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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Human skeletal remains are the most direct evidence of past lifeways and their scientific investigation gives unique insights into human history. Bioarchaeology (the study of archaeological human remains) is an exciting field that draws on a variety of techniques, ranging from visual examination of the whole skeleton to the biomolecular analysis of small bone samples. Demographic shifts, environmental changes, migrations, the spread of diseases and the impact of violence and conflict all leave traces on the skeleton.
This MSc provides the skills required to understand skeletal biographies and interpret them in their cultural context at the individual and the population level. Combining theoretical learning with hands-on practice, we will provide you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills essential to your handling and analysis of specimens recovered from archaeological sites.
Throughout the programme, you’ll take part in lectures, seminars and practical work with archaeological skeletal assemblages and reference collections. Drawing on Edinburgh’s long history in the study of the human body, you will also have the opportunity to visit Surgeons’ Hall Museum and anatomy department, which provide unique collections of pathological and anatomical study specimens.
You will complete six compulsory courses and select one further option. You will be assessed through reports, lab exams, oral and poster presentations, and essays. You will also submit a dissertation on a research topic of your choosing. Past dissertations have ranged from experimental projects on violence in prehistory to dietary studies of Chalcolithic Turkey and considerations of disease and impairment in post-medieval England.
The compulsory courses on this programme are:
Option courses change from year to year and those available when you start your studies may be different from those shown in the list:
On successful completion of the programme, you will be able to:
Examples of career paths available to archaeology graduates (although some may require additional training) include: higher education, heritage management and agencies, commercial archaeology, environmental assessment, teaching, tourism industry, broadcasting and the police.
An archaeology degree does not, of course, restrict you to a career in archaeology. The programme also equips you for advanced study.