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Students who are qualified and able to embark directly upon a one-year research programme can be registered for an MA (by research), which, depending on subject-area, will be in Archaeological Studies, Conservation Studies or Landscape Studies. Students register for 12 months full time or part time over two years. Please read the University guidelines for MA by Research.

Students are assigned to an academic supervisor and are also supported and monitored by a Thesis Advisory Panel, which is composed of the supervisor and a Chair, the latter usually a member of staff with cognate interests. 

The degree is awarded on the basis of satisfactory submission of a thesis of no more than 30,000 words.

The thesis should demonstrate an ability to investigate a chosen topic critically and with intellectual enterprise, and to set this within a general understanding of the relevant primary and secondary sources. The thesis should meet the standards of presentation, illustration, and documentation expected in the profession. It should be submitted following the rules and guidelines established by the Graduate Schools Office.

Please note that research dissertations are submitted to the Examinations Office. 

It is also important that you understand what we mean by Academic Integrity and you will need to complete the Academic Integrity tutorial on the VLE and hand in a certificate before your second tutorial. 

Research Masters students are required to attend regular tutorials with their principal supervisor in Terms 1 and 2, usually three per term, to ensure that they are well grounded in relevant background knowledge. They are also able to audit any PGT Core or Research Skills modules in Terms 1 and 2 relevant to their research. These courses are not formally assessed, but performance will be monitored and, where unsatisfactory, students will be counselled about the consequences. 

Examination of an MA (by research) does not normally involve a viva voce. Minor corrections should be made within one month. Following referral, the department should forward the revisions to be made to the Examinations Office for transmission to the candidate, and the revised dissertation should be resubmitted within three months. A mark scale is not applicable to MA/MSc programmes by research, and the degree may not be awarded with distinction. 

Students should refer fully to the sections on research and completion for requirements and guidance about the conduct of a research programme.

Prospective Applicants

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. Please look at the research projects pages (linked from the side bar to the left) and individual staff profiles. 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.


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.


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.

Visit the Archaeological Studies (By Research) - MA page on the University of York website for more details!




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