtoms/Iconography-play-button-white-2@2xAtoms/Iconography/plus-icon-black@2xAtoms/Iconography/print-icon-light@2x34CD08DE-22EB-4484-B0B4-48190645DEBC@2xsearch - FontAwesome@2xAtoms/Iconography/search-white@2xAtoms/Iconography/snapchat-icon@2xAtoms/Iconography/tick-green@2xAtoms/Iconography/twitter-icon@2xAtoms/Iconography/twitter-iconAtoms/Iconography/youtube-icon@2xAtoms/Iconography/youtube-icon@2x Skip to content Skip to search

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
School of Law, Policing and Forensics
Book onto a Virtual Open Event Enquire about this course Apply now

Course changes for 2020/21

We are changing the way we deliver our courses from September 2020 to ensure a great student experience within a COVID-secure environment.

Find out more

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

Module 1: Introduction to Genocide and Mass Violence.

Knowledge brings awareness, understanding and tolerance. On this module, you will be introduced to the history and evolution of genocide, its definition, and the legal aspects of mass violence and atrocity.  You will study acts of genocide from across the globe to develop an understanding of the events and the legacies that such acts left behind. Taught by active forensic archaeologists and genocide investigators, this module represents an important step in your development towards a career in conflict and forensic investigation.

Module 2: Archaeologies of Genocide and Mass Violence

Understand the past to build a better future. On this module, you will study the wide range of acts of violence and genocide perpetrated in the 20th and 21st centuries and learn to identify the types of evidence that such acts leave behind. You will be tasked with thinking critically about how complex landscapes are formed and how they evolve due to the actions of perpetrators, victims and bystanders in a variety of contexts. The module will challenge you to analyse sites of genocide from many disciplinary perspectives and it will equip you with the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge to identify and interpret a wide range of physical evidence. 

Module 3: Genocide Investigation: Search, Recovery and Analysis

Develop your competency through professional practice. On this module, you will study and gain practical experience of the wide range of methodologies used to investigate sites of genocide and mass violence. Taught by specialists in their field, you will learn about a range of state of the art technologies using in search, recovery and post-excavation, and apply them in mock scenarios.

Module 4: Field School: Practical Skills in Genocide Investigation

Gain practical experience of real-world casework. This module will give you the opportunity to put into practice the skills you have learnt on the Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation degree program. You will be invited to join active forensic investigators from the Centre of Archaeology to carry out fieldwork one of their important research projects. You will gain practical experience of the wide range of methodologies used to investigate sites of genocide and mass violence. Taught by specialists in their field, you will use state of the art technologies. This module represents an important step in your development towards a career in conflict and forensic investigation. 

Module 5: Dissertation

Design and complete your own research project in forensic archaeology and genocide investigation. A dissertation is probably the longest piece of academic work you will complete. It will require effective project management, research, academic writing and data collation and analysis skills to complete on time. It is the one piece of work that is truly your own. Therefore, it will help you develop an in-depth understanding of a particular topic of genocide investigation whilst acquiring transferable skills in inter-personal communication, data collection and analysis, systematic analytical writing to present findings, and effective time-management. 

These modules enable you to:

  • Study and understand the wide range of acts of violence and genocide perpetrated in the 20th and 21st centuries, and the landscapes and physical evidence connected to them
  • Explore the ethical issues and challenges associated with forensic and archaeological investigations at sites of violence, conflict and genocide
  • Understand and critically reflect upon the role and contribution of archaeologists in the investigation of conflict and genocide worldwide
  • Critically evaluate the methods that can be employed by archaeologists working on sites related to past and current conflicts and genocide, especially intelligence gathering, remote sensing, geophysics and excavation 
  • Apply a range of forensic archaeological methods during a dedicated field investigation and interpret the results. 
  • Evidence your understanding of the complex ways in which genocide and mass violence affects societies, communities and individuals in the short, medium and long-term
  • Apply appropriate research skills and demonstrate communicative and evidencing skills [for individual assignments] appropriate to Masters level

The dissertation will enable you to:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of research methods including project planning, data collection and research ethics   
  • Evidence the integration of elements of your learning from the programme as a whole to research a theme or topic associated with forensic archaeology and genocide investigation 
  • Display competence in applying research skills to collect and analysis primary and/or secondary data and sources 
  • Demonstrate cognizance of methodological approaches to forensic archaeology and genocide investigation, focusing particularly on the analysis of data derived during desk-based research and practical fieldwork.



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).

Professor Caroline Sturdy Colls
Professor Caroline Sturdy CollsProfessor Of Conflict Archaeology

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

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 rese…

Read full profile
William Mitchell
William MitchellLecturer

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 recover…

Read full profile
Dr Tony Craig
Dr Tony CraigAssociate Professor

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…

Read full profile
Dr Simon Smith
Dr Simon SmithAssociate Professor

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…

Read full profile
Alun Thomas
Alun ThomasLecturer

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:

Tuition fees for MSc-Full-time
Study option UK / EU / Channel Islands International (Non-EU)
Full time £9,085 per course £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 alumni discount 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.

Social media

19/09/2020 12:36:24 / Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation / Full-time / 27.0 / 29.0 / SSTK-12704 / Direct link