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Masters Degrees (Biomolecular Archaeology)

We have 11 Masters Degrees (Biomolecular Archaeology)

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The MA in Archaeology can be studied on a full-time and part-time basis. Read more
The MA in Archaeology can be studied on a full-time and part-time basis. Through sets of specialist modules, skills-oriented classes and workshops, and dissertation research it provides the opportunity to advance your skills and knowledge in archaeology with a view to progressing to doctoral level research, or to pick up vital transferable skills ready for working in commercial archaeology or in the wider employment market.

A unique feature of our MA is the provision of specialist strands within which students study, allowing them to gain breadth and depth in their understanding of particular periods, areas and topics. The current strands are:
-Prehistory
-Egypt / Ancient India / Near East (EAINE)
-The Classical World
-Medieval and Post Medieval Archaeology

By the end of this course, students will have had a chance to engage in advanced collection, management and analysis of archaeological data and materials; to develop a sound understanding of current archaeological approaches, concepts and practice; and to acquire specialist skills and knowledge related to their strand from our team of leading experts in the field.

Course Structure

The MA in Archaeology is a 180 credit course composed of several modules including two 15 credit modules aimed at imparting skills in archaeological research and practice, and two 30 credit specialist modules relating to the strands (usually one each, per term). A 20,000 word dissertation worth 90 credits is developed over the course of the second and third terms, and the summer, in consultation with an appointed supervisor, usually in the student’s strand.

In discussion with the department, students can take a 20 credit language module from the Centre for Foreign Language Study in lieu of the practical skills module. There is also the option of substituting a strand specialist module with another MA module on offer in the department, and in some instances, one offered by another department in the University. For example, in recent years students have substituted a strand specialist module with a full 30 credit course on Biomolecular and Isotopic Archaeology run by the department; and The Anglo-Saxon World, an interdisciplinary course run by English, History and Archaeology. The options available vary from year to year; students should consult with the department to check for updates periodically.

Part-time students are expected to complete the course in 2 years. Typically part time students complete the two 15 credit and two 30 credit modules in the first year and the dissertation in the second year.

Module Details

Research and Study Skills in Social Archaeology (RSSSA) – 15 credits
This module runs in Term 1 and aims to provide you with information and skills relevant to pursuing archaeological research for your MA dissertation and beyond. It combines thematic classes/seminars on key topics in archaeology with lectures and workshops introducing fundamental datasets and software applications for archaeology, and assisting the development of advanced visual and written communication skills.

Practical Research and Study Skills (PRSS) – 15 credits
This module runs in Term 2. Students select two from a range of options in hands-on ‘Master Classes’ led by professionals and academic experts, typically taught through short blocks of workshops. These classes provide the opportunity to develop professional capacity skills, assessed through ‘authentic’ assignments, such as reports one would be expected to produce as a professional in the fields of archaeology, museums and galleries or cultural heritage.

As noted above, it is possible to substitute PRSS with a 20 credit language module from the Centre for Foreign Language Study.

Research Topics – 30 credits
Research Topics are detailed courses focussing on particular periods, areas or themes, and are taught by the Department’s leading experts on their specialist topics. Teaching is typically delivered through a series of lectures and small group seminars/tutorials, usually over one term with sessions each week, but sometimes over the year with biweekly sessions.

Students typically chose two modules relevant to their strands, although in consultation with their academic advisor they may opt for a course which is not directly related to their strand. It is possible, as noted above, to substitute one of the Research Topic modules for another MA module run by the department. In consultation with the Department, it may also be possible to substitute a Research Topic for an MA module run by another department, or for a multi-departmental module.

Recent Research Topics can be found on the website: https://www.dur.ac.uk/courses/info/?id=8407&title=Archaeology&code=F4K007&type=MA&year=2016#coursecontent

Dissertation
The dissertation (90 credits, c. 20,000 words) allows students to develop their own line of inquiry and in depth exploration of a topic of interest to them, with the guidance of a supervisor who is usually in their strand. This may be on a topic related to a Research Topic course they have followed, but may be drawn from previous or other interests. Support is available to guide students in designing their research projects and acquiring the skills necessary for carrying out research and analysis, both through the RSSSA programme and through academic advisors and dissertation supervisors

Learning and Teaching

A full summary of the programme's learning and teaching methods can be found on the website: https://www.dur.ac.uk/courses/info/?id=8407&title=Archaeology&code=F4K007&type=MA&year=2016#learning

Other admission requirements

Applicants are requested to indicate their interest in the strand they wish to follow in the personal statement of their application. Prior knowledge of strand specific areas is not mandatory, but an ability to prove previous interest or experience in the strand area would be an advantage for your application.

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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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The MSc in Archaeological Science is designed to provide a broad theoretical and practical understanding of current issues and the techniques archaeologists use to investigate the human past. Read more
The MSc in Archaeological Science is designed to provide a broad theoretical and practical understanding of current issues and the techniques archaeologists use to investigate the human past. Its purpose is to provide a pathway for archaeologists or graduates of other scientific disciplines to either professional posts or doctoral research in archaeological science. It focuses particularly on the organic remains of humans, animals and plants which is a rapidly developing and exciting field of archaeometry. Major global themes such as animal and plant domestication and human migration and diet will be explored integrating evidence from a range of sub-disciplines in environmental and biomolecular archaeology Students taking this course will study and work in a range of environmental, DNA, isotope and dating laboratories alongside expert academic staff.

The aim of this programme is to equip students to:
-Devise and carry out in-depth study in archaeological science
-Analyse and interpret results
-Communicate scientific results to a variety of audiences
-Develop the inter-disciplinary skills (cultural and scientific) to work effectively in archaeology

Students will gain a critical understanding of the application of scientific techniques to our study of the human past, and receive intensive training in a specific area of archaeological science. Students will examine the theory underpinning a range of scientific techniques, as well as the current archaeological context in which they are applied and interpreted. This will be achieved through a broad archaeological framework which will educate students to reconcile the underlying constraints of analytical science with the concept-based approach of cultural archaeology. Students will therefore examine both theoretical and practical approaches to particular problems, and to the choice of suitable techniques to address them. They will learn how to assess the uncertainties of their conclusions, and to acknowledge the probable need for future reinterpretations as the methods develop. Following training in one specific archaeological science area of their choice, students will be expected to demonstrate that they can combine a broad contextual and theoretical knowledge of archaeology with their detailed understanding of the methods in their chosen area, through an original research dissertation.

Course Structure

The course consists of four taught modules of 30 credits each and a 60 credit research dissertation. Students will study two core modules in Term 1 and two elective modules in Term1/2 followed by a research dissertation.
Core Modules:
-Research and Study Skills in Archaeological Science
-Topics in Archaeological Science
-Research Dissertation

Optional Modules:
In previous years, optional modules available included:
-Themes in Palaeopathology
-Plants and People
-Animals and People
-Chronometry
-Isotope and Molecular Archaeology
-Practical Guided Study

Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops and practical classes. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among archaeologists in a specific area or on a particular theme. Seminars and tutorials then provide opportunities for smaller groups of student-led discussion and debate of particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that they have gained through their lectures and through independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours.

Practical classes and workshops allow students to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Archaeological Science with guidance from experienced and qualified scientists in Archaeology. Finally, independent supervised study enables students to develop and undertake a research project to an advanced level. Throughout the programme emphasis is placed on working independently outside the contact hours, in order to synthesise large datasets and to develop critical and analytical skills to an advanced level.

The balance of activities changes over the course of the programme, as students develop their knowledge and the ability as independent learners and researchers. In Terms 1 and 2 the emphasis is upon students acquiring the generic, practical skills and knowledge that archaeological scientists need to undertake scientific study in archaeology whilst examining and debating relevant archaeological theory and the 'big questions' to which scientific methods are applied. They also study a choice of specific areas creating their individual research profile and interests.

Students typically attend three hours a week of lectures, and two one hour seminars or tutorials each week. In addition, they may be required to attend three-four hours a week of workshops or practicals based on lectures. The practical work complements desk-based analytical skills which are intended to develop skills applicable within and outside the field of archaeology. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to undertake their own independent study to prepare effectively for their classes, focus their subject knowledge and develop a research agenda.

The balance shifts into Term 3, as students develop their abilities as independent researchers with a dissertation. The lectures and practicals already attended have introduced them to and given them the chance to practice archaeology research methods within specific fields of study. Students have also engaged with academic issues, archaeological datasets and their interpretation which are at the forefront of archaeological research. The dissertation is regarded as the cap-stone of the taught programme and an indicator of advanced research potential, which could be developed further in a professional or academic field. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom they will typically have ten one-hour supervisory meetings, students undertake a detailed study of a particular theme or area resulting in a significant piece of independent research. They also interact with scientific lab staff as they carry out their research.

Throughout the programme, all students also have access to an academic adviser who will provide them with academic support and guidance. Typically a student will meet with 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..

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This course is designed to give graduates a systematic training in the application of modern scientific methods in archaeology. It provides the necessary practical, analytical and interpretative skills to apply a wide range of specialist approaches in archaeology. Read more
This course is designed to give graduates a systematic training in the application of modern scientific methods in archaeology. It provides the necessary practical, analytical and interpretative skills to apply a wide range of specialist approaches in archaeology. It aims to prepare students not only for research in archaeological science, but also to further career prospects in all areas of mainstream archaeology. Students normally follow one of three pathways.
-Environmental Archaeology focuses on subsistence and health through studies of animal bones, plant remains and biomarkers in human and non-human hard tissue. It also introduces environmental issues which impact on human beings, including environmental change.
-Landscape Archaeology focuses on understanding and interpreting landscapes in the past using scientific methods.
-Biomolecular Archaeology allows students to specialise in the use of biomolecular methods to study both human remains and artefacts.

The pathways are intended to guide students through appropriate modules; they are indicative rather than prescriptive and students may choose to take the optional modules offered in any combination, subject to timetabling.

For more information on the part time version of this course, please view this web-page: http://www.brad.ac.uk/study/courses/info/archaeological-sciences-msc-part-time

Why Bradford?

-Individual modules are available to candidates wishing to enhance their specialist knowledge in a particular area
-This course includes hands-on experience in the Division's laboratories, a substantial individual research dissertation and has a wide range of option choices
-First destination figures indicate that about 85% of postgraduates in Archaeological Sciences achieve work or further studies in the discipline or cognate areas

Modules

(C) = Core, (O) = Option

Semester 1 (60 Credits - 3 x (C) Modules and 30 Credits from the (O) Modules listed):
-Quantitative Methods (10 Credits) (C)
-Analytical Methods 1* (10 Credits) (C)
-The Nature of Matter 1 (10 Credits) (C)
-Analysis of Human Remains (20 Credits) (O)
-GIS: Theory and Practice (10 Credits) (O)
-Archaeozoology (10 Credits) (O)
-Introduction to Forensic Archaeology (20 Credits) (O)

Semester 2 (60 Credits - 4 x (C) Modules and 20 Credits from the (O) Modules listed):
-Analytical Methods 2* (10 Credits) (C)
-Research Skills (10 Credits) (C)
-Techniques and Interpretation in Instrumental Analysis (10 Credits) (C)
-Topics in Archaeometry (10 Credits) (C)
-Forensic Taphonomy (20 Credits) (O)
-Funerary Archaeology (10 Credits) (O)
-Past Environments (20 Credits) (O)
-Site Evaluation Strategies (20 Credits) (O)
-Soils and Chemical Prospection (10 Credits) (O)

End of Semester 2 onwards (60 Credits - 1 x (C) Module):
-Dissertation (MSc) (60 Credits) (C)

* Students must take at least 20 credits from Analytical Methods 1 and 2. These comprise a wide choice of 10 credit modules run as short courses are shared with the MSc Analytical Sciences. These modules are run as short courses.

Semester 1:
-X-Ray Diffraction
-Separation Science
-Vibrational Spectroscopy

Semester 2:
-Mass Spectrometry
-Stable Light Isotope Analysis
-Electron Microscopy

Career support and prospects

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.

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.

Read less
This course is designed to give graduates a systematic training in the application of modern scientific methods in archaeology. It provides the necessary practical, analytical and interpretative skills to apply a wide range of specialist approaches in archaeology. Read more
This course is designed to give graduates a systematic training in the application of modern scientific methods in archaeology. It provides the necessary practical, analytical and interpretative skills to apply a wide range of specialist approaches in archaeology.

It aims to prepare students not only for research in archaeological science, but also to further career prospects in all areas of mainstream archaeology.

Students normally follow one of three pathways.
-Environmental Archaeology focuses on subsistence and health through studies of animal bones, plant remains and biomarkers in human and non-human hard tissue. It also introduces environmental issues which impact on human beings, including environmental change.
-Landscape Archaeology focuses on understanding and interpreting landscapes in the past using scientific methods.
-Biomolecular Archaeology allows students to specialise in the use of biomolecular methods to study both human remains and artefacts.

The pathways are intended to guide students through appropriate modules; they are indicative rather than prescriptive and students may choose to take the optional modules offered in any combination, subject to timetabling.

To find out more about the part time version of this course, please view this web-page: http://www.brad.ac.uk/study/courses/info/archaeological-sciences-pgdip-part-time

Why Bradford?

-Individual modules are available to candidates wishing to enhance their specialist knowledge in a particular area
-This course includes hands-on experience in the Division's laboratories, a substantial individual research dissertation and has a wide range of option choices
-First destination figures indicate that about 85% of postgraduates in Archaeological Sciences achieve work or further studies in the discipline or cognate areas

Modules

(C) = Core, (O) = Option

Semester 1 (60 Credits - 3 x (C) Modules and 30 Credits from the (O) Modules listed):
-Quantitative Methods (10 Credits) (C)
-Analytical Methods 1* (10 Credits) (C)
-The Nature of Matter 1 (10 Credits) (C)
-Analysis of Human Remains (20 Credits) (O)
-GIS: Theory and Practice (10 Credits) (O)
-Archaeozoology (10 Credits) (O)
-Introduction to Forensic Archaeology (20 Credits) (O)

Semester 2 (60 Credits - 4 x (C) Modules and 20 Credits from the (O) Modules listed):
-Analytical Methods 2* (10 Credits) (C)
-Research Skills (10 Credits) (C)
-Techniques and Interpretation in Instrumental Analysis (10 Credits) (C)
-Topics in Archaeometry (10 Credits) (C)
-Forensic Taphonomy (20 Credits) (O)
-Funerary Archaeology (10 Credits) (O)
-Past Environments (20 Credits) (O)
-Site Evaluation Strategies (20 Credits) (O)
-Soils and Chemical Prospection (10 Credits) (O)

* Students must take at least 20 credits from Analytical Methods 1 and 2. These comprise a wide choice of 10 credit modules run as short courses are shared with the MSc Analytical Sciences. These modules are run as short courses.

Semester 1:
-X-Ray Diffraction
-Separation Science
-Vibrational Spectroscopy

Semester 2:
-Mass Spectrometry
-Stable Light Isotope Analysis
-Electron Microscopy

Career support and prospects

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.

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.

Read less
Research degrees, based on the writing of a thesis, can be undertaken in three ways - for this course, it is. MA by research (one year fulltime). Read more
Research degrees, based on the writing of a thesis, can be undertaken in three ways - for this course, it is:
MA by research (one year fulltime)

Facilities

The graduate study building provides room for reading and quiet reflection. It is dedicated solely to providing facilities for postgraduate research, with individual/shared carrels, a suite of computers, and shared workspace for sorting material or laying out illustrations. The building has been designed to provide an attractive yet effective atmosphere for study and writing. It also aims to create an environment which brings together postgraduate researchers in a friendly and communal way.

A group of CAD machines, with digitising tablets and printers, is available, as is a range of state-of-the-art survey and geophysical equipment. Cameras can be borrowed, and there are the necessary facilities and equipment for illustration. Laboratories are available for use, including the new BioArch laboratories for biomolecular archaeology and excellent reference collections exist for environmental archaeology and conservation of materials.

Support

All research students have a supportive structure of supervision, with a main supervisor and two other members of staff who follow progress, are available for advice, and sit on the student's Thesis Advisory Panel.

Research community

Research seminars are run within the Department and at the Centres for Medieval Studies and Eighteenth Century Studies, and in the Department of Biology. Numerous special interest research groups also hold meetings and conferences at King's Manor, and this allows research students to keep in touch with latest developments in their field.

Read less
The MPhil takes two years (full time). If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests. Read more
The MPhil takes two years (full time).

If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests. We have some funded PhDs via Research Councils such as NERC and the AHRC. Also, we hope to be able to advertise individual funded PhDs, with pre-defined subject areas, each year - please watch our front page for details.

Facilities

The graduate study building provides room for reading and quiet reflection. It is dedicated solely to providing facilities for postgraduate research, with individual/shared carrels, a suite of computers, and shared workspace for sorting material or laying out illustrations. The building has been designed to provide an attractive yet effective atmosphere for study and writing. It also aims to create an environment which brings together postgraduate researchers in a friendly and communal way.

A group of CAD machines, with digitising tablets and printers, is available, as is a range of state-of-the-art survey and geophysical equipment. Cameras can be borrowed, and there are the necessary facilities and equipment for illustration. Laboratories are available for use, including the new BioArch laboratories for biomolecular archaeology and excellent reference collections exist for environmental archaeology and conservation of materials.

Support

All research students have a supportive structure of supervision, with a main supervisor and two other members of staff who follow progress, are available for advice, and sit on the student's Thesis Advisory Panel.

Research community

Research seminars are run within the Department and at the Centres for Medieval Studies and Eighteenth Century Studies, and in the Department of Biology. Numerous special interest research groups also hold meetings and conferences at King's Manor, and this allows research students to keep in touch with latest developments in their field.

Careers

All of the postgraduate Archaeology courses at York have a strong focus on employability. We aim to equip students with highly valued specialist and transferable skills, in a range of archaeological disciplines. The courses provide students with a deep understanding of relevant theories and principles, alongside extensive practical experience and access to the latest technologies and systems.

Postgraduates from our Masters’ courses have gone on to a wide range of careers in the archaeology sector and in heritage-related organisations across the UK and abroad, including:
-Historic England
-English Heritage
-The National Trust
-York Archaeological Trust
-The Council for British Archaeology
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Heritage consultancies
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Centre for Christianity and Culture
-York Civic Trust
-The Science Museum Group
-The Royal Mint Museum
-Heritage Malta
-New South Wales Government
-Highland Council

Read less
If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests. Read more
If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests. We have some funded PhDs via Research Councils such as NERC and the AHRC. Also, we hope to be able to advertise individual funded PhDs, with pre-defined subject areas, each year - please watch our front page for details.

Facilities

The graduate study building provides room for reading and quiet reflection. It is dedicated solely to providing facilities for postgraduate research, with individual/shared carrels, a suite of computers, and shared workspace for sorting material or laying out illustrations. The building has been designed to provide an attractive yet effective atmosphere for study and writing. It also aims to create an environment which brings together postgraduate researchers in a friendly and communal way.

A group of CAD machines, with digitising tablets and printers, is available, as is a range of state-of-the-art survey and geophysical equipment. Cameras can be borrowed, and there are the necessary facilities and equipment for illustration. Laboratories are available for use, including the new BioArch laboratories for biomolecular archaeology and excellent reference collections exist for environmental archaeology and conservation of materials.

Support

All research students have a supportive structure of supervision, with a main supervisor and two other members of staff who follow progress, are available for advice, and sit on the student's Thesis Advisory Panel.

Research community

Research seminars are run within the Department and at the Centres for Medieval Studies and Eighteenth Century Studies, and in the Department of Biology. Numerous special interest research groups also hold meetings and conferences at King's Manor, and this allows research students to keep in touch with latest developments in their field.

Careers

All of the postgraduate Archaeology courses at York have a strong focus on employability. We aim to equip students with highly valued specialist and transferable skills, in a range of archaeological disciplines. The courses provide students with a deep understanding of relevant theories and principles, alongside extensive practical experience and access to the latest technologies and systems.

Postgraduates from our Masters’ courses have gone on to a wide range of careers in the archaeology sector and in heritage-related organisations across the UK and abroad, including:
-Historic England
-English Heritage
-The National Trust
-York Archaeological Trust
-The Council for British Archaeology
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Heritage consultancies
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Centre for Christianity and Culture
-York Civic Trust
-The Science Museum Group
-The Royal Mint Museum
-Heritage Malta
-New South Wales Government
-Highland Council

Read less
If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests. Read more
If you are at all interested in undertaking a research degree, then you should not hesitate contacting the member/s of staff who share your research interests.

We have some funded PhDs via Research Councils such as NERC and the AHRC. Also, we hope to be able to advertise individual funded PhDs, with pre-defined subject areas, each year - please watch our front page for details.

Facilities

The graduate study building provides room for reading and quiet reflection. It is dedicated solely to providing facilities for postgraduate research, with individual/shared carrels, a suite of computers, and shared workspace for sorting material or laying out illustrations. The building has been designed to provide an attractive yet effective atmosphere for study and writing. It also aims to create an environment which brings together postgraduate researchers in a friendly and communal way.

A group of CAD machines, with digitising tablets and printers, is available, as is a range of state-of-the-art survey and geophysical equipment. Cameras can be borrowed, and there are the necessary facilities and equipment for illustration. Laboratories are available for use, including the new BioArch laboratories for biomolecular archaeology and excellent reference collections exist for environmental archaeology and conservation of materials.

Support

All research students have a supportive structure of supervision, with a main supervisor and two other members of staff who follow progress, are available for advice, and sit on the student's Thesis Advisory Panel.

Research community

Research seminars are run within the Department and at the Centres for Medieval Studies and Eighteenth Century Studies, and in the Department of Biology. Numerous special interest research groups also hold meetings and conferences at King's Manor, and this allows research students to keep in touch with latest developments in their field.

Careers

All of the postgraduate Archaeology courses at York have a strong focus on employability. We aim to equip students with highly valued specialist and transferable skills, in a range of archaeological disciplines. The courses provide students with a deep understanding of relevant theories and principles, alongside extensive practical experience and access to the latest technologies and systems.

Postgraduates from our Masters’ courses have gone on to a wide range of careers in the archaeology sector and in heritage-related organisations across the UK and abroad, including:
-Historic England
-English Heritage
-The National Trust
-York Archaeological Trust
-The Council for British Archaeology
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Heritage consultancies
-Yorkshire Museums Trust
-Centre for Christianity and Culture
-York Civic Trust
-The Science Museum Group
-The Royal Mint Museum
-Heritage Malta
-New South Wales Government
-Highland Council

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Study animals from the past with the techniques of the future. The MSc in Zooarchaeology at York is the UK's only dedicated programme in the archaeological study of animals. Read more
Study animals from the past with the techniques of the future

Why choose this course?

The MSc in Zooarchaeology at York is the UK's only dedicated programme in the archaeological study of animals. Any consideration of the human past is incomplete without examining the essential roles that animals have played in our economies and societies, and on this course you will study archaeological animal remains on a macro and micro scale to investigate what they tell us about how humans and other species have co-existed over the millennia.

Housed within BioArCh, York's world-leading centre for research into ancient biomolecules, the MSc in Zooarchaeology also draws heavily on the expertise of functional and comparative anatomists from the Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences, part of the Hull York Medical School. We use the full range of available techniques, including advanced biomolecular methods and sophisticated morphometrics, to investigate and interpret animal bone data in a variety of cultural contexts.

The scope of the course is global, equipping you with the knowledge and techniques to study the roles of animals in human societies from the Palaeolithic to the present, around the world. You will learn from leading academics in both traditional and biomolecular zooarchaeology, and from dedicated specialists in evolutionary anatomy, enabling you both to master the latest analytical techniques and to examine skeletal anatomy at a level of detail not possible elsewhere.
-Study past relations between people and other animals, through the archaeological record
-Examine zooarchaeology across the entire span of human prehistory and history, right around the world
-Develop advanced skills in bone taphonomy and understand its importance to osteoarchaeological studies
-Explore biomolecular techniques, including DNA analysis, proteomics and stable isotope analysis
-Investigate skeletal anatomy in intricate detail
-Work alongside leading academics in zooarchaeological research
-Receive career and research guidance from Department of Archaeology staff with significant experience of successfully placing PhD students

What does the course cover?
This course covers the practical skills, analytical techniques, and interpretative frameworks necessary to study the roles of animals in past societies from the bones and other remains that we find on archaeological sites. Core modules and laboratory classes will provide you with a solid grounding in the essential tools of the zooarchaeologist's trade, while the option modules and dissertation allow you to explore and potentially specialise in a unique range of biomolecular and anatomical approaches.

Who is it for?
This course is aimed primarily at graduates in archaeology who want to specialise in the analysis and interpretation of animal remains, either as a basis for future research or as a practical specialism to further a career in archaeology. We are also happy to accept graduates of disciplines such as biology, zoology, ecology, and palaeontology who wish to focus on the study of animals in a human context.

What can it lead to?
The advanced skills and specialist knowledge gained on this course can provide the springboard for many varied careers or further study at PhD level. Previous graduates of the course have gone on to careers in museum services, universities, conservation organisations and commercial archaeology units around the world.

Careers

By the end of the MSc Zooarchaeology course you will have:
-Gained a thorough grounding in all aspects of vertebrate zooarchaeology, including general aspects that are applicable to invertebrate zooarchaeology
-Experienced the processes of data collection, analysis and interpretation, both in principle and in practice
-Developed a range of analytical abilities by studying and undertaking quantitative analysis of zooarchaeological data
-Gained essential critical skills through reviewing and assessing published work from throughout the world, including hunter-gatherer and agrarian sites, and socially complex societies
-Studied the vertebrate skeleton, its evolutionary origins and its adaptations
-Identified and recorded archaeological bone assemblages
-Reviewed the field of taphonomy and the practical recognition of the taphonomic ‘imprint’
-Developed independent research skills by completing a dissertation project

Many our MSc Zooarchaeology postgraduates go on to conduct further research at PhD level. Others progress into careers with archaeological units, museum services, conservation bodies and a range of other organisations.

Here’s a selection of possible destinations and careers for students of this course:
-Academia
-Professional archaeologists – field and laboratory based
-Museum outreach programmes and the heritage sector
-University/research technicians
-Commercial laboratory technicians
-US graduate school programmes

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Human skeletal remains are the most direct evidence of past lifeways and their scientific investigation gives unique insights into human history. Read more

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.

Programme structure

Throughout the programme, you’ll take part in lectures, seminars and practical work with archaeological skeletal assemblages and reference collections. You will complete six courses that are assessed through reports, lab exams, oral and poster presentations and essays.

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 the Anatomy Department, which provide unique collections of pathological and anatomical study specimens.

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 courses on this programme are:

  • Analytical Methods in Human Osteology
  • Bioarchaeological Interpretation
  • Human Musculoskeletal Anatomy
  • Practical Osteology
  • Research Sources and Strategies in Archaeology
  • Skeletal Pathology

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the programme, you will be able to:

  • identify and interpret human skeletal remains from archaeological sites
  • develop hypothesis testing skills
  • carry out relevant scientific analyses, often in cooperation with experts in other disciplines
  • engage in theoretical and methodological discussions relevant to osteoarchaeology
  • design research strategies based on transferable skills providing a basis for advanced studies (PhD and beyond)

Career opportunities

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.



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