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MPhil in Archaeology

Course Description

The Core Archaeology course introduces current debates in archaeological theory and the history of archaeological thought, as well as archaeological methods (ranging from the study of prehistoric exchange to bio-archaeological techniques to artefact studies, quantitative analyses and dating methods). Area option courses examine the archaeology of a particular region of the world (such as South Asia or Europe) in detail. Students are encouraged to choose a third module from the range of MPhil options on offer in the Division of Archaeology to complement their specific interests (e.g., heritage, science, material culture, etc). All module choices must have the approval of the module's instructor and the MPhil in Archaeology Coordinator.

Students may choose to specialise in any of the following options:

- Archaeological Heritage and Museums
- Archaeological Science
- Archaeology of the Americas
- Egyptian Archaeology
- European Prehistory
- Medieval Archaeology
- Mesopotamian Archaeology
- Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology
- South Asian Archaeology

Visit the website: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/hsarmpmar

Course detail

Students electing the Archaeological Heritage option will take three taught modules:
1. The Socio-politics of the Past
2. Museums: History, Theory, and Practice
3. Management of the Archaeological Heritage. This course concentrates on issues of differentiation of interpretation.

The topics are all of academic importance and the teaching focuses on a theoretical understanding of the issues involved, with practical examples used as case studies. The aim is to educate you within this expanding field and to activate further research.

Students choosing the Archaeological Science option will take:
1. Archaeological Science
2. Practical Application of Scientific Methods modules
3. One other module offered by the Division of Archaeology (chosen in consultation with the supervisor and MPhil Coordinator).

This course covers a broad range of scientific archaeological approaches with geo- and bioarchaeological foci, from theoretical, methodological and practical points of view. A series of recurrent case studies is used to introduce the questions, techniques and ideas applicable in each archaeological situation. In addition, this MPhil equips students with analytical skills in archaeological science.


All MPhil students in the Division of Archaeology take a Research Skills Module and write a dissertation (15,000 words maximum). Students choosing Archaeology of the Americas, Archaeology of Egypt, European Archaeology, Medieval Archaeology, Mesopotamian Archaeology, Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology, or South Asian Archaeology take:

1. the Core Archaeology course
2. the appropriate area option course
3. any other module offered by the Division of Archaeology (in consultation with the supervisor and MPhil coordinator).

The assessed components of the three selected modules each represent 15% of the final mark. The assessed components of Research Skills module represents 5%, while the dissertation counts for 50% of the final mark.


- The dissertation is an extended piece of independent, original research. Students work with their supervisor to formulate a dissertation project, carry out research and write it up. The topic of the dissertation has to be approved by the Faculty Degree Committee. The dissertation is of maximum 15,000 words (excluding bibliography and appendices) and is due at the end of August; it counts as 50% of the student’s final mark.

- Students taking the MPhil in Archaeology are usually required to produce between 3 and 6 assessed essays depending on their chosen course of study and the modules they select. The essays are between 3000 and 4000 words and are submitted in Michaelmas, Lent and Easter Terms.

- Students taking the MPhil in Archaeology are required to sit written examinations for some modules.

- Attendance at the relevant Research Skills Workshops is required of all MPhil students in the Division of Archaeology. MPhil students submit a 2000 word research proposal and give a presentation to teaching staff and peers which form the assessed part of the Research Skills module and are worth 5% of the overall MPhil degree.


MPhil students wishing to continue to the PhD in Archaeology are required to achieve a High Pass mark of 68 overall and no less than 68 in their dissertation, and to obtain the support of an appropriate supervisor. In some circumstances additional academic conditions may be set to ensure appropriate skills, such as language competence, are in place prior to admittance on the PhD programme.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

There are many different sources of funding available to support UK/EU and international students at the Division of Archaeology but full scholarships for MPhil students are highly competitive. The Division of Archaeology enters exceptionally strong MPhil candidates for Gates Cambridge, CHESS and AHRC scholarships and scholarship schemes administered by the Cambridge Trust. The Division of Archaeology also administers several funds which aim to support Archaeological fieldwork, Egyptology and Assyriology at MPhil level and will endeavour to support students in obtaining funding from University and external sources. For further information about funding opportunities at the Division of Archaeology consult the Division website: http://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate-funding or contact the Graduate Administrator: .

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in Archaeology page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree. Find University Minimum Academic Requirements here View Website

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