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MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology

Course Description


Oxford is a wonderful place to study and it has unrivalled facilities. We have been running this part-time masters course successfully for thirteen years. The overwhelming response gained from our students is one of satisfaction, enjoyment and fulfilment. We have brought together a good balance of men and women, older and younger students, historic environment professionals and those with a personal or community interest in the subject. We have had some great field experiences and outstanding seminars. Although the coursework requires a solid commitment from you over two years, the course atmosphere is informal and friendly, and we aim to support every student with ideas, guidance and encouragement.

Visit the website https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/about/msc-in-applied-landscape-archaeology

What the course offers

The MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology is a part-time modular course over two years, leading to an Oxford University Postgraduate Degree in Archaeology. Students become fully matriculated members of Oxford University during their period of registration, and therefore also become a member of a college. The course is designed for the needs of students who wish to study part-time and this includes those who are in full-time employment. Those with a personal or professional interest in landscape archaeology are welcome to apply.

Landscape Archaeology is an increasingly popular and widely-understood concept. Using a multi-period systematic approach, it is concerned with understanding past human impacts on the resources, topography and environment of the whole landscape, from uplands to coasts, and from farmed landscapes to urban/industrial areas.

Many methods of research are being developed in landscape archaeology, including geophysical survey, digital mapping and remote-sensing techniques such as LiDAR. These take their place alongside fieldwalking, historic landscape analysis, aerial photography and selective excavation to provide an effective armoury of techniques for the researcher. Skills such as survey and resource assessment are becoming essential for anyone involved in the management of the historic environment. Effecive communication and presentation of the value and potential of the historic landscape is vital in the world of planning, tourism, outreach and education.

The course involves a combination of academic study and field practice - survey and geophysics form a central theme, and we enjoy the support of Bartington Instruments Ltd for this.

This course is designed to appeal to those who already have experience of studying archaeology (or a closely-related subject) at undergraduate degree or diploma level and who wish to expand their academic, practical and professional skills in landscape archaeology. With a strong (but not exclusive) emphasis on the archaeology of Britain, it focuses on the applications of research methods in varying landscape situations. The course format is flexible and enables students to pursue their own research interests leading to a 15,000 word dissertation.

College affiliation

All students studying for a degree (including the DPhil) must be a member of a college. A number of Oxford colleges accept applications from part-time postgraduates whereas others do not: please consult the graduate prospectus or enquire with individual colleges. The majority of part-time DPhil students in Archaeology have chosen to apply to Kellogg College and most of the tutors and lecturers are members of the College. Kellogg is dedicated to graduate part-time students and has developed a unique expertise in attending to the intellectual, social, IT and welfare needs of part-time, mature graduate students. If a college choice is not specified on your application, it will be automatically sent to Kellogg if places are still available there.

Course structure

The course is divided into two one-year modules, Year A and Year B, which are run in alternate academic years (from October to September):

Year B begins in October 2015
Year A begins in October 2016

All students attend both modules, but they may be done in any order depending on year of admission. Because the course is modular there is no advantage to one combination over the other. Students normally study two consecutive modules and this is regarded as the best way to experience the course. However, in exceptional cases, regulations permit a student to intermit between modules (by permission of the Board of Studies only).

Both one-year modules have one core paper and two advanced papers spread over three terms.

Year A:

- Core Paper: Method and Theory in Landscape Archaeology
- Advanced Paper (Artefacts and Ecofacts in the Landscape)
- Advanced Paper (Archaeological Prospection)

Year B:
- Core Paper: Managing Historic Landscapes in the 21st Century
- Advanced Paper (Digital Landscapes)
- Advanced Paper (Reading the Historic Landscape)
- Field Training Week

Instead of one advanced paper, students may choose to opt for a ‘flexi-placement’ comprising at least 14 days spread over approximately one year to be spent working at an organisation which is involved in an aspect of landscape archaeology. The Course Director will supply details of these.

The dissertation (15,000 words) is the student’s own project which develops throughout the course and is submitted at the end of the second module. It can be based on a piece of fieldwork, or a methodological or artefactual study. Each student will be assigned a tutor who will supervise their dissertation. A dissertation workshop is held each year to help students work together on this essential course element.

In addition, once every two years (in late June - early July of Year B) a compulsory field survey training week will take place. Each student will also have a series of tutorials with the course director and tutors; these may take place in person or on-line.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/msc-applied-landscape-archaeology/

Visit the MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology page on the University of Oxford website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Andrew Walsh

"I found the course both challenging and hugely rewarding, and the skills and knowledge I gained have made a significant contribution to developing my career within the archaeological profession."

(Student Profile)

Mariza Christina Kormann

"I had the most enjoyable time during the 2 years reading for my MSc in ALA. The course is carefully designed covering all relevant aspects of landscape archaeology placing landscape analysis within a strong theoretical framework. I thoroughly enjoyed all modules from the Historic Landscape to Archaeological Prospection and in particular Digital Landscapes and GIS. The Saturday sessions were very dynamic, delivered by well known scholars and gave a solid introduction to the various topics. After the sessions we would head to the pub where usually very animated discussions followed from what we had learnt. Field trips added considerably to the teaching sessions and the Field Training Week provided the perfect context for landscape analysis. We were able to put in practice various surveying techniques and learnt how to 'read the landscape'. The resources of the Department are excellent, and I cherished the moments and the reading time I spent in many of the libraries the University has to offer. College life gave a perfect background for social networking. Throughout the course the atmosphere was very friendly resulting in long-lasting friendships; we keep in touch on a regular basis and we still manage to meet up twice a year! During the course and through my dissertation I was encouraged to pursue my own research interests in Latin American archaeology and Mediterranean geoarchaeology. The MSc in ALA gave me confidence to further develop my personal research, leading to the presentation of a paper at an international conference."

(Student Profile)

Sharon Soutar

"This masters course provided me with an extremely useful range and depth of knowledge. Successfully completing it increased my professional confidence and self-belief enormously."


Oxford scholarships - No. of awards TBC

Key facts :
There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available for courses starting in 2016-17. Full scholarships will cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs.For over 70% of Oxford scholarships, nothing more than the standard course application is usually required. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria, you will be automatically considered.
The vast majority of Oxford scholarships are awarded to applicants who submit their course application by the January deadline. Oxford scholarships worth over £1,000 are advertised through the Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search. You should use this tool to find out whether you are eligible for scholarships which require an additional application. If you are, the tool will include links to full details of how to apply.In order to be considered for some scholarships offered by departments, you need to enter a scholarship reference code in the relevant section of the graduate application form. If this is the case, the code will be provided in the scholarship information given on department websites. When are Oxford scholarships awarded?:
Most Oxford scholarships are awarded between late February and June. The approximate date by which decisions are expected to be made will normally be given in the scholarship information, as linked through the Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search.A scholarship may be awarded either at the same time or after you are offered a place by your department. It may be awarded either before or after you have been offered a college place.

Value of Scholarship(s)

worth over £1,000


See the website

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Please see course website.

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