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Masters Degrees (Zooarchaeology)

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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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Bioarchaeology is an exciting and fast-advancing field which combines archaeology with branches of the natural sciences to study key topics such as past health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and environmental impacts. Read more
Bioarchaeology is an exciting and fast-advancing field which combines archaeology with branches of the natural sciences to study key topics such as past health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and environmental impacts.

The MSc in Bioarchaeology aims to develop a broad understanding of these issues through the study of human remains. Students on this programme will also have the opportunity to study animal remains, as well as floral and faunal evidence.

The programme develops advanced practical skills in skeletal analysis, making use of the department’s well-provisioned specialist laboratories and reference collections. A particular strength of our provision is that we are able to address the bioarchaeology of both the New and Old Worlds. Those completing the Course acquire the skills necessary to continue into academic research or employment, as an osteologist in field units, museums or Cultural Resources Managament companies.

The programme allows you to specialise in one of two named pathways: Human Osteoarchaeology (physical anthropology and funerary archaeology) or Zooarchaeology (animal bones and other faunal remains).

Learning and teaching

Most of the formal classes that you attend will be based on a mixture of lectures, seminars, and workshops. The precise mix will vary between modules. These aim to outline the principal issues of the module, to explore some detailed issues, and, where relevant, to give you experience of working with a particular technique or data set.
All members of staff are actively engaged in research, both in Britain and abroad, and regularly attend conferences, symposia and workshops. It is through this active engagement in the discipline that we are able to supply top quality teaching by experts in their field and as a result we have a 24/24 grading for our teaching from the Quality Assurance Agency.
In addition to our established palaeobotany, experimental archaeology, and microscopy laboratories, we have a new bioarchaeology lab dedicated to the study of anatomical variation, palaeopathological conditions, and the funerary context of human and animal remains. The laboratory, accompanied by a designated store for the Department's collection of human remains, provides facilities for use by researchers and students for examining skeletal remains recovered from archaeological sites. Equipment includes anatomical casts and demographic reference standards used to determine the sex, age-at-death, stature and body proportions from human remains.

Research areas

Bioarchaeological research at Exeter combines the study of archaeology with branches of the natural and physical sciences to address questions of health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and natural and human-induced environmental impacts in the past.

Our approach is holistic and inter-disciplinary, drawing its inspiration from both definitions of ‘bioarchaeology’: as a study applied to human remains (human osteoarchaeology) and, as originally defined by Grahame Clark, as related to the integration of environmental archaeology, floral and faunal evidence – archaeobotany and zooarchaeology – in archaeological research.
Active field research programmes in North and South America and Eurasia link with extensive laboratory research to address questions of social structure and social organisation, the process of animal and plant domestication, the development of social inequality and power relations, violence and warfare, the rise of élites and craft specialists, and division of labour.

Programme Structure

This programme includes 135 credits of compulsory modules and 45 credits of optional modules.

Pathways

The two available pathways are; Human Osteology (http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/archaeology/bioarch/humanosteology/) and Zooarchaeology
(http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/archaeology/bioarch/zooarchaeology/)

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules for each of the pathways can include the following; Research Methods and Archaeological Theory; Musculo-skeletal Anatomy; Advanced Zooarchaeology; Advanced Human Osteology; Zooarchaeology (Masters level); Bioarchaeology Dissertation and Bioarchaeology Dissertation Zooarchaeology.

Optional modules

The following is a list of the possible optional modules; Advanced Project; Experimental Archaeology in Practice; Field Study; Landscape Archaeology: Understanding the historic environment; Material Culture; Advanced Human Osteology; ;Zooarchaeology (Masters level); Palaeobotany (Masters level); Funerary Osteoarchaeology (Masters level); Musculo-skeletal Anatomy and Researching the Historic Environment Online.

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand

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This programme combines the study of human and animal bones from archaeological sites, generally known as ‘human osteology’ and ‘zooarchaeology’ or ‘archaeozoology’. Read more

About the course

This programme combines the study of human and animal bones from archaeological sites, generally known as ‘human osteology’ and ‘zooarchaeology’ or ‘archaeozoology’. Teaching is centred on the explanation of methods and approaches that can be used to address many different types of archaeological questions, regardless of the period or geographic area. Students play an active part in the shaping of their own programme of study and have the opportunity to develop their own original research.

Your future

Each of our masters courses is designed to equip you with valuable employment skills and prepare you for your future career. If you’re seeking to move into an archaeology-related field from a different academic or employment background, our courses and supportive staff will help you to realise your ambitions and develop professionally.

Graduates from our MA and MSc courses successfully compete for some of the most sought-after archaeological posts in the world. Our courses help students to develop essential transferable skills, and upon graduation they are also in demand by a wide variety of employers outside of the sector.Many of our graduates decide to continue their studies, carrying out doctoral research in their chosen specialist field, equipped with a solid theoretical and practical grounding from which to develop their research.

World-leading expertise

The character and strength of research carried out by Sheffield’s Archaeology department is captured under the following broad themes. These reflect the range of our research and its cross-disciplinary, embedded nature:

Funerary Archaeology
Landscape Archaeology
Bioarchaeology
Medieval Archaeology
Cultural Materials
Mediterranean Archaeology

Specialist facilities

The Archaeology department is situated on the edge of the main campus, near to Sheffield’s city centre. The department houses world-class reference collections and facilities to support teaching, learning and research in a range of archaeological disciplines. Facilities include specialist lab space dedicated to teaching and research, dedicated study spaces, and a student common room.

Fieldwork opportunities

We offer you the opportunity to get involved in our research projects in the UK, Europe and further afield.

How we will teach and assess you

Our students come from all around the world and the content of our courses reflects this. You can expect a balanced timetable of lectures, seminars and practicals. Many of our masters courses also include a fieldwork or project work component. Our teaching staff are leading scholars in their field. Through their research and field projects they are active in generating new knowledge that feeds directly into their teaching.

Funding, scholarships and bursaries

If you accept a place on one of our courses, you may be eligible to apply for WRoCAH and University of Sheffield studentships. There are also a number of departmental and programme-specific scholarships available each year. See our website for details.

Core modules

Advanced Zooarchaeology; The History of the Human Animal Relationship; Zooarchaeological Assemblage Analysis; Archaeozoology; Biological Anthropology I; Biological Anthropology II; Human Osteology; Dissertation in either Human Osteoarchaeology or Zooarchaeology.

Indicative optional modules

A 15 credit module can be selected from a range across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

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If you choose to study our MA in Archaeology then you will be joining a vibrant, active Postgraduate community in a setting surrounded by sites of archaeological interest. Read more
If you choose to study our MA in Archaeology then you will be joining a vibrant, active Postgraduate community in a setting surrounded by sites of archaeological interest. We are lucky in the West Country to have prehistoric Dartmoor on our doorstep, where the recent Whitehorse Hill burial was uncovered. Exeter itself is a city built on Roman foundations and the nearby Ipplepen dig is shedding further light on Romano-British history. The Anglo-Saxons too were active in our part of the world and we have excellent interdisciplinary ties with the History Department and Centre for Medieval Studies. In the past there have been opportunities for Exeter students to participate in fieldwork and outreach activities in as diverse locations as Argentina, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, South Dakota and Texas. In some cases, fieldwork may consist of archaeological work in a museum rather than excavation.

The MA Archaeology programme is flexible, so you can choose the modules that interest you – including those on Experimental Archaeology, Human Osteoarchaeology and Zooarchaeology. If you’re interested in going on to doctoral study then our MA will give you the right training and our academic staff will be happy to support you through the process of funding applications.

Programme Structure

The programme is divided into units of study called 'modules' .

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules can include; Research Methods and Archaeological Theory; Field Study; Landscape Archaeology: Understanding the historic environment; Material Culture and Dissertation

Optional modules

You can choose from a variety of modules on offer within our other Masters, some examples of these are; Advanced Project; Experimental Archaeology in Practice; Advanced Human Osteology; Zooarchaeology; Funerary Osteoarchaeology and Musculo-skeletal Anatomy

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

Most of our teaching is done collaboratively in small groups because we feel this is the best way to help you develop. Your classes will be a mix of lectures, seminars and workshops where you will learn the methodology and practical skills you need. We have a range of specialist equipment and excellent facilities including laboratories, kiln room, and spaces for experimental archaeology.

Research areas

Our research at Exeter is world-leading and all our academic staff are actively engaged in both Britain and further afield. We are particularly unique for our expertise in the fields of Bioarchaeology and Experimental Archaeology. Our interests run from early prehistory through to the post-medieval period. Our geographic specialisations include the Americas, the British Isles, Europe, South Asia and North Africa.

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Forensic Archaeology involves the use of archaeological principles and techniques for the location, recovery, and interpretation of evidence for past events within the constraints of the criminal justice system. Read more
Forensic Archaeology involves the use of archaeological principles and techniques for the location, recovery, and interpretation of evidence for past events within the constraints of the criminal justice system. It utilises both field and laboratory skills in the investigation of serious crime, missing persons, human rights and mass disasters. These skills range from searching for and excavating clandestine graves to the international investigation of crimes against humanity.

The course provides invaluable background knowledge in archaeological and forensic sciences required for criminal and human identification cases, integrating archaeological, anthropological and investigative disciplines. The course is delivered by leading practitioners who will develop and enhance your employability.

Our forensic archaeology course is unique in that it provides you with the opportunity to work with specialist equipment independently and provides you with a wealth of practical exercises simulating forensic scenarios, such as locating graves and managing an airplane crash. The course is also supported by a crime scene house, analytical labs, with extensive osteological rooms, skeletal collections, survey, excavation and geophysical equipment, geographic information systems (GIS), spatial information and cartographic suite.

Core units:
Forensic Archaeology
Advanced Forensic Archaeology
Principles & Methods in Human Osteology
Professional Practice in Forensic Science
Research Project

Optional units (1 of):
Human Functional Anatomy
Marine Environment, Heritage & Spatial Planning
Principles & Methods in Zooarchaeology
Techniques of Archaeological Recovery & Recording

And 1 of:
Advanced Zooarchaeology
Crime Scene Management
Humans, Animals & Diet

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Biological Anthropology is the study of evolution and variation in human populations and of the interactions between human biology and environment. Read more
Biological Anthropology is the study of evolution and variation in human populations and of the interactions between human biology and environment. This combines our international reputation for anthropology, archaeology and biology, specifically including studies in primatology, evolutionary anthropology, human osteology, zooarchaeology, but also (paeleo-) ecology and behaviour.

This exciting course gives a core grounding in human evolution, primate behaviour and ecology, the origins of human behaviour and how hominines adapted to their environment, as well as human and animal skeletal analysis. Ultimately this course offers a uniquely wide range of suitable project topics that can prepare you for a career in a variety of aligned fields.

Core units:

Human Evolution
Human Functional Anatomy
Primate Behaviour & Ecology
Principles & Methods in Zooarchaeology
Research Project

Optional units (choose one of):
Principles & Methods in Human Osteology
Techniques of Archaeological Recovery & Recording

And one of:
Archaeology of Human Remains
Bodies of Evidence - Skeletal Changes Before & After Death
Humans, Animals & Diet

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This programme explores experimental archaeology's potential as a powerful research method, an effective educational tool and an excellent medium for public outreach. Read more
This programme explores experimental archaeology's potential as a powerful research method, an effective educational tool and an excellent medium for public outreach.

You will receive a sound practical and theoretical grounding in scientific use of experiments in archaeological research. The programme will give you practical experience of experiments related to archaeological and taphonomic processes and the production of a range of material culture types including ceramics, stone tools, metals and a range of organic materials.

The role of experiments and ‘reconstructions’ in education and public outreach is investigated through classes, practical activities, and field visits. Links with professionals, such as museums and independent establishments, provide opportunities for practical work based on a sound appreciation of theory.

The University has established an outdoor centre on its Streatham Campus to provide a location for both short- and long-term experimental archaeology research. The programmes involve practical work and field trips.

Programme Structure

The programme is divided into units of study(modules).

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules can include; Research Methods and Archaeological Theory; Experimental Archaeology; Material Culture and Dissertation

Optional modules

You can choose from a variety of modules on offer, some examples of these are; Advanced Project; Field Study; Landscape Archaeology: Understanding the historic environment; Advanced Human Osteology; Zooarchaeology and Funerary Osteoarchaeology.

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand

Learning and teaching

This programme involves a high degree of learning through practice and experiments. Most of the formal classes that you attend will be based on a mixture of lectures, seminars, and workshops. The precise mix will vary between modules.

All members of staff are actively engaged in research, both in Britain and abroad, and regularly attend conferences, symposia and workshops. It is through this active engagement in the discipline that we are able to supply top quality teaching by experts in their field and as a result we have a 24/24 grading for our teaching from the Quality Assurance Agency.

We have excellent facilities for experimental archaeology including:
• experimental archaeology lab - this flexible laboratory space is the epicentre of our students' experimental activity and is a hard- wearing practical space in which we can carry out the unusual projects that only experimental archaeologists can dream up!
• material stocks - including sinew, feathers, hides, bones, antlers, wood, different stone types and plant materials
• pottery and kiln room, where students can work with clay, equipped with a potter's wheel and a large programmable electric kiln that can reach 1300 degrees Celsius
• workshop equipped with all the tools necessary to prepare materials for experiments
• knapping area - an outdoor space reserved for flintknapping and other activities best done in the fresh air
• experimental land - a substantial area of land on campus for long-term outdoor experiments.

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This programme delivers both intensive training in environmental and economic archaeology and an understanding of how these skills might be applied to advance our knowledge of the relationship between people and nature in the making of human history. Read more

About the course

This programme delivers both intensive training in environmental and economic archaeology and an understanding of how these skills might be applied to advance our knowledge of the relationship between people and nature in the making of human history. Studies of contemporary ecology and economy are emphasised as a basis for investigating the past. The ability to reconstruct and understand past environments and economies is critical to both professional and academic archaeology.

Your future

Each of our masters courses is designed to equip you with valuable employment skills and prepare you for your future career. If you’re seeking to move into an archaeology-related field from a different academic or employment background, our courses and supportive staff will help you to realise your ambitions and develop professionally.

Graduates from our MA and MSc courses successfully compete for some of the most sought-after archaeological posts in the world. Our courses help students to develop essential transferable skills, and upon graduation they are also in demand by a wide variety of employers outside of the sector.Many of our graduates decide to continue their studies, carrying out doctoral research in their chosen specialist field, equipped with a solid theoretical and practical grounding from which to develop their research.

World-leading expertise

The character and strength of research carried out by Sheffield’s Archaeology department is captured under the following broad themes. These reflect the range of our research and its cross-disciplinary, embedded nature:

Funerary Archaeology
Landscape Archaeology
Bioarchaeology
Medieval Archaeology
Cultural Materials
Mediterranean Archaeology

Specialist facilities

The Archaeology department is situated on the edge of the main campus, near to Sheffield’s city centre. The department houses world-class reference collections and facilities to support teaching, learning and research in a range of archaeological disciplines. Facilities include specialist lab space dedicated to teaching and research, dedicated study spaces, and a student common room.

Fieldwork opportunities

We offer you the opportunity to get involved in our research projects in the UK, Europe and further afield.

How we will teach and assess you

Our students come from all around the world and the content of our courses reflects this. You can expect a balanced timetable of lectures, seminars and practicals. Many of our masters courses also include a fieldwork or project work component. Our teaching staff are leading scholars in their field. Through their research and field projects they are active in generating new knowledge that feeds directly into their teaching.

Funding, scholarships and bursaries

If you accept a place on one of our courses, you may be eligible to apply for WRoCAH and University of Sheffield studentships. There are also a number of departmental and programme-specific scholarships available each year. See our website for details.

Core modules

Rethinking the Ancient Economy; Reinventing Archaeology; Dynamic Landscapes: investigating ancient environments; Research Design: planning, execution and presentation; Archaeobotany; Archaeozoology; Dissertation.

Indicative optional modules

Advanced Zooarchaeology; GIS for Archaeologists; Advanced Archaeobotany.

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Develop and enhance your knowledge of archaeology through a selection of specialist modules that suit your chronological, geographical and thematic interests. Read more
  • Develop and enhance your knowledge of archaeology through a selection of specialist modules that suit your chronological, geographical and thematic interests
  • A flexible degree that prepares you for a career in research, the commercial sector or heritage management
  • Become part of a world-leading Department with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research
  • Take thematic and skills-based options that integrate social and scientific techniques
  • Benefit from dedicated laboratories and state-of-the-art facilities

What will you study?

Conmpulsory modules include: 

  • Dissertation 
  • Research Skills and Career Learning

Optional Modules include:

Theory 

  • Theoretical Approaches in Archaeology 
  • Issues and Debates in Medieval Archaeology 
  • Issues and Debates in Bioarchaeology 
  • Quantitative Methods 

Old World Archaeology 

  • Our Closest Cousins? Archaeology of the Neanderthals 
  • Interpreting Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain 
  • Themes and Approaches in the Study of Mesopotamia 
  • Climate Change and Human Societies
  • Material Cultures and Identities in the Roman Empire
  • The Archaeology of Money: Coins, Power and Society 

Medieval Archaeology

  • Viking Interactions in the West 
  • Colonisation and Cultural Transformation: the archaeology of crusading
  • The Medieval Landscape 
  • Analysing the Medieval Townscape 

Bioarchaeology 

  • Human Bioarchaeology 
  • Food and Culture 
  • Zooarchaeology 
  • Coastal and Maritime Geoarchaeology 
  • Applications of Micromorphological Analysis 
  • Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 
  • Climate Change and Human Communities

Placement and Career Options

  • Archaeological Graphics 
  • Research and Enterprise Placement
  • Research and Enterprise Micro-Placement 
  • Management of Heritage Assets

Please see our modules outline for further information.

Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.

What career can you have?

Our graduates go on to full-time employment within archaeology and related consultancies or units, museums and government agencies. Up to one third continue their academic career through doctoral research. In recent years, graduates have been successful in obtaining appointments with heritage agencies (Historic England, National Trust) and universities, including Bristol, Cardiff, Durham, Exeter and Newcastle.



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Choose from a diverse range of options covering the full extent of the Middle Ages (AD 400-1600). Learn to integrate social and scientific techniques. Read more
  • Choose from a diverse range of options covering the full extent of the Middle Ages (AD 400-1600)
  • Learn to integrate social and scientific techniques
  • Prepare for a career in research, the commercial sector or heritage management
  • Become part of a Department with one of the world’s largest groups of medieval archaeologists
  • Benefit from state-of-the-art facilities

What will you study?

Compulsory modules include:

  • Dissertation
  • Issues and Debates in Medieval Archaeology
  • Research Skills and Career Learning

Optional modules include:

The Social World of Medieval Archaeology 

  • Viking Interactions in the West
  • Colonisation and Cultural Transformation: the archaeology of crusading 
  • The Medieval Landscape
  • ONE Language option with the IWLP 
  • Medieval Latin and Palaeography 
  • Theoretical Approaches to archaeology 

Bioarchaeology

  • Human Bioarchaeology 
  • Food and Culture 
  • Zooarchaeology 
  • Applications of Micromorphological Analysis 
  • Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 
  • Climate Change and Human Communities 

Placement and Career 

  • Archaeological Graphics 
  • Research and Enterprise Placement
  • Research and Enterprise Micro-Placement 
  • Management of Heritage Assets 
  • Quantitative Methods 

You may also select Old World or Environmental Archaeology modules.

Please see our modules outline for further information.

Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.

What career can you have?

Our graduates go on to full-time employment within archaeology and related consultancies or units, museums and government agencies. Up to one third continue their academic career through doctoral research. In recent years, graduates have been successful in obtaining appointments with heritage agencies (Historic England, National Trust) and universities, including Bristol, Cardiff, Durham, Exeter and Newcastle.



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Gain advanced training in the palaeoenvironment. Develop skills for a career in commercial and heritage organisations or future doctoral research. Read more
  • Gain advanced training in the palaeoenvironment
  • Develop skills for a career in commercial and heritage organisations or future doctoral research
  • Choose from geoarchaeology and bioarchaeology options for advanced skills in environmental-based assessments, heritage management and field projects
  • Become part of a world-leading Department with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research

What will you study?

Compulsory modules include:

  • Dissertation
  • Issues and Debates in Environmental Archaeology
  • Research Skills and Career Learning
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Field Methods and Experimentation
  • Field Course: Earth Science & Archaeological Investigations

Optional modules include:

Geoarchaeology 

  • Geochemistry in Quaternary Science and Archaeology 
  • Climate Change and Human Communities 
  • Quaternary Climate Change 
  • Coastal and Maritime Geoarchaeology 
  • Tropical Rainforests, Climate and Land Use Through Time 
  • Applications of Micromorphological Analysis 

Bioarchaeology 

  • Human Bioarchaeology 
  • Food and Culture 
  • Zooarchaeology 
  • Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 
  • Molluscan Biostatigraphy 
  • Our Closest Cousins? Archaeology of the Neanderthals 

Placements and Careers

  • Erasmus Scheme (involves 1 term in Europe)
  • Research and Enterprise Placement 
  • Research and Enterprise Micro-Placement 
  • Management of Heritage Assets 

Please see our modules outline for further information.

Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.

What career can you have?

Our graduates go on to full-time employment within archaeology and related consultancies or units, museums and government agencies. Up to one third continue their academic career through doctoral research. In recent years, graduates have been successful in obtaining appointments with heritage agencies (Historic England, National Trust) and universities, including Bristol, Cardiff, Durham, Exeter and Newcastle.



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The Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology MSc, run jointly by the Institute of Archaeology and UCL Anthropology, brings together the expertise of the two departments to provide graduate students with an integrated training in the biological and archaeological aspects of human evolutionary studies. Read more

The Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology MSc, run jointly by the Institute of Archaeology and UCL Anthropology, brings together the expertise of the two departments to provide graduate students with an integrated training in the biological and archaeological aspects of human evolutionary studies.

About this degree

Students gain training in research methods and a scientific grounding in the principles, content and practice of palaeoanthropology and palaeolithic archaeology, including: fossil and archaeological evidence of human evolution; temporal and spatial patterns and processes of evolutionary and environmental change; and the evolutionary background for understanding human adaptation and culture.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one core module (30 credits) four optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

All students are required to take the following: 

  • Themes in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology

Optional modules

Students will be encouraged to select options from the following list up to the value of 60 credits. Alternatively, they may choose from the wider range of Master's options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology or the Department of Anthropology

  • Archaeology of Human Evolution in Africa
  • Advanced Human Evolution
  • Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers from the Emergence of Modern Humans
  • Evolution of Human Brain and Behaviour
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Prehistoric Stone Artefact Analysis
  • Palaeoanthropology
  • Primate Evolution
  • Primate Socioecology
  • Zooarchaeology in Practice

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words (90 credits).

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, discussions, seminars, laboratory practicals and student presentations. Assessment is through essays, practical examination and seminar presentations, (depending on the options chosen), and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology MSc

Funding

Institute of Archaeology Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2018/19. All UK/EU and Overseas fee-paying students with an offer to start any Master's degree offered by the IoA are eligible to apply. For an application form please email . The deadline for applications is 1 March 2018.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

A significant number of the graduate students from this programme have gone on to take PhDs at UCL, elsewhere in the UK and in other countries. A number of those have been awarded prestigious scholarships to cover their costs. Other graduates have gone on to work in cultural resource management and museums, and others have used their skills to pursue careers in fields such as IT, teaching and management.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Conference Producer, Global Transport Forum
  • Field Archaeologist, NPS Group (Norfolk Property Services)
  • Senior Scientist: Archaeology, Tetra Tech
  • PhD in Anthropology and Archaeology, Stockholms Universitet (Stockholm University)

Employability

The skills which students develop include the critical evaluation of scholarship across the discipline, design and management of personal research, primary data collection and analysis, and the preparation of detailed reports/dissertations up to publication standard. Although these will relate to anthropology and archaeology, they are invaluable skills for other areas of employment.

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology and UCL Anthropology have considerable staff expertise in the fields of palaeoanthropology and palaeolithic archaeology. Staff and research students are currently involved in field projects as well as museum-based studies in Britain, various parts of Europe, the Middle East, China, East and South Africa and South America.

Our excellent results in the recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) show that our two departments are both very highly ranked in the UK.

Situated in central London, the university is within easy access of the British Museum and Natural History Museum and their outstanding palaeontological and archaeological collections.



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This MSc provides participants with a theoretical understanding of research questions and methodologies in the study of past human-environment interactions, including subsistence and subsistence change. Read more

This MSc provides participants with a theoretical understanding of research questions and methodologies in the study of past human-environment interactions, including subsistence and subsistence change. The Institute of Archaeology has a long research and training tradition in environmental archaeology, and has well-established laboratory facilities and reference collections as a result.

About this degree

Students gain practical experience in laboratory analysis of at least one of either: identification of animal bones, identification of plant macro-remains, sedimentological analyses. They develop an understanding of stratigraphic formation processes and their implications for developing sampling strategies, and are trained to collect and analyse data and report scientific results.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

Students are required to take the following: 

  • Environmental Archaeology in Practice
  • Resources and Subsistence

Optional modules

  • Aegean Prehistory: Major Themes and Current Debates
  • Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers from Emergence of Modern Humans
  • British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Key Topics in the Archaeology of the Americas
  • The Mediterranean World in the Iron Age
  • The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Near East: The emergence of villages and urban societies

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project, normally based on practical laboratory-based research, which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words (90 credits).

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, presentations, laboratory sessions, practicals, and site and museum visits. Assessment is through the dissertation, and a combination of essays, coursework, presentations, practical examination and laboratory reports, depending on the options selected.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Environmental Archaeology MSc

Careers

Some graduates of the programme go on to PhD studies but others will be well-placed to pursue a wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology, including employment as environmental specialists for contract archaeology units.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Trainee Archaeologist, Cotswold Archaeology
  • Freelance Researcher, Self-Employed Rearcher

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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.

The institute boasts a wide range of laboratory facilities relevant to this degree including dedicated laboratories for zooarchaeology (with a comparative collection of Near Eastern and European faunal remains), archaeobotany (with extensive comparative collections for seeds, wood, tubers, phytoliths and pollen); phytolith processing, sedimentology and scanning electron microscopy.

UCL is located in central London, close to the resources of the British Museum, the British Library and the Natural History Museum.

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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COURSE OVERVIEW . Join a supportive, research-active department. Enhance your skills in research techniques from GIS to ceramic petrology. Read more

COURSE OVERVIEW 

  • Join a supportive, research-active department
  • Enhance your skills in research techniques from GIS to ceramic petrology
  • Develop your own research interests with full supervisory support 

Archaeology at Winchester offers an intensive research-training programme with a high level of supervisorial contact. This programme is ideal if you have a clear idea of an archaeological research topic which you may wish to follow to PhD, and need to prepare for this by acquiring new research skills or honing existing ones. It is also appropriate if you are already working in the archaeology, heritage or environment sector and wish to enhance your research experience in preparation for career progression. 

The course examines approaches and methodologies, theoretical underpinnings and practical applications in archaeological research, and some modules focus on the archaeology of a chosen period, theme or specialism. 

Staff at Winchester have the expertise to supervise projects on a wide range of themes and approaches, including geoarchaeology, geomatics, zooarchaeology and the archaeology of religion, death and gender. If your interests lie in researching a particular archaeological period, such as the palaeolithic, classical Greece, the medieval period or the Caribbean, we will facilitate and support your studies. 

Complete core modules in Research Methods and Skills, Analysing and Presenting Archaeological Data and Personal Research Methodology, and choose a further two options from a huge range including The Archaeology of Medieval Religion and Belief, Climate Change and People, Central Southern England in the Roman Period, and Mediterranean Landscape Studies. 

There’s a module that takes you through the process of producing a research paper to the expected academic standard. In your paper, you apply the research skills you’ve developed to produce a 20,000- to 25,000-word dissertation on your chosen topic, supervised by a member of staff with relevant research interests. 

MRes Archaeology is the ideal preparation for an MPhil or PhD or as a basis for a career in archaeology.

Careers

MRes Archaeology acts as a preparation for undertaking an MPhil or PhD or as a basis for an advanced career within archaeology or a related discipline.

Pre-approved for a Masters

If you study a Bachelor Honours degrees with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Field trips

One optional module is a residential field trip for which accommodation and subsistence (but not travel) must be paid. Cost £80.

Learning and teaching

Modes of teaching include lectures, presentations, seminars and workshops. Attendance at departmental/research centre seminars enables students to share their experiences.

Start date: September

Teaching takes place: Daytime 

Taught elements of the course take place on our King Alfred Campus (Winchester) or at our West Downs Campus (Winchester). 

Please note the Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate exit qualifications have a different title to reflect the research element: PgDip Archaeological Research and PgCert Archaeological Research.

Assessment

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

Assessment is by means of a series of essays, reports and a blog/diary. One module takes the student through the process of producing an academic standard research paper. Students apply the research skills developed in the production of a substantive piece of research of 20,000-25,000 words on a topic of their choice, supervised by a member of staff with relevant research interests.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Feedback

We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.



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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. 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:

  • Human Musculo-Skeletal Anatomy
  • Analytical Methods in Human Osteology
  • Quantitative Methods and Reasoning in Archaeology
  • Skeletal Pathology
  • Bioarchaeological Analysis and Interpretation
  • Research Sources and Strategies in Bioarchaeology

Option courses change from year to year and those available when you start your studies may be different from those shown in the list:

  • Exploring the past with data science
  • Practical Zooarchaeology

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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