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Archaeology (MRes)

Course Description

This MRes allows you to focus on your own topic and develop advanced research skills within archaeology.

The degree suits independent students preparing for doctoral research, or already in professional employment. You will be supervised by archaeologists with expertise in the subject area, in a friendly department with a world-class reputation. Teaching is largely by individual supervision, supported by seminars and classes that enable you to develop wider understanding of current approaches and theories in archaeology. This degree is more flexible than traditionally taught master's courses.

See the website http://www.reading.ac.uk/ready-to-study/study/subject-area/archaeology-pg/mres-archaeology.aspx

Why Reading?

By choosing the MA at Reading you will become part of a world-leading department that has an international reputation for its teaching and research in a wide range of aspects of Prehistoric, Roman and medieval archaeology; and environmental archaeology and bioarchaeology. We specialise in research spanning Europe and the Near East. You will be joining a department ranked top in the UK for world-class research (RAE 2008) with leadership in Teaching and Enterprise recognised by the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. You will be welcomed in to a department where research, teaching and professional training are provided by staff with an international reputation.

Programme Structure

You can study this programme full-time (one year) or part-time (two years). There are four core modules with a further 20-credit optional element. The research paper and optional elements allow you to explore and develop interdisciplinary research directions by combining topics for these modules and the dissertation.

These are just some of the themes and topics you can study:
Prehistoric landscapes
Social complexity
Historic settlement, urban and rural
Religious landscapes
Gender, the body and material culture
Diaspora and colonization
Human-animal-environment relationships
Bioarchaeology (health and diet)
Ice age and Holocene hunter-gatherers
The origins of farming in Western Asia

Fieldwork and Placement opportunities

There are opportunities to participate in departmental research projects, including fieldwork and post-excavation; and students will have the chance to work with QUEST. Quaternary Scientific is the commercial arm of the School of Human and Environmental Sciences, providing archaeological, forensic and environmental scientific services to industry. International placement opportunities are available particularly for students interested in medieval Central and Eastern European archaeology. Our Erasmus exchange agreements, with the Department of Medieval Studies at the Central European University in Budapest, as well as the institutes of archaeology at the University of Lund (Sweden) and Torun (Poland), enable students to take advantage of courses and facilities focusing on the inter-disciplinary study of the Middle Ages. Placements are also available on excavations taking place in the UK, north-eastern Europe and Iran associated with major departmental projects, focusing on Neolithic maritime connectivities, the Central Zagros Archaeological Project, the Baltic Crusades and Anglo-Saxon Monasticism.

Career Opportunities

The MRes can help prepare you for doctoral research, for mid-career continuing professional development and for careers in the following areas: professional archaeology, museums, publishing, journalism, radio and television, the heritage and leisure industries, the fields of conservation including the natural and built environment, government office, teaching and higher education.

Many of our postgraduates go on to full-time graduate-level employment within archaeology and related consultancies or units, but also within museums and government agencies. Up to one third continue their academic career through doctoral research. In recent years, Reading postgraduate students have been successful in obtaining appointments with heritage agencies (e.g. English Heritage, National Trust) and universities, including Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Carmarthen, Cork, Durham, Exeter, Glasgow, Leicester, London, Newcastle and Reading.

Recent Dissertations

To give a flavour of the types of research you can do while studying with us, here is a sample of recent dissertations from our students:

• The archaeological potential of fragmentary remains of the Common Mussel, Mytilus edulis (L.)
• Testing Altered States of Consciousness in Iberian Megalithic and Schematic Rock Art
• The Symbolic World of WF16 Decorated artefacts from the 2008-2010 Excavations at Wadi Faynan 16, Southern Jordan
• Levantine Cultural Entities and Early Neolithic Chipped Stone Assemblage Variability at WF16, Southern Jordan
• Female Burial Traditions in the British Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, 2500-1500 BC


We offer advanced study in archaeology on courses taught by academics with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research.

Join our lively and welcoming Department situated on a beautiful, award-winning green campus. Take advantage of outstanding teaching collections and facilities housed in modern premises.

We are skills focused – through our world-leading fieldwork and research projects we train graduates to the highest standards as a preparation for doctoral study and professional employment. We provide a strong research grounding linking social and scientific archaeology.

Visit the Archaeology (MRes) page on the University of Reading website for more details!

Student Profiles

SAGES International Scholarship - 5 Awards

The School (SAGES) are offering International Postgraduate Scholarships worth £5000 to the strongest international applicants and the first recipients will be selected in April 2016. Scholarships are made in the form of a fee reduction.

Value of Scholarship(s)



• Applicants must hold an offer of a place from the School
• Awards are made based on merit demonstrated by the application
• Awards are available to part-time students as a one-off award of £5000
• Awards are not available for PGCert or PGDip
• Recipients of the award are required to accept their place within two-weeks of the offer
• The Overseas Deposit must normally be paid by the deadline set by the University, or the award will be revoked
• Students in receipt of the Scholarship may be asked to contribute to the School while at Reading

Application Procedure

Please register your interest in being considered for a Scholarship on your application.

Entry Requirements

First or good second-class honours degree or equivalent in Archaeology or other relevant fields.

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