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Masters Degrees (Archaeometry)

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The full-time Analytical Sciences MSc and Postgraduate Diploma is a research-focused degree. You’ll develop the experience and techniques required to be an independent practitioner of modern analytical science, with the skills required for research and by industry. Read more

The full-time Analytical Sciences MSc and Postgraduate Diploma is a research-focused degree.

You’ll develop the experience and techniques required to be an independent practitioner of modern analytical science, with the skills required for research and by industry.

It delivers core teaching in advanced aspects of analytical chemistry, and enables you to explore areas of specialist knowledge through optional modules.

You’ll apply a wide range of analytical techniques and gain invaluable research experience through an extended research project.

Having developed the fundamentals of the analytical sciences, these core techniques are applied to a disciplines including:

  • Spectroscopy
  • Archaeometry
  • Materials characterisation
  • Separation science and mass spectrometry

Rankings

Ranked 18th in the UK for Chemistry in the Guardian University League Tables 2017

What you will study

The taught content of this programme is strongly research-led in line with university and faculty strategy, and academic staff who will teach on the programme are active researchers who publish in high quality, international scientific journals. The programme is designed to build from formal learning approaches to provide a good grounding in the topics, and to then progress to student–led study for individual or group projects.

The MSc comprises 180 credits, while the Postgraduate Diploma comprises 120 credits.

Core Modules

Option Modules

Learning and assessment

Learning activities include lectures, laboratories, workshops and directed study.

Core modules are dedicated to developing generic analytical key skills, specialism practice and project management experience.

The specialist modules relating to the analytical instruments include lectures, workshops, hands-on laboratory and instrument sessions with relevant samples under the instruction of a team of interdisciplinary specialists in the area.

The modules are assessed through course work (problem solving exercises, laboratory reports, project plan, training plan), oral presentations and formal exams.

This research intensive masters emphasises early engagement in hands-on laboratory and analytical work with the output of MSc thesis plus research paper draft.

These progressively focus on student-centred approaches to learning and will reflect increasing reliance on independent responsibility for learning. In this way you will develop the attributes needed for life-long learning and continued professional development.

Facilities

You’ll be based at the Centre for Chemical and Structural Analysis, which houses the major capital equipment of the University and is the focus for our academic and commercial contract research in analysis.

Our experienced and highly skilled staff ensure that the instrumentation is maintained to industry standards through service contracts, controlled access and a quality management system.

We offer an array of analytical techniques and services to industrial clients including contract research, routine analysis and training courses.

Career prospects

Graduates of the MSc in Analytical Sciences have forged successful careers in a wide range of settings.

These include:

  • PhD study
  • analytical chemistry (analyst, quality specialist, NMR technician, experimental officer, laboratory supervisor, section and facilities manager etc.)
  • teaching

Recent graduates have taken up analytical scientist managerial roles in a number of international companies.

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

The programme is research led, with module and lecture content revised to respond to newly published research.

The teaching team are all research active (many also engage in commercial work) and keep students informed of cutting-edge research and new debates as they are happening.



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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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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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This course emphasises the study of archaeological human remains within their funerary context. It builds upon the School's extensive research in human osteology and palaeopathology and related research expertise in field archaeology, archaeozoology, molecular archaeology and archaeological biogeochemistry. Read more

This course emphasises the study of archaeological human remains within their funerary context.

It builds upon the School's extensive research in human osteology and palaeopathology and related research expertise in field archaeology, archaeozoology, molecular archaeology and archaeological biogeochemistry.

The course strongly emphasises the integration of biological and archaeological evidence to address problem-orientated research themes and the application of scientific methods to unravelling the human past.

It provides advanced instruction in the identification and analysis of human remains, the techniques and methods applied to understanding human skeletal morphological variation, and the means by which to assess pathological conditions affecting the skeleton.

The course provides access to our world renowned collection of reference material (The Bradford Human Remains Collection), hands-on experience in the School's laboratories, and a substantial individual research dissertation.

The course can be used either as vocational training or, for the MSc, as a foundation from which to commence further research. The course 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.

"The course was amazing and is one of the best in the country. Compared to other universities, Bradford is on another level of friendliness."

Sabine Pescheck, MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology, 2015

What you will study

The programme can be used either as vocational training or as a foundation from which to commence further research. The programme is offered on a full-time basis or part-time over up to 5 years. Individual modules are available to candidates wishing to enhance their specialist knowledge in a particular area.

Students can choose to undertake a substantial individual research dissertation or they can alternatively select a non-dissertation route which includes a substantial research and writing assignment that requires advanced level academic writing skills and a population level analysis that meets the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Management of Projects in the Historic Environment (MoRPHE) and associated professional standards (by CIfA, and BABAO).

Core Modules

Option Modules

The MSc award can be obtained with enhanced professional training (MSc without dissertation) in which case, the following modules are taken instead of the Dissertation:

Learning and assessment

The teaching and learning strategy takes into consideration the learning outcomes, the nature of the subject, and the need for students to take responsibility for their 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 (e.g. laboratory reports, critiques, worksheets) is geared towards demonstrating relevant knowledge, understanding and professional skills in principal approaches to the analysis and interpretation of archaeological human remains and the application of scientific methods or archaeological theory. Communication skills are tested in both written and oral form in several modules.

Career prospects

Career destinations after the MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology have included:

  • Lecturers, teaching assistants and post-doctoral researchers at universities in the UK and overseas
  • Osteologists and archaeologists working in commercial archaeology
  • Research, curatorial and education staff in museums
  • Other professional careers

The MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology has also produced a large number of doctoral research students. They have undertaken research in Bradford and at other universities in the UK and overseas, including Ireland, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.

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.



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