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The MSc in Digital Achaeology course will provide you with applied practical experience and critical theoretical engagement with a full range of computing systems and technology used for publishing, archiving, analysing, visualising and presenting archaeological information today.

The University of York’s Archaeology Department has been at the forefront of researching and developing archaeological computer applications since the early days of digital practice in the discipline and has hosted the first online peer-reviewed e-journal for archaeology since 1996. It also hosts the world-leading Archaeology Data Service, which is the UK’s national digital data archive for the historic environment.

• Gain applied practical experience in internet applications, database design and management, GIS technology, CAD and computer modelling systems.

• Build a broad foundation of expertise in archaeological computing applications.

• Access the University of York’s world-leading expertise in e-publishing and digital archiving.

• Develop IT knowledge and skills that are highly valued in heritage-sector careers.

• Access a full suite of research computing hardware and software

• Receive tailored careers advice from staff with significant experience of recruiting within the sector.

York is one of the best places to study Archaeology, Heritage or Conservation. The Department has an excellent reputation and is one of the largest Archaeology teaching centres in the UK. The historic City of York is rich in architectural and archaeological treasures and resources which you will have easy access to during your studies.

What does the course cover?

Through a combination of academic studies, practical training, research and work placements, you will:

• Develop vital knowledge of the digital and internet technologies used for disseminating, publishing and archiving archaeological information.

• Learn practical skills in 3-D modelling, GIS, CAD and other technologies used for analysing and visualising archaeological information.

The course provides a detailed introduction to the broad range of information systems used in archaeology, and provides the opportunity to apply these systems in practice. The work placement and dissertation enable you to specialise in a particular technique or approach, giving you valuable practical experience in your areas of interest.

Who is it for?

The MSc in Digital Achaeology is designed for people who have a basic grounding in computer literacy and an interest in archaeology and heritage, and who wish to follow vocational training in archaeological information systems.

What can it lead to?

Many of our graduates go onto careers in archaeological computing, working in contract units or county-based records organisations. Others have founded their own consultancy businesses. Some apply their computing skills in more mainstream archaeological work, in museums, or in the wider world. Others have pursued further research at doctoral level. Click on the alumni tab above to find out what our alumni and current students have to say about the course.


This one-year MSc course is taught via a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will study two core modules, two optional modules and four shorter skills modules of your choice. You will also gain valuable practical experience of applying information systems in the workplace on a work placement module. Finally, in the summer term you will develop your research and presentation skills by producing a dissertation and giving an assessed lecture.


Your work placement is a key feature of the course, providing valuable experience of using IT in an archaeological work environment. The placement offers you the chance to gain practical experience in a professional, academic or heritage environment. You will be able to work on projects that help you develop new skills or put into practice skills gained from your taught courses.


-To provide experience of computer applications within a workplace in the historic environment sector.

-To consolidate knowledge and understanding of computer applications from one or more of the taught modules.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing your placement you should have:

-Gained detailed knowledge of how information technology is applied in the workplace in the historic environment sector, under the guidance of experienced professionals.

-Developed an understanding of the contexts in which IT is applied, and of real world limitations.

-Developed your IT skills in one or more of the core areas covered by the taught programme (i.e. database design, web technologies, digital archiving, electronic publication, CAD, GIS and virtual reality modelling).

Placement providers

Although the organisations offering placements change from year to year, and you have the option of proposing other providers that match your specific interests, the following list is a good indication of some of the choices available:

-Yorkshire Museums Trust

-Archaeology Data Service

-City of York Council

-Internet Archaeology

-York Archaeological Trust

-Centre for Christianity and Culture

-L-P: Archaeology

-On Site Archaeology

-Council for British Archaeology

-West Yorkshire Archaeology Service

-Historic England

-English Heritage

-National Trust


The MSc in Archaeological Information Systems offers practical, careers-focused training for many essential roles in the professional world of archaeology. By the end of the course you will:

-Have examined how computers are applied in archaeology and their impact on the development of the discipline

-Understand the concept of the internet, be able to find and use relevant information and add materials to it

-Have the skills to evaluate critically the claims made for different computer applications and select the correct application for a given problem

-Have an understanding of authoring tools and be able to create an electronic text

-Have an understanding of database design and be able to design and implement a simple relational database

-Have an understanding of CAD and GIS and be able to create effective applications in each

-Have an awareness of digital archiving principles, resource discovery and metadata

Many graduates from this course go on to careers in archaeological computing with contract and county-based records units, or found their own consultancy businesses. Some apply their computing skills to more mainstream archaeological settings, such as museums, or in a range of the others sectors and roles, including:

-Archive management

-Social media management

-Local government and development

-Computing and IT services

-Business and administration

-Marketing and public relations


Visit the Digital Archaeology - MSc page on the University of York website for more details!




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