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Description

The MA in Bioarchaeology can be studied on a full-time and part-time basis. Through sets of specialist modules, skills-oriented classes and workshops, and dissertation research it provides the opportunity to advance your skills and knowledge in archaeology with a view to progressing to doctoral level research, or to pick up vital transferable skills ready for working in commercial archaeology or in the wider employment market.

 A unique feature of our MA is the provision of specialist strands within which you will study, allowing you to gain breadth and depth in your understanding of particular periods, areas and topics. The current strands are:

  • Prehistory
  • Egypt / Ancient India / Near East (EAINE)
  • The Classical World
  • Medieval and Post Medieval Archaeology

 By the end of this course, you will have had a chance to engage in advanced collection, management and analysis of archaeological data and materials; to develop a sound understanding of current archaeological approaches, concepts and practice; and to acquire specialist skills and knowledge related to their strand from our team of leading experts.

Course Learning and Teaching

The course is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops or practical classes. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among archaeologists in a specific area or on a particular theme. Seminars then provide opportunities for smaller groups of students to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that they have gained through their lectures and through independent study outside the course’s formal contact hours. Practical classes and workshops allow you to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Archaeology. Finally, independent supervised study enables you to develop and undertake a research project to an advanced level. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on working independently outside the contact hours, in order to synthesise large datasets and to develop critical and analytical skills to an advanced level.

The balance of activities changes throughout the course, as you develop your knowledge and abilities as independent learners and researchers, in order to prepare for work or advanced study once you have completed the course. In the first two terms you will attend around four hours of lectures and two one hour seminars per week. These are supplemented with two hours a week of workshops or practical classes. The practical work complements desk-based analytical skills, and are intended to develop skills applicable within and outside the field of Archaeology. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare effectively for your classes, focus your subject knowledge and develop a research agenda. During these first two terms you have the opportunity to do one or two formative essays or practical projects in preparation for summative (assessed) work. Typically you will submit around three to four pieces of summative work per term (essays of c. 3,000 words; practical projects such as photographic portfolios or posters).

Over term 2 and into term 3 the balance shifts as you develop your abilities as independent researchers. The lectures and workshops already attended have introduced you to archaeological research methods in specific fields of study, and allowed you to practice them. You will also engage with academic issues, archaeological datasets and their interpretation, which are at the forefront of archaeological research. The dissertation is regarded as the capstone of the taught course and as an indicator of advanced research potential, which could be developed further in a professional or academic field. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff, with whom you will typically have up to ten one-to-one supervisory meetings, you will undertake independent, detailed study of a particular theme, area or research problem, and produce a substantial piece of academic written work of around 20,000 words.

Throughout the course, you will also have access to an academic adviser who will provide you with academic support and guidance. Typically you will meet with your adviser two to three times a year. In addition, all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The department also has an exciting programme of weekly research seminars which you are strongly encouraged to attend.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

http://www.durham.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply

Career Opportunities

Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.

For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.


Visit the MSc Bioarchaeology page on the Durham University website for more details!

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