Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World MA

This MA at UCL Qatar, which includes extended placements on excavation and post-excavation projects in the region, offers students in-depth training in the recovery, analysis and interpretation of archaeological data. The programme equips students with expertise meet the regional need for qualified professionals with expertise in Arab and Islamic material culture.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 2 years

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: QAR128,030
  • Overseas Full-time: QAR128,030

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 May 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

Students will gain a detailed understanding of long-term developments of human occupation and societal change in the region, and will be trained in the recovery, analysis and interpretation of archaeological data. They will be able to specialise in an area, time-period or field of their choice through an independent research project.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

Qatar benefits from its geographical position at the heart of thew Arab and Islamic worlds, giving students easy access to many of the leading archaeological sites of some of the world's great civilisations.

Archaeology students at UCL Qatar benfit from truly exceptional facilities, including the most advanced new conservation and materials science laboratories in the region.

The programme suits students with a genuine interest and curiosity about heritage and archaeology in the Arab and Islamic world, who are eager to gain first hand exposure to the regions rich heritage and sites.

This two year MA has a total value of 330 credits. In Year One students take five compulsory courses (120 credits). In Year Two students take one compulsory course (30 credits), four option modules (60 credits), dissertation (90 credits) and placement (30 credits).

Compulsory Modules

  • Year one
  • Archaeology of the pre-Islamic Middle East
  • Art and Archaeology of the Islamic World
  • Archaeological Method and Theory
  • Technical Skills for Cultural Heritage
  • Collections Care and Management

  • Year two
  • Archaeology of Arabia and the Gulf
  • Placement Portfolio
  • Dissertation (see below)


  • Subject to availability and demand, options may include:
  • Archaeology of Islamic Egypt
  • Archaeology of the Abbasid Caliphs in Iraq
  • Archaeology of the Swahili Coast and Indian Ocean Trade
  • Comparing Civilisations: The Middle East and Egypt in the Bronze Age
  • Early Islamic Papyri and Arabic Palaeography
  • Early State Formation in Egypt
  • Historical approaches to Islamic Ceramics
  • Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing
  • Islamic Central Asia and the Silk Route
  • Islamic Historiography for Archaeologists
  • Maritime Archaeology
  • Pre-Islamic Arabian Epigraphy
  • The Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
  • The Gunpowder Empires, AD 1450-1850
  • Urban Foundations of the Middle East


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, structured reading, seminar presentations, and practical sessions. Students undertake eight weeks of field work on excavation and post-excavation projects in the region. Assessment is through written essays, placement portfolio, assessed exercises, dissertation and oral examination.

Further details available on subject website:


A small number of IoA Masters Award bursaries, normally in the region of £1,000, are available each year.

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a related discipline from a UK university, or GPA of 3.3 out of 4.0 (US system), or another overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Degree class requirement could be waived for candidates with other exceptional qualifications, such as professional experience in related fields.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Good

How to apply

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.

The deadline for applications is 1 May 2014.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for students with a first degree in Archaeology, Anthropology, History or a related discipline who wish to gain the skills necessary to pursue further critical research in Arab and Islamic Archaeology, or develop a career in archaeology or the cultural heritage sector.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World at graduate level
  • why you want to study Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World at UCL Qatar
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree


Graduates of this new programme will gain key skills relevant to archaeology and material culture in the Gulf region and beyond. Training in the practical, analytical and methodological issues surrounding archaeology, together with research methods and advanced study skills, will enable our graduates to work as researchers, archaeologists, or within the cultural heritage sector, or pursue further independent research in this field.

The first cohort of students on the Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World MA are due to graduate in 2014, therefore no information on graduate destinations is currently available.


This is a new programme with the first cohort of students graduating in 2014. Graduates are expected to be in high demand locally as there is an increasing need for qualified professionals with expertise in Arab and Islamic archaeology and material culture. We expect graduates to go on to assume leading roles as archaeologists or within museums in Qatar and elsewhere in the region.

Next steps


Mr Brett Kershaw

T: + 974 4457 8688


UCL Qatar

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Student View

"The ability to see works of art in situ, both in London galleries and department-subsidised trips to Europe, proved the department's commitment to the analysis of the physical art object and an understanding of the criticality of the work's context."

James Baskerville

Degree: History of Art MA

Subject: History of Art, Faculty: Social and Historical Sciences

Alumni View

"I was able to develop my research interests into a more focussed package, which then helped me enormously when drafting my PhD research proposals."

John-Paul Salter

PhD Candidate, UCL School of Public Policy, 2011

Subject: Political Science, Faculty: Social and Historical Sciences