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Masters Degrees (Archaeological Science)

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The MSc Archaeological Science will provide you with a solid grounding in the theory and application of scientific principles and techniques within archaeology. Read more

The MSc Archaeological Science will provide you with a solid grounding in the theory and application of scientific principles and techniques within archaeology.

Overview

The MSc Archaeological Science will provide you with a solid grounding in the theory and application of scientific principles and techniques within archaeology. The programme also develops critical, analytical and transferable skills that prepare you for professional, academic and research careers in the exciting and rapidly advancing area of archaeological science or in non-cognate fields.

The programme places the study of the human past at the centre of archaeological science enquiry. This is achieved through a combination of science and self-selected thematic or period-based modules allowing you to situate your scientific training within the archaeological context(s) of your choice. The programme provides a detailed understanding of the foundations of analytical techniques, delivers practical experience in their application and data processing, and the ability to design and communicate research that employs scientific analyses to address archaeological questions. Upon graduation you will have experience of collecting, analysing and reporting on data to publication standard and ideally equipped to launch your career as a practising archaeological scientist.

Distinctive features

The MSc Archaeological Science at Cardiff University gives you access to:

  • A flexible and responsive programme that combines training in scientific enquiry, expertise and vocational skills with thematic and period-focused archaeology. 
  • Materials, equipment, library resources and funding to undertake meaningful research in partnership with a wide range of key heritage organisations across an international stage.
  • A programme with core strengths in key fields of archaeological science, tailored to launch your career in the discipline or to progress to doctoral research.
  • A department where the science, theory and practice of archaeology and conservation converge to create a unique environment for exploring the human past. 
  • Staff with extensive professional experience in researching, promoting, publishing, and integrating archaeological science across academic and commercial archaeology and the wider heritage sector.
  • An energetic team responsible for insights into iconic sites (e.g. Stonehenge, Çatalhöyük), tackling key issues in human history (e.g. hunting, farming, food, and feasts) through the development and application of innovative science (e.g. isotopes, residue analysis, DNA, proteomics)
  • A unique training in science communication at every level - from preparing conference presentations and journal articles, to project reports, press releases and public engagement, our training ensures you can transmit the excitement of scientific enquiry to diverse audiences.
  • Support for your future career ambitions. From further study to science advisors to specialists – our graduates work across the entire spectrum of archaeological science as well as moving into other successful careers.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Teaching is delivered via lectures, laboratory sessions, interactive workshops and tutorials, in addition to visits to relevant local resources such as the National Museum Wales and local heritage organisations.

Lectures take a range of forms but generally provide a broad structure for each subject, an introduction to key concepts and relevant up-to-date information. The Archaeological Science Master's provides students with bespoke training in scientific techniques during laboratory sessions. This includes developing practical skills in the identification, recording and analysis of archaeological materials during hands on laboratory sessions. These range from macroscopic e.g. bone identification, to microscopic e.g. material identification or status with light based or scanning electron microscopy, to sample selection, preparation and analysis e.g. isotopic or aDNA and include health and safety and laboratory management skills. Students will be able to develop specialist practical skills in at least one area of study. In workshops and seminars, you will have the opportunity to discuss themes or topics, to receive and consolidate feedback on your individual learning and to develop skills in oral presentation.

This programme is based within the School of History, Archaeology and Religion and taught by academic staff from across Cardiff University and by external speakers. All taught modules within the Programme are compulsory and you are expected to attend all lectures, laboratory sessions and other timetabled sessions. Students will receive supervision to help them complete the dissertation, but are also expected to engage in considerable independent study.

How will I be supported?

All Modules within the Programme make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard, on which students will find course materials and links to related materials. Students will be supervised when undertaking their dissertation. Supervision will include scheduled regular meetings to discuss progress, provide advice and guidance; and provide written feedback on draft dissertation contents.

Career prospects

After successfully completing this MSc, you should have a broad spectrum of knowledge and a variety of skills, making you highly attractive both to potential employers and research establishments. You will be able to pursue a wide range of professional careers, within commercial and academic archaeology and the wider heritage sector. Career paths will generally be specialist and will depend on the choice of modules. Graduates will be well placed to pursue careers as a specialist in isotope analysis, zooarchaeological analysis or human osteoarchaeology. They will also be in a position to apply for general laboratory based work and archaeological fieldwork. Working within science communication and management are other options. Potential employers include archaeological units, museums, universities, heritage institutions, Historic England and Cadw. Freelance or self-employment career routes are also common for animal and human bone analysts with postgraduate qualifications.

The archaeology department has strong links and collaborations across the heritage sector and beyond. British organisations that staff currently work with include Cadw, Historic England, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, National Museum Wales, the British Museum, the Welsh archaeological trusts and a range of other archaeology units (e.g. Wessex Archaeology, Oxford Archaeology, Cambridge Archaeology Unit, Archaeology Wales). In addition, staff are involved with archaeological research across the world. You will be encouraged to become involved in these collaborations via research projects and placements to maximise networking opportunities and increasing your employability.



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Scientific analysis is a key tool in the study of archaeological artefacts and assemblages. Read more

Scientific analysis is a key tool in the study of archaeological artefacts and assemblages. This MSc offers detailed training in the use of scientific techniques for the analysis of archaeological and heritage materials, and a solid background in the archaeology and anthropology of technology, allowing students to design and implement archaeologically meaningful scientific projects.

About this degree

This degree aims to bridge the gap between archaeology and science by integrating both a detailed training in the use of scientific techniques for the analysis of inorganic archaeological materials and a solid background in the anthropology of technology. By the end of the degree, students should have a good understanding of the foundations of the most established analytical techniques, practical experience in their application and data processing, as well as the ability to design research projects that employ instrumental analyses to address archaeological questions.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one core module (15 credits), four optional modules (75 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

  • Laboratory and instrumental skills in archaeological science

Optional modules

You are then able to choose further optional modules to the value of 75 credits. At least 15 credits must be made up from the following:  

  • Technology within Society
  • Archaeological Data Science

At least 30 credits must be made up from the following list below: 

  • Technology within Society
  • Archaeological Data Science
  • Archaeological Ceramic Analysis
  • Archaeological Glass and Glazes
  • Archaeometallurgy
  • Geoarchaeology: Methods and Concepts
  • Key topics in the Archaeology of the Americas
  • Interpreting Pottery
  • Working with Artefacts and Assemblages

In order to allow for a flexible curriculum, students are allowed to select up to 30 credits from any of the postgraduate modules offered at the UCL Institute of Archaeology under other Master's degrees

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical demonstrations and laboratory work. A popular aspect of this programme is its extensive use of analytical facilities. Assessment is through essays, practicals, projects, laboratory reports and oral presentations depending on the options chosen, and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Archaeological Science: Technology and Materials MSc

Careers

Given our strong emphasis on research training, many of our MSc graduates take up further research positions after their degree, and over half of our MSc students progress to PhD research. Their projects are generally concerned with the technology and/or provenance of ceramics, metals or glass in different regions and periods, but most of them involve scientific approaches in combination with traditional fieldwork and/or experimental archaeology. 

Some of our graduates are now teaching archaeometry or ancient technologies at different universities in the UK and abroad. Others work as conservation scientists in museums and heritage institutions, or as finds specialists, researchers and consultants employed by archaeological field units or academic research projects.

Employability

Due largely to an unparalleled breadth of academic expertise and laboratory facilities, our graduates develop an unusual combination of research and transferable skills, including critical abilities, team working, multimedia communication, numerical thinking and the use of advanced analytical instruments. On completion of the degree, graduates should be as comfortable in a laboratory as in a museum and/or an archaeological site. They become acquainted with research design and implementation, ethical issues and comparative approaches to world archaeology through direct exposure to an enormous variety of projects. The range of options available allows students to tailor their pathways towards different career prospects in archaeology and beyond.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK. Its specialist staff, outstanding library and fine teaching and reference collections provide a stimulating environment for postgraduate study.

The excellent in-house laboratory facilities will provide direct experience of a wide range of techniques, including electron microscopy and microphone analysis, fixed and portable X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, infra-red spectroscopy, petrography and metallography under the supervision of some of the world's leading specialists.

The institute houses fine teaching and reference collections that are extensively used by MSc students including ceramics, metals, stone artefacts and geological materials from around the world. In addition, the institute has a wide network of connections to museums and ongoing projects offering research opportunities for MSc students.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology

73% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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The MSc by Research Archaeological Science programme is an exciting opportunity to develop advanced knowledge and understanding of specific areas of archaeological science by following a personalised, individual study pathway, in close collaboration with our staff. Read more
The MSc by Research Archaeological Science programme is an exciting opportunity to develop advanced knowledge and understanding of specific areas of archaeological science by following a personalised, individual study pathway, in close collaboration with our staff. You will further your own intellectual development and enhance your independent research skills by completing a substantial archaeological research project.

It is ideal preparation for students wishing to undertake a PhD in archaeology, and follows the research model (1 year research training MA plus three years research) suggested by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It also provides a wide range of highly sought-after skills in research, critical thinking, data analysis, and communication which will provide the foundation for a future career in archaeology and heritage, as well as many other sectors.

This course offers you the flexibility to tailor the content to reflect your personal interests and research topic. Our teaching draws on the extensive and world-leading research expertise of staff within the Department of Archaeology. We have internationally-renowned expertise in Bioarchaeology (palaeoanthropology, archaeobotany and zooarchaeology) and Archaeological Materials (ceramics, glass and metals), with staff members who work across regions and chronological periods ranging from Old-World Prehistory, to the ancient Mediterranean and the Roman world, and Medieval and Post-Medieval Europe. Students can follow a specialist pathway focusing on specific areas of environmental or materials science, gaining advanced training in practical and analytical techniques, and can combine this with an in-depth study of a specific period or region. You will undertake independent research on a topic of your choice, supervised by a member of staff, which will include a major component of primary scientific analysis of archaeological evidence.

For those in current employment, the MSc by Research can be studied over two years on a part-time basis. As teaching is largely undertaken through individual tutorials or small groups, there is a great deal of flexibility to organise your time around existing commitments.
Visit the Department of Archaeology website to explore the Department's research and teaching profile.

Key facts

The department offers excellent facilities for teaching and research, including a suite of new, fully-equipped laboratories for both bioarchaeology and archaeological materials.
The department has established a Next Generation fund, to which our postgraduate students can apply for awards to help them undertake exciting new research projects or work placements at the end of their degree. Every year we run a Next Generation Archaeology conference which our staff and students organise together.
This course is taught within a thriving department that attracts academic and research staff from around the world, and which has a friendly and vibrant atmosphere.

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The Core Archaeology course introduces current debates in archaeological theory and the history of archaeological thought, as well as archaeological methods (ranging from the study of prehistoric exchange to bio-archaeological techniques to artefact studies, quantitative analyses and dating methods). Read more
The Core Archaeology course introduces current debates in archaeological theory and the history of archaeological thought, as well as archaeological methods (ranging from the study of prehistoric exchange to bio-archaeological techniques to artefact studies, quantitative analyses and dating methods). Area option courses examine the archaeology of a particular region of the world (such as South Asia or Europe) in detail. Students are encouraged to choose a third module from the range of MPhil options on offer in the Division of Archaeology to complement their specific interests (e.g., heritage, science, material culture, etc). All module choices must have the approval of the module's instructor and the MPhil in Archaeology Coordinator.

Students may choose to specialise in any of the following options:

- Archaeological Heritage and Museums
- Archaeological Science
- Archaeology of the Americas
- Egyptian Archaeology
- European Prehistory
- Medieval Archaeology
- Mesopotamian Archaeology
- Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology
- South Asian Archaeology

Visit the website: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/hsarmpmar

Course detail

Students electing the Archaeological Heritage option will take three taught modules:
1. The Socio-politics of the Past
2. Museums: History, Theory, and Practice
3. Management of the Archaeological Heritage. This course concentrates on issues of differentiation of interpretation.

The topics are all of academic importance and the teaching focuses on a theoretical understanding of the issues involved, with practical examples used as case studies. The aim is to educate you within this expanding field and to activate further research.

Students choosing the Archaeological Science option will take:
1. Archaeological Science
2. Practical Application of Scientific Methods modules
3. One other module offered by the Division of Archaeology (chosen in consultation with the supervisor and MPhil Coordinator).

This course covers a broad range of scientific archaeological approaches with geo- and bioarchaeological foci, from theoretical, methodological and practical points of view. A series of recurrent case studies is used to introduce the questions, techniques and ideas applicable in each archaeological situation. In addition, this MPhil equips students with analytical skills in archaeological science.

Format

All MPhil students in the Division of Archaeology take a Research Skills Module and write a dissertation (15,000 words maximum). Students choosing Archaeology of the Americas, Archaeology of Egypt, European Archaeology, Medieval Archaeology, Mesopotamian Archaeology, Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology, or South Asian Archaeology take:

1. the Core Archaeology course
2. the appropriate area option course
3. any other module offered by the Division of Archaeology (in consultation with the supervisor and MPhil coordinator).

The assessed components of the three selected modules each represent 15% of the final mark. The assessed components of Research Skills module represents 5%, while the dissertation counts for 50% of the final mark.

Assessment

- The dissertation is an extended piece of independent, original research. Students work with their supervisor to formulate a dissertation project, carry out research and write it up. The topic of the dissertation has to be approved by the Faculty Degree Committee. The dissertation is of maximum 15,000 words (excluding bibliography and appendices) and is due at the end of August; it counts as 50% of the student’s final mark.

- Students taking the MPhil in Archaeology are usually required to produce between 3 and 6 assessed essays depending on their chosen course of study and the modules they select. The essays are between 3000 and 4000 words and are submitted in Michaelmas, Lent and Easter Terms.

- Students taking the MPhil in Archaeology are required to sit written examinations for some modules.

- Attendance at the relevant Research Skills Workshops is required of all MPhil students in the Division of Archaeology. MPhil students submit a 2000 word research proposal and give a presentation to teaching staff and peers which form the assessed part of the Research Skills module and are worth 5% of the overall MPhil degree.

Continuing

MPhil students wishing to continue to the PhD in Archaeology are required to achieve a High Pass mark of 68 overall and no less than 68 in their dissertation, and to obtain the support of an appropriate supervisor. In some circumstances additional academic conditions may be set to ensure appropriate skills, such as language competence, are in place prior to admittance on the PhD programme.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

There are many different sources of funding available to support UK/EU and international students at the Division of Archaeology but full scholarships for MPhil students are highly competitive. The Division of Archaeology enters exceptionally strong MPhil candidates for Gates Cambridge, CHESS and AHRC scholarships and scholarship schemes administered by the Cambridge Trust. The Division of Archaeology also administers several funds which aim to support Archaeological fieldwork, Egyptology and Assyriology at MPhil level and will endeavour to support students in obtaining funding from University and external sources. For further information about funding opportunities at the Division of Archaeology consult the Division website: http://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate-funding or contact the Graduate Administrator: .

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

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This MSc or Postgraduate Diploma in Archaeological Sciences gives graduates in Archaeology and related subjects a systematic training in the application of modern scientific methods. Read more

This MSc or Postgraduate Diploma in Archaeological Sciences gives graduates in Archaeology and related subjects a systematic training in the application of modern scientific methods.

It gives you the practical, analytical and interpretative skills you need to apply a wide range of specialist approaches, preparing you not only for research in archaeological science but also to pursue career opportunities in all areas of mainstream archaeology.

You will join a group of postgraduate students from across the world and have the opportunity to use a wide range of specialist facilities and collections, whilst being taught by internationally recognised, research-active academic staff.

You can use the course to obtain broad expertise in the field, or to specialise in areas such as:

  • Environmental Archaeology, covering environmental change, subsistence and health through studies of animal bones, plant remains and biomarkers in human and non-human hard tissue.
  • Landscape Archaeology, focusing on understanding and interpreting landscapes in the past using prospection methods, visualisation and GIS.
  • Chronology and Biomolecules, specialising in the use of physical, chemical and biomolecular methods to study and date both human remains and artefacts.

Rankings

Top 200 - 2018 QS World University Rankings by subject.

What you will study

This programme prepares students not only for research in archaeological science, but also to further career prospects in all areas of mainstream archaeology.

The programme is normally offered on a full-time basis but a part-time route is feasible as well. Individual modules are available to candidates wishing to enhance their specialist knowledge in a particular area.

Core Modules

Option Modules

Learning and assessment

The teaching and learning strategy takes into consideration the learning outcomes, the nature of the subject, and the need for you to take responsibility for your own learning as part of this advanced taught programme.

The thematic modules are delivered in a combination of formal lectures, student-led intensive seminars/tutorials and extensive practical instruction. Coursework (laboratory and field reports, worksheets, essays) is geared towards demonstrating relevant knowledge, understanding and professional skills in principal approaches to the application and use of scientific methods in archaeology. Elements of group work are part of core specialist modules; communication skills are tested in both written and oral form in several modules.

The degree progresses through a spiral curriculum, with each teaching / assessment block developing and building on prior learning. The underlying knowledge and understanding is then drawn upon in the Dissertation (c.15000 words) which encompasses a substantial piece of original research, ultimately assessed for its publishable merit.

The assessment strategy is designed to support the learning outcomes of each specific module. It uses a wide range of assessment methods, including coursework (worksheets, critiques, laboratory reports, research design, essays), exams (practical tests), and oral presentations. Assessment elements are regularly structured in a way that allows you to benefit from formative learning towards summative assessment.

Facilities

You will use a wide range of specialist facilities and collections, including geophysical survey, 3D visualisation, image analysis, materials investigation, botanical and faunal analysis and the largest collection of human skeletal remains in any UK archaeology department, over 4,000 skeletons, dating from the Neolithic to the 19th century.

Career prospects

The course prepares students not only for research in archaeological science, but also furthers career prospects in mainstream archaeology or scientific analysis. The course is well-suited both to students who wish to use it as a foundation from which to commence research or as vocational training to enhance employment prospects in archaeology.

Career destinations have included PhDs at Universities of York, Bradford, Oxford, Texas A&M, Catamarca; UNESCO research; archaeological project managers; conservation science and teaching.

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Study support

A comprehensive support network is here for you to ensure you reach your academic potential and go on to further success in the future.

You’ll benefit from a range of support services, including:

  • personal academic tutor
  • student support / administration team
  • Academic Skills Advice service
  • Career and Employability Services
  • award-winning Disability Service
  • well stocked libraries and excellent IT facilities

Research

Archaeology engages the entire human past in all its temporal and spatial dimensions. It is fundamental to our understanding of how we evolved and our communities developed, and how we study, preserve and interpret our past.

At Bradford, our distinctive approach emphasises the integration of the natural and physical sciences in this enquiry. In accordance with the University’s mission, making knowledge work, the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences aims to provide excellence in a comprehensive range of archaeological topics, with emphasis on both teaching and research, believing the two activities to be mutually dependent.



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Archaeology in Leiden encompasses the study of societies and cultures from the past, aiming to reconstruct and revive them. Make a meaningful contribution to resolving present-day societal issues such as migration, globalisation and climate change, using your interest in the past. Read more

Archaeology in Leiden encompasses the study of societies and cultures from the past, aiming to reconstruct and revive them. Make a meaningful contribution to resolving present-day societal issues such as migration, globalisation and climate change, using your interest in the past.

Leiden's Faculty of Archaeology

Leiden’s Archaeology master’s degree has the most diverse programme in the Netherlands. Leiden also boasts the only independent Faculty of Archaeology in the Netherlands. The study programme offers various regional and thematic specialisations and the teaching programme is closely linked to ongoing research.

Our academic staff are involved in research all over the world, with a strong focus on field research. In addition, the programme emphasises ecology and geology, combined with both iconology and historical studies, as well as ethno-archaeological, anthropological and experimental approaches. A combination with modern museum practices and developments in archaeological heritage management broadens your scope even more.

Choose Archaeology at Leiden University:

  • Explore a truly unique choice of challenging regional and thematic specialisations.
  • Study at a faculty that ranks in the top ten worldwide in academic reputation and research impact (March 2017 QS World University Ranking by subject).
  • Benefit from our outstanding international faculty staff, which is involved in projects all over the world, and has a strong emphasis on field archaeology.
  • Work with top researchers, and take advantage of the strong connection between our current research projects and our education.

Multidisciplinary focus

As a student of one of our specialisations, you will gain in-depth knowledge of the discipline of your choice. At the same time, you will take part in ongoing debates about general theory, the development of new methods and the use of information technology.

Our teaching is multidisciplinary and uses theories, methods and techniques drawn from the humanities, social sciences and sciences. By regarding the matter from an ecologist's viewpoint, or seeing it through a geologist's or anthropologist's eye, you add great value to your studies and research.

Specialisations

Master of Arts or Master of Science

Students who choose the Archaeological Science specialisation receive a Master of Science degree in Archaeology. For World Archaeology and Heritage and Museum Studies, you receive a Master of Arts degree in Archaeology.



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Study at the frontiers of archaeological science. Like a handful of comparable courses, the York MSc in Bioarchaeology provides training in the advanced osteoarchaeological analysis of skeletal remains. Read more
Study at the frontiers of archaeological science

Why choose this course?

Like a handful of comparable courses, the York MSc in Bioarchaeology provides training in the advanced osteoarchaeological analysis of skeletal remains. Uniquely, however, it is the only course in the UK to combine this discipline with the molecular analysis of human remains. Nowhere else can you immerse yourself in the study of stable isotopes, lipid residue analysis, palaeoproteomics and ancient DNA – and play an active role in the development of new techniques in this constantly evolving branch of archaeology. In 2014, seven of the top 100 discoveries in science were in archaeology, and BioArCh staff were involved in three of these.
-Advanced training in human osteoarchaeology, delivered by the UK’s leading practitioners
-Study ancient biomolecules in world-class facilities at the BioArch centre and Department of Biology
-Unique opportunity to combine bioarchaeology with complementary subjects and tailor a course to suit your interests
-Access an incredible range of in-house analytical equipment
-Take part in cutting-edge science and build essential practical skills
-Work alongside leading researchers and academics in a diverse range of specialisms
-Work on diverse material that is often ‘fresh out of the ground’ and make valuable contributions to live projects Receive career and research guidance from staff with significant experience in the sector and a track record of successfully placing PhD students

What does the course cover?

Through a combination of academic studies, practical training and dissertation research, this course provides a thorough grounding in all aspects of bioarchaeology theory, investigation and practice.

Uniquely, you can combine bioarchaeology with a range of subjects and tailor your degree to your own interests. You could adopt a ‘period’ focus, for example, to specialise in the bioarchaeology of the Medieval, Viking, Mesolithic or early prehistoric periods. You could combine human bioarchaeology with zooarchaeology and orientate your course towards more advanced studies of bone function and anatomy. Or you could focus on skills such as GIS modelling and field archaeology.

Who is it for?

This course is designed for students with a passionate interest in the future of archaeology, who want to work at the frontiers of archaeological science. The degree is primarily aimed at those whose previous experience is in archaeology, anthropology, biology or related fields, but we do accept students from diverse backgrounds. The common factor among our student intake is a keen interest in science and in human remains at a biomolecular or bone level.

What can it lead to?

Molecular analysis is used increasingly widely in archaeology, but the range of osteological and molecular skills offered by the course provide valuable training and expertise for a wide range of careers and further study.

Many students go on to take PhDs at York and other institutions around the world. Others pursue a wide range of professional careers, from osteoarchaeology and environmental archaeology to the medical humanities and laboratory technician work.

Careers

By the end of the MSc Bioarchaeology course you will be able to:
-Identify and record human bone assemblages
-Age, sex and assess pathologies from human bones
-Understand advanced methods for analysing bone tissues, including biomolecular methods
-Apply chemical and biomolecular methods to skeletal material
-Understand the processes of decay and diagenesis of bone tissue
-Critically evaluate published research and datasets
-Orally present knowledge and concepts
-Work effectively within a laboratory environment
-Plan, design and undertake a piece of independent research

These skills and techniques are deployed widely in the field of archaeological research and exploration, but they are also valuable for a wide range of careers and further studies.

Many our MSc Bioarchaeology postgraduates go on to further research in bioarchaeological and environmental fields. The BioArch department has a successful track record of placing students on PhD courses in York and institutions worldwide.

Here’s a selection of the career and research destinations of some of our recent students: US graduate school programmes
-Archaeological field units
-Environmental archaeology
-Professional archaeologists – field and laboratory based
-Laboratory technicians
-Demonstrators
-University/research technicians
-Academia
-On-site osteoarchaeologists
-Medical humanities

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UCL is a world-leading centre for research and teaching in the archaeology and cultural heritage of Egypt and the Middle East. The programme is ideally suited to students seeking to combine advanced study of these regions with new technical and interpretative skills, and offers an ideal grounding for doctoral research. Read more

UCL is a world-leading centre for research and teaching in the archaeology and cultural heritage of Egypt and the Middle East. The programme is ideally suited to students seeking to combine advanced study of these regions with new technical and interpretative skills, and offers an ideal grounding for doctoral research.

About this degree

UCL’s wide range of archaeological expertise provides a unique opportunity to study Egypt and the Middle East in a truly comparative context, and for students to develop a programme and research dissertation tailored to individual interests. These may include the application of new skills in archaeological science, exploring new theoretical perspectives, or the significance of archaeology for the wider cultural heritage of these regions.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (45 credits), two or three optional modules (45 credits), and a dissertation.

Core modules

All students must take the following: 

  • Archaeology of Egypt and the Near East: A Comparative Approach
  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
  • Heritage Ethics and Archaeological Practice in the Mediterranean and Middle East

Optional modules

You are then able to choose further optional modules to the value of 45 credits. The most popular choices are: 

  • Ancient Cyprus: Colonisations, Copper and City-States (by arrangement with King's College London)
  • Archaeologies of Asia
  • Aegean Prehistory: major themes and debates
  • Beyond Chiefdoms: Archaeologies of African Political Complexity
  • Egyptian Archaeology: An Object-Based Theoretical Approach
  • Intangible Dimensions of Museum Objects from Egypt
  • Introductory Akkadian (by arrangement with SOAS)
  • Mediterranean Dynamics
  • Mediterranean Prehistory
  • Middle Egyptian Language
  • Society and Culture in Ancient Egypt
  • The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Near East: the emergence of villages and urban societies
  • Middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age in the Near East: City-States and Empires

Students may also elect options from the wide range of other graduate courses in world archaeology, ancient languages, archaeological sciences, or cultural heritage offered at the Institute of Archaeology, subject to availability

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project, with guidance from an assigned supervisor, which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning

Teaching at the IoA is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars to support student interaction, and examination is primarily through module-based essays and the individual dissertation. Depending on the options taken, teaching may also include object handling, museum work, and laboratory practicals.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Archaeology and Heritage of Egypt and the Middle East MA

Careers

The first cohort of students on the Archaeology and Heritage of Egypt and the Middle East MA is due to graduate in 2018, therefore no specific career destinations are currently available.

Previous UCL graduates in these areas have regularly gone on to undertake doctoral research, or found employment in related areas of the public, museum and heritage sector.

Employability

In addition to receiving advanced training in their chosen subject areas, students will have the opportunity to acquire a strong combination of general research skills, communication skills, skills in teamwork and networking and overall personal effectiveness.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Egyptian and Middle Eastern archaeology at UCL are embedded in the vibrant research environment of London's Bloomsbury Campus, in the centre of one of the most exciting cities in the world. The research facilities and collections of the British Museum, the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, and the Institute of Archaeology's own extensive collections from these regions will be on your doorstep. Our institute includes over 20 researchers with regional expertise in these areas, from prehistory to the present, and has a long and ongoing history of active fieldwork throughout the study region. We are also an international centre for research in cultural heritage and museum studies, where the study of the past is critically related to the concerns of the present.

UCL’s wide range of expertise in archaeology and cultural heritage will allow you to study the Egyptian and Middle Eastern past under the instruction of world-leading experts, and with a sensitivity to the contemporary circumstances of the study region. In addition to taught modules, students are given the opportunity to develop a programme of research tailored to their individual interests, including hands-on work with collections from Egypt and the Middle East. New skills you may acquire include the application of techniques in archaeological science, new theoretical perspectives, and critical approaches to the use of museum collections and archives in research. The legacy of colonialism, and the ethical challenges of archaeological research in regions of current conflict, are also core topics in the teaching of the programme.

With its international staff and student body, the UCL Institute of Archaeology (IoA) is well known for its welcoming atmosphere, challenging intellectual climate, and supportive feedback structure. It is regularly rated in first place among UK archaeology departments for student experience.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology

73% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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Palaeopathology is the study of past disease in human remains; it is a sub-discipline of bioarchaeology (study of human remains from archaeological sites). Read more

Palaeopathology is the study of past disease in human remains; it is a sub-discipline of bioarchaeology (study of human remains from archaeological sites). This lecture, seminar and laboratory based MSc equips you with the theoretical and practical skills knowledge of how to study and interpret data collected from human remains. The emphasis is on health and well-being using a multidisciplinary approach, linking biological evidence for disease with cultural data (the bioarchaeological approach). This course is unique in the world and it takes a holistic view of disease, as seen in a clinical contexts today, and will prepare you for undertaking significant research projects in this subject, or working in contract/commercial archaeology, and many other fields. It is aimed at graduates mainly in archaeology and anthropology with or without past experience of knowledge in this field, and for those who aspire to continue into a PhD programme or work in contract archaeology. However, past students have come from a variety of subject backgrounds, and destination data illustrate a wide range of employments take these students.

Course Structure

Two taught modules in the Epiphany term (Research and Study Skills in Archaeological Science and Identification and Analysis of the Normal Human Skeleton), and two taught modules in Michaelmas term (Palaeopathology: Theory and Method; Themes in Palaeopathology), with the double module dissertation over Easter term and the summer (submitted early September).

Core Modules

  • Research and Study Skills in Archaeological Science
  • Identification and Analysis of the Normal Human Skeleton
  • Palaeopathology: Theory and Method
  • Themes in Palaeopathology
  • Dissertation (double module).

Course Learning and Teaching

The programme is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical classes. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate in bioarchaeology. Seminars then provide opportunities for smaller groups of you to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and through independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. Finally, practical laboratory classes allow you to gain direct practical skills in the recording and interpretation of data from skeletal remains. The latter provide an important element of the programme in allowing independent and group work, as well as hands-on experience under laboratory conditions, essential for a potential future working environment.

The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the programme, as you develop your knowledge and ability as independent learners, giving them the opportunity to engage in research, professional practice, and developing and demonstrating research skills in a particular area of the subject.

In Term 1 you will typically attend 4 hours a week of lectures and 2.5 hours of laboratory sessions, in addition to seminars over the term. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge. External speakers specialising in specific subject areas from “industry” and academia are brought in to engage the students on issues in research, but also in the profession.

In Term 2 the balance shifts from learning the basic skills required for recording and interpreting skeletal data (age at death, sex, normal variation), to further developing skills for palaeopathological data recording and their interpretation and understanding the limitations. In addition, the Themes module aims to develop in students a critical approach to the evaluation of multiple forms of evidence, beyond that for human remains, for the reconstruction of specific themes. It focuses on discussion and debate of different related issues. In Term 2 you will typically attend 4 hours a week of lectures and 2.5 hours of laboratory sessions, in addition to seminars over the term. Again, external speakers specialising in specific subject areas from “industry” and academia are brought in to engage the students on issues in research, but also in the profession.

The move towards greater emphasis on independent learning and research continues in Term 3 and beyond, where the research skills acquired earlier in the programme are developed through the dissertation research project. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom they will typically have three one-to-one supervisory meetings, you will undertake a detailed study of a particular area, resulting in a significant piece of independent research. The dissertation is regarded as a preparation for further professional or academic work. In Term 3 students are given the opportunity to attend a Careers Session in the Department where past graduates of the course talk about their career trajectories since graduating.

Throughout the programme, you will have access to an “academic adviser”, or in the case of this MSc the two Directors (Professor Charlotte Roberts and Dr Rebecca Gowland), who provide you with academic support and guidance. Typically a student meets their adviser two to three times a year, in addition to which all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The department also has an exciting programme of weekly one hour research seminars which postgraduate students are strongly encouraged to attend. Additionally, the students who attend the MSc Palaeopathology course are provided with the opportunity to attend journal paper critique sessions each term, and human bioarchaeology seminars given by PhD students.

Career Opportunities

Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.



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This is a unique opportunity for artists to collaborate in the world of science with opportunities in the fields of public health, astrophysics, sports science, technology, museum practice, computing, medicine and forensics. Read more
This is a unique opportunity for artists to collaborate in the world of science with opportunities in the fields of public health, astrophysics, sports science, technology, museum practice, computing, medicine and forensics.

•Enrol on a truly innovative course, collaboratively developed with academic experts across a number of disciplines that include: Art and Design, Science, Education, Health and Community, Technology and Environment
•Enjoy access to a number of different established research centres across Liverpool John Moores University
•Develop real world skills on a programme unique to the UK and decide which areas of art and science you wish to follow as the programme progresses
•Explore art and science project briefs in unexpected forms

This practical, collaborative and vocational discipline can be applied to a rich variety of creative contexts and purposes within collaborative areas in art and science.

The MA is a studio based programme with collaborative practice and discovery at its core. The programme will offer a number of options for study and collaboration including; science and archaeological visualisation, museums, advertising, education, public health, biomedical communications, sports science and forensics.

You will focus on the practical application of art in a science context and be guided in understanding how this translates through a sequence of set and self-initiated projects.

You will define your existing practice and extend its scope and ambition within an art and science context, while studying themes related to public engagement, ethics, data protection and working with humans in research, and developing an understanding of current research happening in collaborative areas in art and science.

The programme will encourage you to work across other disciplines and, where appropriate, collaborate with other MA programmes within the Liverpool School of Art and Design, as well as other postgraduate taught courses across LJMU and external partners. It aims to help you to understand research happening in collaborative areas in art and science, and to develop research skills and relevant approaches to your practice and the critical techniques to support your final project.

Learning takes place predominantly through the creative and critical exploration of research focused Art in Science projects.

The programme is delivered full time over one year and features a significant amount of independent study. You will exhibit your final work at the Masters degree show which involves all Liverpool School of Art and Design's taught postgraduate Masters students.

Facilities and Research Groups

The programme is based in the Liverpool School of Art and Design’s John Lennon Art and Design building, a purpose-built facility in Liverpool city centre which encourages interaction between different disciplines and sharing of ideas and expertise.

As a Masters student on this course you may become linked to our Exhibition Research Centre, Design Lab, Contemporary Art Lab and the Face Lab.

Throughout the programme you will have opportunities to visit and potentially collaborate with research centres across LJMU. This may include: The Centre for Advanced Policing Studies, Centre for Public Health, Astrophysics Research Institute, Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology and the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences.

What you will study on this degree

Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.

Level 7

-Studio practice (Art in Science)
-Research and Practice
-Collaborative practice
-Major project (Art in Science)

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Academic Framework reviews are conducted by LJMU from time to time to ensure that academic standards continue to be maintained. A review is currently in progress and will be operational for the academic year 2016/2017. Final details of this programme’s designated core and option modules will be made available on LJMU’s website as soon as possible and prior to formal enrolment for the academic year 2016/2017.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.

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This MA provides training in the documentation and interpretation of artefacts from archaeological sites and museum collections. Students benefit from a placement within a museum or an archaeological unit where experience will be gained in the practice of finds analysis. Read more

This MA provides training in the documentation and interpretation of artefacts from archaeological sites and museum collections. Students benefit from a placement within a museum or an archaeological unit where experience will be gained in the practice of finds analysis.

About this degree

Students are introduced to the skills of finds specialists. They develop the ability to identify, describe, document, catalogue and analyse artefacts and artefact assemblages. Subjects covered include the description of ceramic, lithic and metal objects. In practical sessions, we cover drawing, photography and work with databases. Many sessions make use of the institute's extensive collections. The programme will also raise awareness of different approaches to artefact analysis and introduce recent discussions on the subject.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core module (30 credits), four optional modules (60 credits), an optional work placement and a research project (90 credits).

Core modules

All students are required to take the following: 

  • Working with Artefacts and Assemblages
  • Technology within Society

Optional modules

Students choose to follow further optional modules up to the value of 60 credits from an outstanding range of Master's options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. For this degree, some of the most popular choices include: 

  • Antiquities and the Law
  • Archaeological Ceramic Analysis
  • Archaeological Glass and Glazes
  • Archaeometallurgy
  • British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age
  • Experimental Archaeology
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Intangible Dimensions of Museum Objects from Egypt
  • Interpreting Pottery
  • Issues in Conservation: Understanding Objects
  • Key Topics in the Archaeology of the Americas
  • Laboratory and Instrumental Skills in Archaeological Science
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Greek Art
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Roman Art
  • Nature, Culture and the Languages of Art: theories and methodologies of art interpretation
  • Prehistoric Stone Artefact Analysis
  • Social and Material Contexts in Art: comparative approaches to art explanation

Dissertation/report

The 15,000–word dissertation can cover any artefact-based subject matter. It normally combines a professional standard finds report with an analysis and an academic overview.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through formal lectures, seminars and practical sessions. It can include a placement at a relevant museum or archaeological unit where students gain experience in the practical study and the recording of an artefact assemblage. Assessment of the core course is by weekly pieces of short work, a portfolio and the dissertation. The Technology within Society module is assessed by a project proposal and an essay.

Placement

Students have the option to undertake a 20-day voluntary placement at a relevant museum or archaeological unit. The placement itself is not formally assessed other than through its contribution to the student's dissertation work. 

Tier 4 students are permitted to undertake a work placement during their programme, however they must not exceed 20 hours per week (unless the placement is an intergral and assessed part of the programme). This applies whether that work placement takes place at UCL or at an external institution. If you choose to undertake a placement at an external institution, you will be required to report to the department on a weekly basis so that you can continue to comply with your visa. 

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Artefact Studies MA

Careers

Some recent graduates of the programme have gone on to PhD studies while others have pursued a very wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology. The main career path is working as assistants, museum curators or working in the antiquities service recording and analysing finds.

Employability

The degree is tailored to give graduates a solid grounding in systematically recording and documenting artefacts as well as analysing artefact assemblage. They will also have a basic understanding of creating graphs and diagrams, and analysing and assembling finds-catalogues. Without concentrating on any specific epoch, we give students the tools for understanding and systematically analysing any artefact assemblages.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Whether you plan a career as a finds assistant, museum curator or plan a materials-based PhD, this programme provides you with the skills you need to successfully identify, describe and document artefacts and analyse assemblages. The emphasis  is very much on practical application, so there will be numerous handling sessions and praxis-related tasks.

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK, and provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate study. Its outstanding archaeological library is complemented by UCL's Main Library, University of London Senate House and other specialist libraries. UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library.

UCL's own museums and collections form a resource of international importance for academic research. Students will work on material from the institute's collection as part of their assessment. Past students on this programme have made effective use of the resources at the British Museum, the Museum of London and the Museum of London archives, the Petrie Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and other British and international museums. The Wolfson Labs provide a unique facility for scientific analyses of materials and have been used by numerous artefact students for their dissertations after the required training.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology

73% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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This MA offers a tailor-made programme of study designed as a preparation for an MPhil or PhD research project. Read more

This MA offers a tailor-made programme of study designed as a preparation for an MPhil or PhD research project. Students develop a detailed understanding of archaeological data and its interpretation to serve as a basis for independent research, and the ability to develop original research questions and explore them effectively.

About this degree

This MA offers a wide-ranging and challenging introduction to theoretical issues involved in modern archaeology as a comparative, anthropologically-informed, and socially-situated discipline. Students develop critically aware perspectives on archaeological practice and research processes, and gain an in-depth understanding of approaches to the collection, analysis and interpretation of archaeological data.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

There are two core modules (30 credits), a research proposal (60 credits) and research writing (90 credits).

Core modules

Students are required to take the following and a Graduate School Skills Development module (optional)

  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Current Issues

Please note:

Research Proposal

Students are asked to prepare a fully documented research proposal for a planned MPhil or PhD, together with a literature survey and a bibliography. A seminar presentation on the proposal must be given.

Research Writing

Students also produce a piece of research writing of c. 15,000 words, which is preliminary to the intended PhD or MPhil degree.

Dissertation/report

Students prepare a fully documented research proposal of 12,000 words, and complete a piece of research writing of approximately 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The core programme is taught within a seminar framework based on set readings. A tailor-made programme of other work is designed in consultation with the student's research supervisor. Student performance is assessed on the basis of the core module assessments, a research proposal and a piece of research writing (dissertation).

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Research Methods for Archaeology MA

Funding

UCL Institute of Archaeology (IoA) Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2018/19. All UK/EU and Overseas fee-paying students with an offer to start any Master's degree offered by the IoA are eligible to apply. For an application form please email . The deadline for applications is 1 March 2018.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

Most graduates of the programme go on to MPhil or PhD studies. Others pursue a wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Secondary School Teacher (Classics), north London grammar school and studying PhD in Archaeology, University of Exeter
  • PhD in Archaeology, UCL

Employability

This programme is designed specifically to develop research skills to enable students to design and carry through an independent archaeological research project. In addition to general research skills, more specific experience and skills identified as essential for the proposed research will be developed through optional modules and training. In addition, students acquire a detailed understanding of recent theoretical debates and the critical skills to evaluate existing arguments and interpretations and to develop their own.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and one of the most highly regarded centres for archaeology, archaeological science, cultural heritage and museum studies in Britain, as evidenced by its top three position (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017) and recent National Student Survey results. It is one of the very few departments of archaeology in the world actively pursuing research on a truly global scale. Its degree programmes offer an unrivalled variety of modules on a diverse range of topics. The institute hosts events on many different aspects of archaeology and is linked to heritage organisations, museums and archaeological societies, providing an outstanding research environment for staff, students and visitors. It is truly international in outlook and membership, with students and staff from over 40 countries, and involvement in field research projects around the world.

The institute's outstanding archaeological library is complemented by UCL's main library, University of London Senate House and other specialist libraries.

UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library. UCL's own museums and collections form a resource of international importance for academic research.



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The Archaeology Graduate Diploma at UCL is fully integrated within the teaching programme of the Institute of Archaeology. Read more

The Archaeology Graduate Diploma at UCL is fully integrated within the teaching programme of the Institute of Archaeology. The programme offers an education in all major aspects of archaeology, in a challenging yet supportive environment, under the supervision of teachers actively engaged in research at the forefront of the field.

About this degree

By the end of the programme, students will have developed an understanding of past societies within their cultural, socio-political, economic, historical and environmental contexts, as well as the current social and political context of archaeology, with particular reference to the management, interpretation and presentation of archaeological heritage. Depending on their choice of optional modules, students will also have gained knowledge and understanding of specific topics.

Students undertake modules to the value of 120 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits) and optional modules from the wide range available within the department (90 credits).

Core modules

  • Current Issues in Archaeological Theory
  • Interpreting Archaeological Data

Optional modules

Optional modules are chosen from the wide range of second and third-year undergraduate taught modules available within the institute.

Dissertation/report

Not applicable.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, museum visits and laboratory classes. Nearly all modules, except the core module Interpreting Archaeological Data which involves one unseen examination, are assessed by coursework. Any language module that students may choose will also be assessed by examinations.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Archaeology Grad Dip

Careers

The programme provides a solid foundation for students whose first degree is in a non-archaeology subject and who wish to pursue graduate studies (MA and higher) in archaeology and develop their own interests, which they will also pursue at graduate level. The diploma is also designed to provide an academic qualification in archaeology for students wishing to explore employment opportunities in the field.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and one of the most highly regarded centres for archaeology, archaeological science, cultural heritage and museum studies in Britain, as evidenced by its leading position in university league tables and National Student Survey results.

Its outstanding archaeological library is complemented by the UCL Main Library, University of London Senate House and other specialist libraries.

UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library. Students benefit from London's many museums and galleries and other archaeological spaces, but in particular have easy access to UCL's own museums and collections, which form a resource of international importance for academic research.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology

73% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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Top archaeological researchers and heritage professionals use a raft of computational methods including GIS, data mining, web science, ABM, point-process modelling and network analysis. Read more

Top archaeological researchers and heritage professionals use a raft of computational methods including GIS, data mining, web science, ABM, point-process modelling and network analysis. To impress employers you need the flexibility to learn on the job, leverage open data and program open source software. This MSc draws on UCL's unparalleled concentration of expertise to equip you for future research or significantly enhance your employability.

About this degree

Students learn about a wide range of concepts that underpin computational approaches to archaeology and human history. Students become proficient in the archaeological application of both commercial and open source GIS software and learn other practical skills such as programming, data-mining, advanced spatial analysis with R, and agent-based simulation.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

  • Archaeological Data Science
  • Complexity, Space and Human History

Optional modules

  • Exploratory Data Analysis in Archaeology
  • GIS Approaches to Past Landscapes
  • GIS in Archaeology and History
  • Remote Sensing in Archaeology
  • Spatial Statistics, Network Analysis and Human History
  • The Archaeology of Complex Urban Sites: Analytical and Interpretative Technology
  • Web and Mobile GIS (by arrangement with the UCL Department of Civil and Geomatic Engineering
  • Other options available within the UCL Institute of Archaeology

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Careful provision is made to facilitate remote access to software, tutorials, datasets and readings through a combination of dedicated websites and virtual learning environments. Assessment is through essays, practical components, project reports and portfolio, and the research dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Computational Archaeology: GIS, Data Science and Complexity MSc

Careers

Approximately one third of graduates of the programme have gone on to do PhDs at universities such as Cambridge, Leiden, McGill, Thessaloniki and Washington State. Of these, some continue to pursue GIS and/or spatial analysis techniques as a core research interest, while others use the skills and inferential rigour they acquired during their Master's as a platform for more wide-ranging doctoral research. Several graduates who went on to doctoral research are now lecturers in computational Archaeology: at the University of Cambridge, Queen's University Belfast and the University of Colorado. Other graduates have gone to work in a range of archaeological and non-archaeological organisations worldwide. These include specialist careers in national governmental or heritage organisations, commercial archaeological units, planning departments, utility companies, the defence industry and consultancies.

Employability

This degree offers a considerable range of transferable practical skills as well as instilling a more general inferential rigour which is attractive to almost any potential employer. Graduates will be comfortable with a wide range of web-based, database-led, statistical and cartographic tasks. They will be able to operate both commercial and oper source software, will be able to think clearly about both scientific and humanities-led issues, and will have a demonstrable track record of both individual research and group-based collaboration.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The teaching staff bring together a range and depth of expertise that enables students to develop specialisms including industry-standard and open-source GIS, advanced spatial and temporal statistics, computer simulation, geophysical prospection techniques and digital topographic survey.

Most practical classes are held in the institute's Archaeological Computing and GIS laboratory. This laboratory contains Linux servers, ten powerful workstations running Microsoft Windows 10, a digitising table and map scanner.

Students benefit from the collaborations we have established with other institutions and GIS specialists in Canada, Germany, Italy and Greece together with several commercial archaeological units in the UK.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology

73% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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The Archaeology MA is an intensive induction programme on current archaeological theory and interpretive trends which equips students to undertake research in their chosen field. Read more

The Archaeology MA is an intensive induction programme on current archaeological theory and interpretive trends which equips students to undertake research in their chosen field. The flexible programme of study serves as an excellent expansion of undergraduate studies or as a self-designed foundation for further postgraduate and professional work.

About this degree

The programme provides a wide-ranging introduction to archaeology as a comparative, anthropologically-informed, and socially situated discipline. Students develop critically aware perspectives on archaeological practice and research processes and gain an in-depth understanding of approaches to the collection, analysis and interpretation of archaeological data. The programme is extremely flexible, with a wide choice of options available allowing students to tailor the programme to their own interests.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

All students are required to take the following: 

  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Current Issues

Optional modules

Students choose to follow further optional modules up to the value of 60 credits from an outstanding range of Master's programme options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. Some of the most popular choices include: 

  • Aegean Prehistory: major themes and current debates
  • Ancient Italy in the Mediterranean
  • Archaeologies of Modern Conflict
  • Archaeology of Buddhism
  • Archaeology and Education
  • Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers from the Emergence of Modern Humans
  • Aztec Archaeology: Codices and Ethnohistory
  • Beyond Chiefdoms: Archaeologies of African political complexities
  • British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age
  • Cities, States and Religions in Ancient India
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Interpreting Pottery
  • Key Topics in the Archaeology of the Americas
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Greek Art
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Roman Art
  • Maya Art, Architecture and Archaeology
  • Medieval Archaeology: Select Topics and Current Problems
  • Prehistoric Stone Artefact Analysis
  • Society and Culture in Ancient Egypt
  • The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Near East: The Emergence of Villages and Urban Societies

Dissertation/report

All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words (90 credits).

Teaching and learning

The core modules are seminar based, and the sessions are interactive, with an emphasis on student participation and critical discussion. The optional modules are delivered through seminars, lectures, practicals, laboratory sessions, tutorials, and site and museum visits, as appropriate for specific modules. Assessment is through essays, oral examination and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Archaeology MA

Careers

Some recent graduates of the programme have gone on to PhD studies while others have pursued an incredibly wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Project Manager, Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation
  • Freelance Archaeologist, Murray Archaeological Services
  • Sales Executive, Harper Collins
  • MPhil/PhD in Archaeology, UCL
  • Assistant, Museum of Nicosia

Employability

As the most general of the MA/MSc programmes, the experience and skills acquired depends on the optional modules selected, and how those skills are developed through assessed work, developing expertise in the archaeology of specific regions, periods or themes, or specific field, museum and analytical skills. All students acquire a detailed understanding of specific theoretical debates and the critical skills to evaluate existing arguments and interpretations and to develop their own research, develop a range of research skills, and design and carry through original research. Taught from a comparative anthropological perspective, understanding cultural differences, in the past and present, is fundamental.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and one of the most highly regarded centres for archaeology, archaeological science, cultural heritage and museum studies in Britain, highlighted by its leading position in university assessments and National Student Survey results. It is one of the very few departments in the world undertaking research on a truly global scale. Its degrees offer an unrivalled variety of modules. The institute hosts events on many different aspects of archaeology and is linked to heritage organisations, museums and archaeological societies, providing an outstanding research environment for students.

It is truly international in outlook and membership, with students and staff from over 40 countries, and involvement in field research projects around the world.

UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library. UCL's own museums and collections constitute a resource of international importance for research.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology

73% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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