How to Apply

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Admission procedure

Students who are enrolled (at UNIL) in the current semester and wish to pursue their studies with a Master program of the same faculty during the semester following their graduation (Bachelor) have to apply online here.

All other candidates have to apply for registration at the admission service.

For the admission, candidates coming from outside of UNIL must submit their completed applications online (from January 1st) or send it at the following address:

Université de Lausanne
Service des immatriculations et inscriptions
CH-1015 Lausanne

Although a motivation letter is not formally required, we recommend that you include one in your application, in particular if your academic background is not in biology. The deadline is April 30 (February 28 for candidates needing a study visa !) :

If you need more information about the admission procedure, please contact :

Once the Admissions department of the University of Lausanne has transmitted your application to the School of Biology, it will be examined to check if your academic profile is in adequacy with the chosen Master to guarantee you maximum chances of success.

Language level

As all the courses in our Master are taught in English, a C1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) or its equivalent level in English is mandatory.

The results of a IELTS, TOEIC or TOEFL test must be included in the application file.

Please note that the University of Lausanne is located in the French speaking part of Switzerland. Your integration will be facilitated if you speak French a little.

Requirements for application and acceptance

A maximum of 24 candidates may be admitted to the Master of Science in Human Taphonomy, providing they fulfill the conditions for enrolment at the University of Lausanne, providing they meet the 4 criteria listed below at the time of application, and providing they are selected by the Master's Admission Committee.

For Application:

To apply, the candidate must:

  1. Hold a Bachelor's degree from a Swiss university in at least one of the branches of study (swissuniversities) in Biology, Human Medicine or Forensic Science. Another university degree or title deemed equivalent by the Master's Admission Committee may also allow access to the Master's programme.
  2. Have successfully completed the course evaluations (including theory and practice) for all fields listed below, and obtained a minimum of 40 ECTS (or equivalent):

• Basic Sciences (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry) (minimum 15 ECTS)

• Statistics and Computer Sciences

• Biochemistry, Cell, Tissue and Molecular Biology (minimum 10 ECTS)

• Physiology, Functional Imaging and Microscopy.

  1. Provide evidence of C1 level of English according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR, or equivalent). The results of an IELTS, TOEIC or TOEFL test must be included in the application file.
  2. Provide evidence of taphonomic experience: at least 6 weeks full-time, including at least 4 weeks in the field of human taphonomy (internships, practical work, professional experiences, etc.), in the form of a reflective analysis written in English (see Proof of taphonomic experience below).

For Acceptance:

The selection is carried out based on (i) the relevance of taphonomic experience, (ii) the quality of the related reflective analysis and (iii) the editorial quality of the application file.


🛑 Proof of taphonomic experience (Please read, ESSENTIAL for application) 🛑

In order to be accepted in the Master's programme, candidates must show proof of at least 6 weeks of experience in the field of taphonomy (of which at least 4 weeks of human taphonomy). Examples of involvements that can be taken into account (non-exhaustive list):

  • Internships / professional activities with undertakers, cemeteries, crematoria, police, humanitarian organisations, hospital services
  • Visits related to human taphonomy (museum and/or cultural exhibition / display, etc.)
  • Theoretical teaching / Practical demonstrations in human anatomy, physiotherapy, ergonomics, sports science, chiropractic, prosthetics
  • Internships / Support for the Master's thesis in Human Taphonomy
  • Personal experiences (assisted suicide, palliative care, etc.)

If you are unsure about your qualifications or have questions about your taphonomic experience, feel free to contact us.

Your experience must be presented upon application, in the form of a written file in English containing:

  • a description of the activities (tasks carried out, number of hours or days per week, periods during which the activity was carried out, certificates and attestations, names of supervisors)
  • a reflective analysis of maximum 3 A4 UE pages (Arial 11 font, spacing and margins) on the theoretical and practical activities carried out. This reflective analysis must be organised in two parts: presentation of the experiences (1) and reflection on your experience (2) following instructions below:
  1. Presentation of experiences (max. 300 words):
    • What was the context of your interventions? What were your implications? What were your motivations for getting involved in these experiences or courses? What was the objective of your interventions, missions, and/or courses? Under what supervision?
    • What was your concrete experience? Describe what you did and the developments you made.
  2. Reflection on your experience (max. 400 words):
    • What analysis can you make of the activities carried out? How did you react to the situations you faced? What worked well and what did not? Why do you think this was the case? Identify the reasons or put forward hypotheses (be as concrete as possible in your analysis).
    • What is your personal assessment of these experiences? What knowledge and skills have you acquired that you can link to your professional plan or your Master's project in taphonomy?


Document submission

Here is the link to submit your application documents in order to be selected by the Master's Admissions Committee :

UNIL Master's grants

The University of Lausanne offers a limited number of Master's grants to candidates with qualifications from foreign universities who want to pursue a Master's degree in one of its Master's programs. You can find more information about the UNIL Master’s grants on the International web page.

Applications must be submitted to the Office for Social Affairs and Student Mobility Office before November 1st :

Université de Lausanne
Service des affaires sociales et de la mobilité étudiante
CH - 1015 Lausanne

For more information please contact

A Master's grant can only be awarded to candidates who satisfy the admission criteria of the Master's program. Candidates whose application for the grant is declined but who satisfy the admission criteria can still be admitted to the Master's program.

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