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History & Archaeology×

Full Time MSc Degrees in History & Archaeology, Durham, United Kingdom

We have 2 Full Time MSc Degrees in History & Archaeology, Durham, United Kingdom

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Durham University Department of Archaeology
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The MSc in Archaeological Science is designed to provide a broad theoretical and practical understanding of current issues and the techniques archaeologists use to investigate the human past. Read more
The MSc in Archaeological Science is designed to provide a broad theoretical and practical understanding of current issues and the techniques archaeologists use to investigate the human past. Its purpose is to provide a pathway for archaeologists or graduates of other scientific disciplines to either professional posts or doctoral research in archaeological science. It focuses particularly on the organic remains of humans, animals and plants which is a rapidly developing and exciting field of archaeometry. Major global themes such as animal and plant domestication and human migration and diet will be explored integrating evidence from a range of sub-disciplines in environmental and biomolecular archaeology Students taking this course will study and work in a range of environmental, DNA, isotope and dating laboratories alongside expert academic staff.

The aim of this programme is to equip students to:
-Devise and carry out in-depth study in archaeological science
-Analyse and interpret results
-Communicate scientific results to a variety of audiences
-Develop the inter-disciplinary skills (cultural and scientific) to work effectively in archaeology

Students will gain a critical understanding of the application of scientific techniques to our study of the human past, and receive intensive training in a specific area of archaeological science. Students will examine the theory underpinning a range of scientific techniques, as well as the current archaeological context in which they are applied and interpreted. This will be achieved through a broad archaeological framework which will educate students to reconcile the underlying constraints of analytical science with the concept-based approach of cultural archaeology. Students will therefore examine both theoretical and practical approaches to particular problems, and to the choice of suitable techniques to address them. They will learn how to assess the uncertainties of their conclusions, and to acknowledge the probable need for future reinterpretations as the methods develop. Following training in one specific archaeological science area of their choice, students will be expected to demonstrate that they can combine a broad contextual and theoretical knowledge of archaeology with their detailed understanding of the methods in their chosen area, through an original research dissertation.

Course Structure

The course consists of four taught modules of 30 credits each and a 60 credit research dissertation. Students will study two core modules in Term 1 and two elective modules in Term1/2 followed by a research dissertation.
Core Modules:
-Research and Study Skills in Archaeological Science
-Topics in Archaeological Science
-Research Dissertation

Optional Modules:
In previous years, optional modules available included:
-Themes in Palaeopathology
-Plants and People
-Animals and People
-Chronometry
-Isotope and Molecular Archaeology
-Practical Guided Study

Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops and 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 and tutorials then provide opportunities for smaller groups of student-led discussion and debate of particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that they have gained through their lectures and through independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours.

Practical classes and workshops allow students to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Archaeological Science with guidance from experienced and qualified scientists in Archaeology. Finally, independent supervised study enables students to develop and undertake a research project to an advanced level. Throughout the programme 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 over the course of the programme, as students develop their knowledge and the ability as independent learners and researchers. In Terms 1 and 2 the emphasis is upon students acquiring the generic, practical skills and knowledge that archaeological scientists need to undertake scientific study in archaeology whilst examining and debating relevant archaeological theory and the 'big questions' to which scientific methods are applied. They also study a choice of specific areas creating their individual research profile and interests.

Students typically attend three hours a week of lectures, and two one hour seminars or tutorials each week. In addition, they may be required to attend three-four hours a week of workshops or practicals based on lectures. The practical work complements desk-based analytical skills which are intended to develop skills applicable within and outside the field of archaeology. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to undertake their own independent study to prepare effectively for their classes, focus their subject knowledge and develop a research agenda.

The balance shifts into Term 3, as students develop their abilities as independent researchers with a dissertation. The lectures and practicals already attended have introduced them to and given them the chance to practice archaeology research methods within specific fields of study. Students have also engaged with academic issues, archaeological datasets and their interpretation which are at the forefront of archaeological research. The dissertation is regarded as the cap-stone of the taught programme and 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 they will typically have ten one-hour supervisory meetings, students undertake a detailed study of a particular theme or area resulting in a significant piece of independent research. They also interact with scientific lab staff as they carry out their research.

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

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These programmes focus on the interdisciplinary and inter-professional issues that emerge in the study of spirituality and wellbeing, particularly in the healthcare context. Read more
These programmes focus on the interdisciplinary and inter-professional issues that emerge in the study of spirituality and wellbeing, particularly in the healthcare context. It is possible to take an MA or MSc, depending upon the balance of theology and science options selected. However, all students will engage in theological reflection on a relevant topic and undertake a double module research dissertation, as well as taking the taught core module on spirituality, religion and health. Both programmes provide a stepping-stone to doctoral work.

Course Structure

Two core taught modules, two optional modules, and a dissertation.

Core Modules

-Spirituality, Religion & Health
-Practical Theology: Context, Practice and Methodology
-Dissertation

Optional Modules

Optional Modules in previous years have included (1-2 choices from):
-Classic Texts in Christian Theology
-Christian Gender
-Social Scientific Methods in the Study of Religion
-Catholic Social Thought
-Doctrine of Creation
-Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion
-Theology, Ethics and Medicine
-Selected modules from the MA in Theology and Ministry programme

Plus up to 1 choice from:
-Quantitative Health Research Methods
-Qualitative Health Research Methods
-Global Health Issues & Governance
-Public Policy, Health & Health Inequalities
-Health Systems Analysis and Comparison
-The Dynamics of Evidence Informed Policy
-Gender, Sex, Health & Politics
-Qualitative Methods Applied to Policy and Health Research
-Epidemiology and Statistics
-Anthropology of Global Health
-Public Health Anthropology
-Body, Politics and Experience
-Thinking Anthropologically
-Advanced Anthropology of Mental Health and Illness
-Fieldwork and Interpretation

Learning and Teaching

Most MA teaching is delivered through small group seminars and tutorials. These exemplify and encourage the various skills and practices required for independent scholarly engagement with texts and issues. Teaching in the Department of Theology & Religion is ‘research led’ at both BA and MA levels, but particularly at MA level. Research led teaching is informed by staff research, but more importantly it aims to develop students as independent researchers themselves, able to pursue and explore their own research interests and questions. This is why the independently researched MA dissertation is the culmination of the MA programme. Such engagement with texts and issues is not only an excellent preparation for doctoral research, it also develops those skills of critical analysis, synthesis and presentation sought and required by employers.

Many MA classes will contain a ‘lecture’ element, conveying information and exemplifying an approach to the subject-matter that will enable students to develop a clear understanding of the subject and improve their own ability to analyse and evaluate information and arguments. Seminars enhance knowledge and understanding through preparation and interaction with other students and staff, promoting awareness of and respect for different viewpoints and approaches, and developing skills of articulacy, advocacy and interrogation. Through small group discussions and tutorials, feedback is provided on student work, with the opportunity to discuss specific issues in detail, enhancing student knowledge and writing skills.

The Dissertation module includes training in generic research skills, from the use of the Library to issues in referencing and bibliography. The core modules introduce students to questions of method, interpretation and argument in the disciplines encompassed by spirituality, religion and practical theology in relation to health, and helps them to develop their own interests and questions that will issue in the MA dissertation. The latter is a piece of independent research, but it is fostered and guided through individual tutorials with a supervisor, with whom students meet throughout the academic year.

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