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This MA provides training in the documentation and interpretation of artefacts from archaeological sites and museum collections. Students benefit from a placement within a museum or an archaeological unit where experience will be gained in the practice of finds analysis.

About this degree

Students are introduced to the skills of finds specialists. They develop the ability to identify, describe, document, catalogue and analyse artefacts and artefact assemblages. Subjects covered include the description of ceramic, lithic and metal objects. In practical sessions, we cover drawing, photography and work with databases. Many sessions make use of the institute's extensive collections.

Compulsory modules

All students are required to take the following: 

  • Working with Artefacts and Assemblages
  • Technology within Society

Optional modules

Students choose to follow further optional modules up to the value of 60 credits from an outstanding range of Master's options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology:

  • Antiquities and the Law
  • Archaeological Ceramic Analysis
  • Archaeological Glass and Glazes
  • Archaeometallurgy
  • British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age
  • Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas I: First Peoples to Emerging Complexity
  • Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas II: Empires, States and Settlement
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Intangible Dimensions of Museum Objects from Egypt
  • Interpreting Pottery
  • Laboratory and Instrumental Skills in Archaeological Science
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Greek Art
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Roman Art
  • Nature, Culture and the Languages of Art: theories and methodologies of art interpretation
  • Prehistoric Stone Artefact Analysis
  • Social and Material Contexts in Art: comparative approaches to art explanation

Dissertation/report

The 15,000–word dissertation can cover any artefact-based subject matter. It normally combines a professional standard finds report with an analysis and an academic overview.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through formal lectures, seminars and practical sessions. It can include a placement at a relevant museum or archaeological unit where students gain experience in the practical study and the recording of an artefact assemblage. Assessment of the core course is by weekly pieces of short work, a portfolio and the dissertation. The Technology within Society module is assessed by a project proposal and an essay.

Placement

Students have the option to undertake a 20-day voluntary placement at a relevant museum or archaeological unit. The placement itself is not formally assessed other than through its contribution to the student's dissertation work. 

Tier 4 students are permitted to undertake a work placement during their programme, however they must not exceed 20 hours per week (unless the placement is an integral and assessed part of the programme). If you choose to undertake a placement at an external institution, you will be required to report to the department on a weekly basis so that you can continue to comply with your visa. 

Funding

IUCL Institute of Archaeology (IoA) Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2019/20. 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 2019.

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

Some recent graduates of the programme have gone on to PhD studies while others have pursued a very wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology. The main career path is working as assistants, museum curators or working in the antiquities service recording and analysing finds.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Whether you plan a career as a finds assistant, museum curator or plan a materials-based PhD, this programme provides you with the skills you need to successfully identify, describe and document artefacts and analyse assemblages. The emphasis is very much on practical application, so there will be numerous handling sessions and praxis-related tasks.

UCL's own museums and collections form a resource of international importance for academic research. Students will work on material from the institute's collection as part of their assessment. Past students on this programme have made effective use of the resources at the British Museum, the Museum of London and the Museum of London archives, the Petrie Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and other British and international museums.

Department: Institute of Archaeology

Applications

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

The programme is particularly suitable for graduates with a first degree in archaeology or a related degree who wish to develop their skills in the study and interpretation of artefacts from archaeological sites and museum collections, with a view to further research or a career in this field. 

Students who do not have the required archaeological background may want to consider taking our Graduate Diploma in the first instance.

Application deadlines

26 July 2019

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Artefact Studies at UCL
  • why you want to study Artefact Studies at graduate level
  • what you expect to get out of this programme
  • what is your general archaeological background
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • what your undergraduate degree is in and how much practical work with artefacts does the degree include
  • what previous experience you have in working with artefacts
  • if you have any experience in working as a finds assistant or in a museum
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Visit the Artefact Studies MA page on the University College London website for more details!

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