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Course content

This MSc provides participants with a theoretical understanding of research questions and methodologies in the study of past human-environment interactions, including subsistence and subsistence change. The Institute of Archaeology has a long research and training tradition in environmental archaeology, and has well-established laboratory facilities and reference collections as a result.

About this degree

Students gain practical experience in laboratory analysis of at least one of either: identification of animal bones, identification of plant macro-remains, sedimentological analyses. They develop an understanding of stratigraphic formation processes and their implications for developing sampling strategies, and are trained to collect and analyse data and report scientific results.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

Students are required to take the following: 

  • Environmental Archaeology in Practice
  • Resources and Subsistence

Optional modules

  • Aegean Prehistory: Major Themes and Current Debates
  • Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers from Emergence of Modern Humans
  • British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Key Topics in the Archaeology of the Americas
  • The Mediterranean World in the Iron Age
  • The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Near East: The emergence of villages and urban societies

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project, normally based on practical laboratory-based research, which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words (90 credits).

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, presentations, laboratory sessions, practicals, and site and museum visits. Assessment is through the dissertation, and a combination of essays, coursework, presentations, practical examination and laboratory reports, depending on the options selected.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Environmental Archaeology MSc

Careers

Some graduates of the programme go on to PhD studies but others will be well-placed to pursue a wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology, including employment as environmental specialists for contract archaeology units.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Trainee Archaeologist, Cotswold Archaeology
  • Freelance Researcher, Self-Employed Rearcher

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK, and provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate study.

The institute boasts a wide range of laboratory facilities relevant to this degree including dedicated laboratories for zooarchaeology (with a comparative collection of Near Eastern and European faunal remains), archaeobotany (with extensive comparative collections for seeds, wood, tubers, phytoliths and pollen); phytolith processing, sedimentology and scanning electron microscopy.

UCL is located in central London, close to the resources of the British Museum, the British Library and the Natural History Museum.

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 Environmental Archaeology (MSc) page on the University College London website for more details!

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