Institute of Archaeology


MA Artefact Studies

Co-ordinator: Ulrike Sommer

This Masters degree programme provides training in the study and interpretation of artefacts from archaeological sites and museum collections. The course is suitable for students interested in a career as finds specialists, curators or for those going on to do a materials based PhD. The course will be largely taught using the staff, equipment and the extensive collections at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, but good use will also be made of the expertise and collections of a number of other museums and professional archaeological units.

Students will be introduced to the skills of finds specialists. We will focus on the practicalities of working with artefacts and assemblages and cover the sequence from excavation to cleaning, labeling, documenting, cataloging and finally publishing and archiving artefacts. A lot of the lectures contain practicals. The course also includes practical exercises in the assessment of finds-assemblages. We will also discuss practical issues in the professional study of artefacts and major theoretical debates about the collection, interpretation, reporting and curation of archaeological materials. A central concern will be the integration of finds analysis within wider archaeological research questions.

In the third term students will normally undertake a placement within a museum or an archaeological unit where experience will be gained in the practice of finds analysis and body of material studied for the dissertation. By the end of the course students should have an appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to artefact studies and will be able to undertake the analysis and reporting of an artefact assemblage.

Programme Structure 

For more information on the Programme Structure, including the degree handbook and details of modules, please use the link below.

MA Artefact Studies

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2018

Modes and duration
Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Part-time students will usually attend two to two and a half days a week depending on the timetable.

Tuition Fees (2018/19)
£10,410 (FT) £5,240 (PT)
£21,440 (FT) £10,740 (PT)
Application deadlines
All applicants
Open: 16 October 2017
Close: 27 July 2018

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in archaeology or related subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English Language Requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

Why study this degree at UCL?

What our students and staff say

Staff review

"It has been amazing to see the growth of public interest in Stonehenge and archaeology more generally in the ten years that we have been running this project."

Professor Mike Parker Pearson

Archaeology MA
Professor of Archaeology

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme is particularly suitable for graduates with a first degree in archaeology or a related degree who wish to develop their skills in the study and interpretation of artefacts from archaeological sites and museum collections, with a view to further research or a career in this field. 

Students who do not have the required archaeological background may want to consider taking our Graduate Diploma in the first instance.

Application deadlines
All applicants
27 July 2018

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now
What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Artefact Studies at UCL
  • why you want to study Artefact Studies at graduate level
  • what you expect to get out of this programme
  • what is your general archaeological background
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • what your undergraduate degree is in and how much practical work with artefacts does the degree include
  • what previous experience you have in working with artefacts
  • if you have any experience in working as a finds assistant or in a museum
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Degree last modified on 7 March 2018 at 10:37 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing.

MA Artefact Studies Programme Structure

View all Archaeology Masters Programmes

You may be interested in viewing our other Masters Programmes. Use the link below to return to the Graduate Taught Programmes page.

Graduate Taught Programmes