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Course content

This MA is unique in the UK in providing such a comprehensive overview of Asian archaeology and cultural heritage. The UCL Institute of Archaeology is one of the few places in the world with the expertise to deliver such a programme, encompassing not only India and China, but also South–East and Central Asia.

About this degree

The aim of this programme is to develop a comparative appreciation of the cultural histories and heritage of Asia, moving chronologically from early human history, through movements towards the Neolithic, and the rise of cities and states, to the present day. It looks at current debates around conservation ethics, reconstruction and authenticity of archaeological remains.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (45 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation/report (90 credits).

Core modules

All students are required to take the following: 

  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
  • Archaeologies of Asia
  • Archaeological Heritage Management in Asia

Optional modules

Students take three further optional modules to the value of 45 credits. These can be selected from the outstanding range of Master's options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, but for this degree, the normal choices include: 

  • Archaeology and Education
  • Archaeology of Buddhism
  • Archaeology of Egypt and the Near East: A Comparative Approach
  • Critical Perspectives on Cultural Heritage
  • Cultural Memory
  • Managing Archaeological Sites
  • Managing Museums
  • Public Archaeology
  • Social Complexity in Early China: from the Neolithic to the Early Empire

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Assessment is through essays, PowerPoint presentations, supervised independent research project and dissertation, and an oral viva towards the end of the degree.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Archaeology and Heritage of Asia MA

Careers

Graduates of this programme are expected to pursue further studies at PhD level or embark on a wide range of professional careers in archaeology - in the archaeological servics or heritage organisations specialising in Asian countries - and beyond.

Employability

The experience and skills acquired depends on the optional modules selected, and how those skills are developed through assessed work, practical elements and dissertation, but in general we expect students to develop expertise in the archaeology of specific regions of Asia (in particular East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and to some extent South–East Asia) and a broader comparative, international perspective on that specific region. Students gain knowledge of both current scholarly debates in archaeology as well as heritage management issues.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme is unique in training pan-Asian specialists – escaping traditional study area boundaries where China, India, South–East and Central Asia are studied on their own – and conducting inter-regional dialogue on the human past.

Students are given the opportunity to develop depth of expertise in a particular region in Asia while benefiting from an innovative macro-regional comparative perspective.

This MA focuses on the development of human societies and civilisations in a part of the world which is becoming increasingly influential in world affairs but has been under-represented in most general and regional archaeological programmes.

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.


Visit the Archaeology and Heritage of Asia (MA) page on the University College London website for more details!

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