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.
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).
All students are required to take the following:
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Material culture and artefact studies combines the archaeological recovery and specialist examination of an object with its presentation, management and understanding within a cultural context.
The taught component consists of core courses and optional courses, running over two semesters.
Assessment is normally focused on written performance, but oral presentation skills and other modes of assessment allow you to develop your writing skills in a number of formats. This is in addition to the practical emphasis on developing your ability to interpret and analyse artefacts.
For the MSc you can opt to do either a dissertation or an extended work placement (assessed by work placement eportfolio and either a research report or a student exhibition design).
The two strands to the degree enable you to prepare for further doctoral research whilst also providing opportunities for valuable vocational experience in a commercial environment.
The wealth of experience and knowledge provided by the interdisciplinary nature and focus of the degree and the networks and relationships developed during their time here, has stood past graduates in good stead upon graduation. They have found full-time positions with Historic Scotland, Headland Archaeology Ltd, Guard Archaeology Ltd. While others are working with various heritage organisations and some are continuing with their postgraduate studies.
Several of our international graduates have found employment working at the Smithsonian, Washington D.C and at the Pink Palace Museum, Memphis Tennessee. Others continue to work in the Cultural Resource Management sector. Several students have gone on to further doctoral research at Glasgow University and beyond, on prehistoric stone tools, Shetland lace knitting, Bronze Age ceramics and medieval settlement.
Book History is a dynamic and rapidly growing area of interdisciplinary study that examines the book as an artefact in material culture. This programme brings together theory and practice in new and innovative ways. We study the production, circulation and reception of books from manuscript to e-books, paying attention to the histories of reading and authorship.
The programme integrates traditional bibliography, advanced theoretical approaches, training in special collections, and hands-on experience. You will be taught by leading experts at the University’s renowned Centre for the History of the Book. Field trips and work placements will allow you to take advantage of the exceptional collections in Edinburgh.
The programme attracts outstanding students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. The degree is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.
You will complete two core and two option courses, along with training in research methods. You will then complete a supervised, independently-researched dissertation on a topic of your choice.
Option courses may include:
Work placements allow students to take advantage of the exceptional resources in Edinburgh for the study of books in order to gain hands-on experience that will be beneficial in their future careers.
Placements may take place internally, for example in the Centre for Research Collections at the University Library, or externally with several partner organisations.
You will receive training from the placement supervisor, and will undertake well-defined projects in the course of your placement, such as cataloguing, conservation, collation, digitisation and other kinds of work.
You will reflect on your placement in a poster presentation, and it will provide material for an academic essay. Regular academic oversight of the work placement will be provided by the Course Organiser.
By the end of the programme, you will have a firm grasp of:
This programme will equip you with the detailed knowledge and research skills you need to progress to a research degree and continue a career in academia; or you may pursue a career in publishing, libraries, and the cultural heritage sector. You will graduate with a number of highly transferable skills in communication, project management and analysis that will give you an advantage, whatever your chosen career.
The Masters in Celtic & Viking Archaeology provides an introduction to both theory and practice in approaches to early medieval archaeology, based on our particular research strengths in the settlements and material culture of Celtic, Pictish and Viking peoples, and in the archaeology of kingship and political development.
You will take two core courses and three optional courses. For the MLitt you will produce a dissertation on a specialist topic agreed with the course convenor.
The core courses provides you with a theoretical background to the study of early medieval archaeology, examining themes such as burial, settlement, material culture, religion through a series of case studies. You will also get training and support in a wide variety of research methods including library skills, humanities computing, writing and presenting papers.
Three optional courses must be selected, two of which from the following
You may also choose one of the following options
Graduates have gone on to work for various heritage bodies such as the National Museum of Scotland, and for UK-based commercial archaeology firms.
The programme provides an excellent platform for you to move onto PhD studies and an academic career. The wide variety of specialist optional courses allow you to tailor your particular programme experience towards a direction that best suits your future plans upon completion.
Positions held by recent graduates include Field Archaeologist, Open Learning Tutor, University lectureships and research managers.
Learning how to make new discoveries that will contribute to a better understanding of the historical and social significance of works of art, artefacts and other cultural products from classical antiquity to the present.
Art is an expression of the human spirit. The study of art deals with cultural, social, religious, political and aesthetic meaning in the time it was created, the present and the eras in between. Think of how the Greek mythology of Narcissus – who has been portrayed in countless sculptures and paintings over the ages – was used by Freud to name a psychological disorder and is today used by politicians to symbolise the flaws of modern society. And think of how the destruction of art, be it by Byzantine iconoclasts, sixteenth-century Dutch protestants, or present-day adherents of IS, teaches us that the emotional and political significance of art goes far beyond the loss of objects.
The research Master’s in Art and Visual Culture studies the relationship between art, the past and the present from various angles, including the interpretation of the cultural contexts of visual expressions and their transformations throughout the ages up to now. This programme is geared towards classical archaeologists, art historians and cultural scholars alike. You’ll gain insight into general humanities methods and theories as well as those specific for those three fields. You can then go to focus on your own topic in the field of Art-Historical, Cultural Studies and Archaeology.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/arts-culture
The programme welcomes students with interest in all forms of art and visual culture. Our own research primarily focuses on Europe and ‘its worlds’, including how European artefacts interact with and differ from the rest of the world. Our research studies artefacts in the broadest sense, ranging from the more traditional forms as sculptures, paintings and architecture to modern ones as film, digital art, the performing arts and even fashion. All our research is performed in collaboration with scientists from other fields within the Institute for Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS). We are joined in thirteen themed research groups .
- We teach you to look at the physical, artistic and visual qualities of an artwork or artefact, seen from the perspectives of three different disciplines: Classical Archaeology, Cultural Studies and Art History.
- In your first year, you take several courses with students from the other HLCS research Master’s specialisations in Historical Studies, and in Literary Studies. This unique construction will allow you to view your own field from the perspective of the other humanities.
- A personal tutor will guide you throughout the entire programme. He/she will give you advice on how to tailor our programme to best suit your interests, act as a sounding board for your research ideas, and help you make the right connections in the academic arena.
- You’ll receive thorough preparation for PhD research, including the writing of a publishable scholarly article and a proposal for a PhD project.
- This programme strongly encourages you to go abroad for at least a semester. Students can use our connections to other universities (IRUN network ) and research institutes to find a place that meet their academic interests.
Any research done by students of the Master’s in Art and Visual Culture will be supervised by a researcher at the Institute for Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS) in Nijmegen. HLCS research focuses around the theme Europe and its Worlds and questions whether ‘Europe’ consists of different worlds, how it is addressed, how it differs from the rest of the world, and how it interacts with other worlds. Researchers from a variety of humanities disciplines collaborate in thirteen different thematic groups to explore the spaces, cultural practices, beliefs, texts and ideas related to Europe and its World.
Thematic research groups
There are art and cultural scientists in many of these thematic groups. Although all the groups could be of interest to an art and cultural researcher, our experience is that the following generate a lot of interest among the Art and Visual Culture students:
- Matter And Culture: Analysis, Discourse & Aesthetics of/in Material Culture
The common framework of this group is research into material culture as the bearer of meaning in the broadest sense.
- Creative Industries: Society, Culture and Aesthetics in the 21st century
This group aims to gain a socio-cultural understanding of the creative industries. The group views the creative industries as a dynamic sector of autonomous and applied arts that range from theatre, music, media, literature and museums; to gaming, film, fashion and television, as well as to design, arts education, heritage and festivals.
- Memory, Materiality and Meaning in the Age of Transnationalism
This group studies the material as well as immaterial media and forms of embodiment through which we create memory through meaning-making and performative practices.
Master’s thesis topics in Art and Visual Culture:
For their Master’s thesis research, students can work together with researchers from one of the HLCS research groups or choose a topic in a non-related area. A small sample of thesis topics that you could research in this programme:
- Understanding the Post-Pompeian Era: Wall painting in the Roman Empire (AD 79-395)
- Crime in a Nordic Space: The Production of Space in Forbrydelsen
- William Marlowe in his time: an eighteenth-century view painter rediscovered
- Unravelling the Fabrics of Time: A New Materialist Perspective on Slow Fashion Becomings
- A Pyramidal Structure along the Via Appia. Documentation and reconstruction
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/arts-culture
This is a 2 year (full-time) or 3 year (part-time) course, which educates and trains graduate students to be conservators capable of researching, analysing, cleaning, preserving and caring for a wide range of archaeological and museum objects.
It is intended for those who wish to become practising artefact conservators, or work in the fields of artefact research or preventive conservation. Graduates of the course will normally work in museums or large heritage organisations such the National Trust or English Heritage.
Graduate students are drawn from a wide range on disciplines, but manual dexterity, a very basic knowledge of chemistry and an enthusiasm and desire to work with museum objects are essential.
The programme is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical classes as well as an industrial placement. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among Conservators in that area. Practicals then provide opportunities for you to implement and develop your skills, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and through independent study outside the programmes formal contact hours. Self-learning development packages allow you to continue your learning in a structured way outside the practical sessions. The industrial placement forms a major part of the contact time in the programme for Professional Practitioners, allowing you to gain direct experience of practical and applied skills in Conservation. Industrial partners include the Museum of London, National Museum of Wales and Victoria & Albert Museum.
The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the programme, as you develop your knowledge, skills and the ability as independent learners and practitioners that is one of the key attributes that the programme develops in its students. The programme therefore prepares you for work or further study once you have completed the programme, with an emphasis on taking your learning from the classroom to real life situations in Museums and conservation laboratories. All teaching is delivered by qualified conservators.
In the first two terms of the first year you will typically attend 4-5 hours a week of lectures, 6 hours of practical work including seminars, 3 hours of structured self-development learning and up to 9 hours of conservation skills working in the conservation laboratory. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge.
The balance shifts in the third term, as you develop your abilities as independent learners through supervised practical conservation work for 4 days a week over 10 weeks and create a portfolio of your work and reflections.
This move towards greater emphasis on independent learning and acting in the role of professional conservator continues in the final year, where you will have a placement in a working conservation lab for 9 months. You will gain experience of working with a wide range of material and develop further your practical skills, within a real-life working environment. A focus is placed upon problem solving and organisational and managerial skills, under the supervision of a professional conservator.
The department also has an exciting programme of weekly one hour research seminars which students are strongly encouraged to attend.
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.
The Masters in Museum Studies will help you develop the knowledge, understanding and skills required of today’s versatile museum professional. It has been designed in conjunction with employers to meet their needs for well-rounded museum professionals trained in the latest theoretical and practical approaches.
Three different strands of the MSc Museum Studies are offered.
The Theory and Practice strand is our standard Museum Studies programme where the museum itself is the primary object of study.
Two specialist strands: Collecting and Provenance; and Artefact and Material Culture, enable you to combine courses in Museum Studies with specialist courses from Masters programmes provided by Archaeology and History of Art.
Each strand will give you a different mix of core and optional courses. All students take two 20 credit common core courses in Museology and Research and Professional Skills. You also take four 20 credit courses from your strand (a combination of strand core and optional courses) and one 60 credit research project.
Textile Conservation is a multidisciplinary subject which combines academic knowledge with cultural awareness, aesthetic sensitivity and technical skill. This MPhil is both an academic programme and professional training; it will give you a framework of theoretical knowledge and a range of practical experience which will enable you to contribute to the understanding and preservation of culturally significant textile artefacts.
You will take core courses over two semesters in each year, with a work placement in the summer between the first and second years. You will write up your dissertation over the second summer and submit it at the end of August.
The core courses will develop an understanding of
The programme is at career-entry level and graduates are qualified to go on to a post-training internship or directly into the workplace as a textile conservator in a museum or other institution around the world, as well as to undertake further study at PhD level.
The great majority of graduates of this programme and of its predecessor, the Textile Conservation Centre’s MA Textile Conservation programme, now work in museums and other institutions. Graduates of the two programmes have an outstanding record of employment on graduation and of remaining in the sector. They now work in nearly 30 countries and are in senior positions worldwide.
MPhil graduates have been awarded Mellon Fellowships at Denver Art Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Institution in the USA.
In the UK, others work for:
Graduates also work in museums in Singapore, Japan, Qatar, the USA, Canada and other countries around the world.
However, it is worth noting that many graduates go on to short-term contract posts initially. It is easier to find a textile conservation post if you are able to be flexible in terms of location.
This course promotes the investigation and interpretation of interior space, inside and outside of the traditional architectural envelope, whilst considering human occupation, engagement and experience as the catalyst. This may manifest in a variety of outcomes and will allow you to work within your chosen speciality such as building re-use, exhibition or shop design, branding, identities or environmental graphics, performance or set design, temporary installations or ‘event’ design, furniture or artefact design. The specialist workshops provide you with opportunities to explore materiality, fabrication and realisation of your ideas, through technical rigour at a variety of scales whilst studio teaching is underpinned by engagement with industry.
Based in the heart of the School of Art, MA/MFA Design: Interior Design is part of an innovative design network — a community of staff and students exploring design ideas in a discursive, cross-disciplinary studio environment. Critically informed practical designers, the group works experimentally, inspired by new insights and possibilities.
While studying towards a particular qualification at MA/MFA level, students experience their subject in the broader context of contemporary design practice.
Dedicated spaces for the postgraduate community have been developed to enable the postgraduate community to flourish. These spaces, for thinking and practice, are located centrally within the School of Art, allowing easy access to an extensive range of workshops where the combination of traditional and state of the art equipment opens up a world of exciting possibilities.
The MA Design: Interior Design is made up of four units totalling 180 credits.
The programme is designed to help you acclimatise to the challenges of MA level research and practice, enabling you to identify and describe a clear direction for your postgraduate design study.
You will be encouraged to develop design propositions that encompass key design issues and have complexity and ambition, taking full consideration of the relative contextual drivers.
You will also be encouraged and supported to extend your experience in the professional sphere either through a practical project, research context, exchange, work experience, or other negotiated professional set of interactions with an external partner, groups of students and creative industry.
Towards the end of the programme you will undertake a major project to consolidate your past research and practice into fully realised collections, pieces, proposals, business plans, or exhibitions – what ever means is appropriate to the work. You will also have developed a strategy for the continuation of your practice located and contextualised to the profession or discipline.
If you choose to progress to MFA Design: Interior Design award you will study a further two units of 60 credits each.
This route is focussed on the continuation of your practice aligned to the research and selection of appropriate public or professional venues and platforms to disseminate a significant body of work. You will be required to produce work for a public audience in the most relevant and appropriate form along with any implicit publicity and dissemination material.