GIS and Spatial Analysis in Archaeology MSc
Geographical information systems (GIS) are transforming the way archaeologists handle spatial data. At the same time, there continue to be important advances in our ability to analyse and interpret spatial information. This MSc offers an advanced training in this field, drawing on the unparalleled concentration of expertise within UCL.
Mode of study
- Full-time 1 year
- Part-time 2 years
- UK/EU Full-time: £8,750
- UK/EU Part-time: £4,400
- Overseas Full-time: £17,000
- Overseas Part-time: £8,500
- All applicants: 1 August 2014
More details in Application section.
What will I learn?
Students become proficient in the archaeological application of both commercial and Open Source software and gain firsthand experience of designing, executing and reporting a GIS-led project. They gain the ability to make sound inferences from spatial data and a critical understanding of archaeological approaches to the human use of space.
Why should I study this degree at UCL?
The teaching staff bring together a range and depth of expertise that enables students to develop specialisms including advanced UNIX-based GIS, spatial and temporal statistics, digital landscape survey, space syntax analysis and agent-based computer simulation.
Most practical classes are held in the Institute's Archaeological Computing and GIS laboratory. This laboratory contains nine powerful workstations running Microsoft Windows XP, but is also equipped to provide Mac OSX and Linux-based services.
Students benefit from the collaborations we have established with other institutions and GIS specialists in Canada, Germany, Italy and Greece together with several commercial archaeological units in the UK.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.
Teaching and Learning
The programme is delivered through lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Careful provision is made to facilitate remote access to software, tutorials, datasets and readings through a combination of dedicated websites and virtual learning environments. Assessment is through essays, practical components, project reports and portfolio, and the research dissertation.
Further details available on subject website:
UK and EU students are eligible to apply for Arts and Humanities Research Council funding.
ACE Master's Scholarship: to support a student from a newer EU country applying to study on a technical or applied Master's course.
A small number of IoA Masters Award bursaries, normally in the region of £1,000, are available each year.
Scholarships available for this department
Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
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 August 2014.
Who can apply?
The programme is particularly suitable for graduates with a first degree in archaeology or a related subject who are planning a PhD involving the analysis of spatial data, or who wish to benefit from the growing use of GIS in professional archaeology to build a career in this field.
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study GIS and Spatial Analysis in Archaeology at graduate level
- why you want to study GIS and Spatial Analysis in Archaeology at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
- whether you have experience of using GIS or related technologies and, if so, what knowledge and skills you have already acquired
- whether you are primarily interested in using GIS and related technologies for modelling and spatial analysis, or for visualisation
Some recent graduates of the programme have gone on to do PhDs. Of these, some continue to pursue GIS and/or spatial analysis techniques as a core research interest, while others use the skills and inferential rigour they acquired during their Masters as a platform for more wide-ranging doctoral research. Other graduates have gone to work in a range of archaeological and non-archaeological organisations worldwide. THse include specialist careers in national governmental or heritage organisations, commercial archaeological units, planning departments and museums.
Top career destinations for this programme
- Khao Sam Kaeo Archaeological Mission Thailand, GIS Specialist, 2009
- Oxford University, Scientific Researcher, 2010
- Tesco, GIS Analyst, 2011
- Museum of London, GIS Specialist, 2011
- Great Zimbabwe University, Lecturer, 2009
This degree offers a considerable range of transferable practical skills as well as instilling a more general inferential rigour which is attractive to almost any potential employer. Graduates will be comfortable with a wide range of web-based, database-led, statistical and cartographic tasks. They will be able to operate both commercial and oper source software, will be able to think clearly about both scientific and humanities-led issues, and wull have a demonstrable track record of both individual research and group-based collaboration.
"UCL Archaeology has a great atmosphere for both staff and students; it's a great place to work, and with so many experts passing through from different countries to give lectures and seminars it is very much the centre of the archaeological world."
Professor Mike Parker Pearson
Professor of British Later Prehistory
"The Institute of Archaeology's library has been an invaluable tool due to the huge amount of material available that is related to our field, and is one of my favourite things about the institute."
Degree: Archaeology MA