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Archaeology and Heritage of Asia - MA

Course Description

This MA is unique in the UK in providing such a comprehensive overview of Asian archaeology and cultural heritage. The Institute of Archaeology is one of the few places in the world with the expertise to deliver such a programme, encompassing not only India and China, but also South–East and Central Asia.

Degree information

The aim of this programme is to develop a comparative appreciation of the cultural histories and heritage of Asia, moving chronologically from early human history, through movements towards the Neolithic, and the rise of cities and states, to the present day by looking at current debates around conservation ethics, reconstruction and authenticity of archaeological remains.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (45 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation/report (90 credits).

Core modules - all students are required to take the following:
-Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
-Archaeologies of Asia
-Archaeological Heritage Management in Asia

Optional modules - students take three further optional modules to the value of 45 credits. These can be selected from the outstanding range of Master's options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, but for this degree, the normal choices include:
-Archaeology and Education
-Archaeology of Buddhism
-Archaeology of Egypt and the Near East: A Comparative Approach
-Critical Perspectives on Cultural Heritage
-Cultural Memory
-Managing Archaeological Sites
-Managing Museums
-Public Archaeology
-Social Complexity in Early China: from the Neolithic to the Early Empire

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Assessment is through essays, PowerPoint presentations, supervised independent research project and dissertation, and an oral viva towards the end of the degree.


Graduates of this new programme are expected to pursue further studies at PhD level or embark on a wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology.

The experience and skills acquired depends on the optional modules selected, and how those skills are developed through assessed work, practical elements and dissertation, but in general we expect students to develop expertise in the archaeology of specific regions of Asia (in particular East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and to some extent South–East Asia) and a broader comparative, international perspective on that region of Asia. Students gain knowledge of both current scholarly debates in archaeology as well as heritage management issues. We expect students from this programme to be prepared for job in the archaeological services or heritage organizations on Asian countries or to be well-prepared for doctoral studies focused on one or more parts of Asia.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme is unique in training pan-Asian specialists – escaping traditional study area boundaries where China, India, South–East and Central Asia are studied on their own – and conducting inter-regional dialogue on the human past.

Students are given the opportunity to develop depth of expertise in a particular region in Asia while benefiting from an innovative macro-regional comparative perspective.

This MA focuses on the development of human societies and civilisations in a part of the world which is becoming increasingly influential in world affairs but has been under-represented in most general and regional archaeological programmes.

Visit the Archaeology and Heritage of Asia - MA page on the University College London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree in archaeology or a related subject (e.g. geography, history, anthropology) from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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