Degree structure



A combination of core courses ensure that all students become proficient in the archaeological application of both commercial and Open Source software and leave with firsthand experience of designing, executing and reporting a GIS-led project. These practical skills are backed by the ability to make sound inferences from spatial data and a critical understanding of archaeological approaches to the human use of space. Option courses and a substantial piece of independent research (dissertation) allow students to tailor the programme to meet their own requirements. The unparalleled concentration of expertise within UCL allows students to develop specialisms including advanced UNIX-based GIS, spatial and temporal statistics, digital landscape survey, space syntax analysis and the latest developments in agent-based computer simulation. Teaching occurs typically in small seminar groups and includes a combination of of theoretical and practical work, the latter taking place in the Institute's dedicated Archaeological & Geographical Information Systems Laboratory. Careful provision is made to facilitate remote access to software, tutorials, datasets and readings through a combination of dedicated websites and virtual learning environments, remote thin-client access to UCL and Institute computing systems and the UCL library's extensive digital resources.

Core Courses

All students must take the following:

  • Archaeological Data Science (ARCLG338, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Complexity, Space and Human History (ARCLG339, 15 credits, 11 weeks)

Option Courses

Students choose to follow further option courses up to the value of 60 credits from an outstanding range of Masters course options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. . Out of this longer list of possibilities, some popular options for those following this degree in previous years have been:

  • GIS Approaches to Past Landscapes  (ARCLG091, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • GIS in Archaeology and History (ARCLG090, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Spatial Statistics, Network Analysis and Human History (ARCLG117, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Remote Sensing (ARCLG207, 15 credits, 11 weeks) - not available in 2018/19
  • Exploratory Data Analysis in Archaeology (ARCLG021, 15 credits, 11 weeks) - not available in 2018/19
  • Web and Mobile GIS (UCL Dept. of Civil and Geomatic Engineering subject to availability)

Other options available within the UCL Institute of Archaeology
Please note not all courses are available every year.

(90 credits) - All students undertake an independent research project over a period of about 4 months. The topic may be chosen to provide a pilot study for further academic research or to showcase skills to potential employers. Part-time students working in archaeology may choose to analyse a data set made available by their employer. Students are typically allocated two supervisors to provide guidance during the dissertation research; depending on the topic this may involve intensive one-to-one tuition in advanced methods.

Examples of past projects include:

  • agent-based simulation for visitor management of a candidate World Heritage Site in the Ukraine
  • the integration of GIS and landscape phenomenology in the study of Italian Neolithic settlement landscapes
  • cost-path analysis of Inca trade networks in Peru
  • modelling of buried land-surfaces in the City of London
  • a network model of the evolution of the British canal system
  • use of remote-sensing data to monitor a World Heritage Site along the Silk Route
  • spatio-temporal statsitics for modelling the settlement patterns of Jomon hunter-gatherers in Japan

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