This programme lets you explore the richness of European archaeology, a region that presents innumerable opportunities for archaeological research, through examination of a wide range of periods, geographical areas and themes.
The flexible programme lets you tailor your individual studies to suit your interests and take advantage of the experience of our staff, as well as those in related programmes in history, classics and geography. You will develop an understanding of European archaeology, with an emphasis on European prehistory, and a knowledge of topics including contemporary theoretical perspectives, methodologies and practice.
This programme incorporates transferable skills and training,while preparing you for a professional role in archaeology or further study at doctoral level.
The School has excellent facilities: dedicated study space, archaeological and computing laboratories, teaching and reference collections. The city of Edinburgh is ideal for archaeological study and research, allowing you to benefit from national and local institutions and heritage agencies, such as the excellent archaeological collections of the National Museum, the archival and bibliographic resources of Historic Environment Scotland, and the expertise and practical advice of staff in several commercial archaeology companies.
Your will combine lectures, seminars, practicals, essays, research projects and one-to-one meetings in all areas of archaeology. You will complete six courses and a dissertation on an approved subject of your choice.
The compulsory course is:
You may choose option courses from a list in the general fields of human evolution, late hunter-gatherers and early farmers, later European and Mediterranean prehistory, the archaeology of Scotland, Byzantine and Roman archaeology, and osteoarchaeology. You may also choose a related option from another masters at the University.
You will acquire:
Archaeology graduates can follow a variety of career options. The programme equips you to go on to advanced study, and also provides a solid foundation for a career.
You will gain practical as well as academic experience, teamworking and analytical skills, and will be able to work in a variety of contexts.
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 restrict you to a career in archaeology.
The MSc by Research in Archaeology is aimed at students who have a specific topic of interest into which they wish to conduct their own research.
The programme provides structured research training while at the same time enabling you to pursue a research project that you design yourself, in consultation with supervisors. It serves as both a self-contained research degree and a preparation for further study for the PhD degree.
Archaeology at Edinburgh has a tradition going back to the 19th century. Many aspects of that tradition are still visible in the School today: our archaeological collections were named to commemorate the great prehistorian and first holder of the Abercromby Chair Vere Gordon Childe; the annual series of Munro lectures in archaeology and anthropology were endowed in 1910 by Dr Robert Munro, a distinguished medical practitioner who, in his later life, became a keen archaeologist; and the Abercromby Chair of Prehistoric Archaeology commemorates Lord Abercromby, author of distinguished research on Bronze Age pottery.
Edinburgh’s great tradition in prehistory continues to this day, with expertise in Britain, the Mediterranean and the Near East, but we also have strengths in Classical and Byzantine archaeology, in archaeological theory, environmental archaeology, osteoarchaeology and forensic anthropology.
We are happy to supervise across the wide range of our research interests: we have particular strengths in prehistory of Europe, the Mediterranean and Near East, in classical and early medieval archaeology, as well as in archaeological theory, environmental archaeology, osteoarchaeology and forensic anthropology.
Our home is the William Robertson Wing, an A-listed building on the southern edge of Edinburgh’s Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Designed by the distinguished 19th-century architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, the building – part of the University’s Old Medical School – has recently been refurbished to an exceptional standard, providing state-of-the-art facilities for research, teaching and study.
Graduate students enjoy access to:
All of our facilities are in addition to the multiple libraries and computer labs provided across the University’s estate. Many of our rooms overlook the Meadows, one of the city’s best-loved green spaces.
Archaeology students benefit from our laboratories for artefact analysis, environmental archaeology, osteoarchaeology, bone chemistry and computing (with a wide range of software applications).
There is an extensive reference collection of archaeological materials, such as pottery, metal, stone and glass artefacts, in the V Gordon Childe teaching collection.
You can also benefit from the facilities, archives, collections and expertise of a range of heritage agencies and commercial archaeology units based in the city of Edinburgh.
A long dissertation of 30,000 words is the sole form of assessment, but you will also attend compulsory training courses and may take other relevant courses.
The programme’s focus on research under supervision makes this degree suitable for those contemplating doctoral study, whether in our own School or elsewhere, and many who take this degree follow that route. But undertaking a substantial and independent research and writing project is equally an excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers.