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Course content

This versatile programme provides a basis both for doctoral study and for career development in archaeology and in heritage and cultural environment professions.

It comprises a major individual research project, supervised by a specialist in the field of study, and a taught component that develops research and analytical skills. Potential research projects can be on any archaeological subject, as agreed with the supervisor, and there is a wide range of choice for the taught component, enabling students to build their own unique programme of study.

Course details

The principal element of the programme, and of assessment, is the 20,000-word research thesis on a subject agreed by you and a member of staff with appropriate research interests.

This research project also forms the core of your application to study, and we recommend that you discuss your proposed research project with a potential supervisor in advance of applying. The thesis can be regarded as an independent piece of research or a foundation for doctoral-level study.

The potential areas for research are very diverse and include British and European prehistory, the archaeology of the Roman World, Late Antiquity and Greece, and thematic areas relevant to all periods and regions of archaeological study such as environment, landscape, material culture, death and burial, age and gender, warfare, ritual and religion, and archaeological theory and method.

Alongside the thesis, you take three taught modules to complement your research topic and your existing skills profile. The modules available include:

  • Theory, Method and Interpretation in Archaeology
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Material Culture
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Archaeology of Greece
  • Egyptian Culture 1100-1200 BC
  • Complex Societies in Europe, 1000 BC-AD 1000
  • Empire and Identity
  • Byzantine Archaeology and Material Culture
  • GIS and Spatial Analysis
  • Field Survey

Learning and teaching

MRes Archaeology students attend a wide range of seminars, lectures, and training classes as part of the taught components of their courses, potentially including computer suite-based classes, a survey field school, and study visits, depending on the modules selected. Thesis research is conducted independently, guided by a supervisory team (usually a lead supervisor and co-supervisor) selected for their expertise and experience relevant to the student's research 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 MRes 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. 

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

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 - MRes page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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