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If you choose to study our MA in Archaeology then you will be joining a vibrant, active Postgraduate community in a setting surrounded by sites of archaeological interest. We are lucky in the West Country to have prehistoric Dartmoor on our doorstep and Exeter itself is a city built on Roman foundations - the nearby Ipplepen dig is shedding further light on Romano-British history. The Anglo-Saxons too were active in our part of the world and we have excellent interdisciplinary ties with the History Department and Centre for Medieval Studies. In the past there have been opportunities for Exeter students to participate in fieldwork and outreach activities in as diverse locations as Argentina, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, South Dakota and Texas. In some cases, fieldwork may consist of archaeological work in a museum rather than excavation.

The MA Archaeology programme is flexible, so you can choose the modules that interest you – including those on Experimental Archaeology, Human Osteoarchaeology and Zooarchaeology. If you’re interested in going on to doctoral study then our MA will give you the right training and our academic staff will be happy to support you through the process of funding applications.

If you choose to join us, as an active member of our Postgraduate community, you will become part of a world leading research department among a great archaeological landscape.

Programme Structure

Students on the MA Archaeology study 180 credits in total. This includes a mixture of compulsory modules, optional modules and a dissertation.

The programme is divided into units of study called modules which are assigned a number of 'credits'. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules can include:

  • Themes in Archaeological Theory and Practice
  • Field Study
  • Landscape Archaeology: Understanding the historic environment
  • Material Culture
  • Dissertation
  • Research Design in Archaeology

Optional modules

You can choose from a variety of modules on offer within our other Masters, some examples of these are:

  • Advanced Project
  • Experimental Archaeology in Practice
  • Advanced Zooarchaeology
  • Zooarchaeology
  • Funerary Osteoarchaeology
  • Musculo-skeletal Anatomy
  • Researching the Historic Environment Online
  • Professional Skills in Archaeology
  • Discovering the Past with Molecular Science
  • Forensic Anthropology: Principles and Practice

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

Most of our teaching is done collaboratively in small groups because we feel this is the best way to help you develop. Your classes will be a mix of lectures, seminars and workshops where you will learn the methodology and practical skills you need. We have a range of specialist equipment and excellent facilities including laboratories, kiln room, and spaces for experimental archaeology.

The MA in Archaeology is a flexible programme that allows you to tailor your modules to fit your own interests across the first two terms. Your progress on your modules will be assessed through the coursework you produce which might include written reports, essays and presentations. In the third and final term you will work exclusively on your dissertation, an original piece of research on a topic of your choice.

Research areas

Our research at Exeter is world-leading and all our academic staff are actively engaged in both Britain and further afield. We are regular attendees at conferences, symposia and workshops and this active engagement with the wider research community allows us to offer top quality teaching by key experts in different specialisms.

We are particularly unique for our expertise in the fields of Bioarchaeology and Experimental Archaeology. Our interests run from early prehistory through to the post-medieval period. Our geographic specialisations include the Americas, the British Isles, Europe, South Asia and North Africa.

Interdisciplinary work is an increasingly important part of funded research and we regularly work with colleagues from across the College of Humanities and wider University. We have particular crossover with the History, Classics and Ancient History, and Theology Departments.


Visit the MA Archaeology page on the University of Exeter website for more details!

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