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Course content

The Archaeology MA: Landscape Archaeology pathway will allow you to develop a thorough knowledge of current investigative methods in landscape archaeology, and current approaches to the interpretation of human agency in past landscapes and their social and cultural construction.

There are opportunities to specialise in a range of practical techniques, digital landscape studies, and interpretative approaches in thematic and period/area landscape studies. These include the investigation of both prehistoric and historic landscapes around the world, and topics such as sacred landscapes, funerary landscapes, the spatiality of warfare and conflict, landscapes of inhabitation, wetlands, and environmental and landscape change. The pathway is ideal for research preparation, or as a basis for professional careers and career development in archaeology and heritage.

We offer the flexibility to upgrade from Certificate to Diploma level and from Diploma to Masters level during your programme as you develop your postgraduate studies. We also offer a Cultural Archaeology pathway on the Archaeology MA.

Course details

The MA Archaeology programme provides a foundation for doctoral study, or for developing research skills and capabilities applicable in professional fields in Archaeology and Heritage, and for demonstrating expertise in chosen aspects of archaeological method and interpretation.

The course structure combines the advantages of training in technical and methodological areas, gaining in-depth knowledge of particular thematic, period-based and/or geographical fields of archaeological study, with the freedom to pursue your own research interests through your Masters dissertation project.

You will study three core modules:

  • Archaeological Theory, Method and Interpretation
  • GIS and Spatial Analysis
  • Landscape Archaeology

In addition, MA and Diploma students select three optional modules from a wide range of choices. These can include field survey, virtual landscapes, digital cultures, funerary archaeology, material culture, and cultural studies ranging from European prehistory and Egyptology to Classical and Byzantine archaeology. Full module descriptions are available below.

MA Archaeology students are encouraged to develop a broad range of transferable skills during the course. These include: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the ability to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; analytical rigour; confident oral presentation; and the capacity for critical argument and debate.

Research training is also provided for all postgraduate students.

Assessment

Modules are typically assessed by written assignment, with the exception of Archaeological Theory, Method and Interpretation which also requires a presentation. MA students also complete a supervised 15,000-word dissertation.

Learning and teaching

MA Archaeology students attend a wide range of seminars, lectures, and classes as part of their taught modules, potentially including computer suite-based classes, a survey field school, and study visits, depending on the modules selected. 

Dissertation research is conducted independently, guided by a supervisor selected for their expertise and experience relevant to the student's project, with supervisory meetings taking place on a regular basis. The course benefits from excellent library resources for archaeological study, housed within the new University Library situated close to the department, and MA students join the wider, dynamic community of Archaeology staff and students at the University with opportunities to attend seminar series, public lectures, social events, and potentially participate in departmental field projects. 

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

Birmingham's Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Many of our postgraduates enter roles for which their programme has especially prepared them, such as museum and heritage activities and archaeological posts. Elsewhere, a range of professions are undertaken by our graduates, from librarianship and teaching to accountancy. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: AC archaeology; University of Birmingham; National Trust; and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.


Visit the Archaeology (Landscape Archaeology) - MA/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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