Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials MSc

Scientific analysis is a key tool in the interpretation of archaeological assemblages. This MSc offers a detailed training in the use of scientific techniques for the analysis of inorganic archaeological materials and a solid background in the anthropology of technology allowing students to design and implement archaeologically meaningful scientific projects.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year
  • Part-time 2 years

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £9,000
  • UK/EU Part-time: £4,400
  • Overseas Full-time: £17,000
  • Overseas Part-time: £8,750

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 August 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

The Institute houses fine teaching and reference collections that aare extensively used by MSc students including ceramics, metals, stone artefacts and geological materials from around the world. In addition, the Institute has a wide network of connections to museums and ongoing projects offering researh opportunities for our MSc students.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK, and provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate study.

Its specialist staff, outstanding library and fine teaching and reference collections provide a stimulating environment for postgraduate study.

The excellent in-house laboratory facilities will provide direct experience of a wide range of techniques, including electron microscopy and microprobe analysis, fixed and portable X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, infra-red spectroscopy, petrography and metallography under the supervision of some of the world's leading specialists.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of one core module (30 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core Modules

  • Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials


  • Archaeological Ceramic Analysis
  • Archaeological Glass and Glazes
  • Archaeometallurgy 1: Mining and Extractive Metallurgy
  • Archaeometallurgy 2: Metallic Artefacts
  • Dendrochronology and Tree-ring Studies
  • Experimental Archaeology
  • Geoarchaeology: Methods and Concepts
  • Interpreting Pottery
  • Lithic Archaeology
  • Technology in Society: Archaeology and Ethnography in the Andes


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, practical demonstrations and laboratory work. A popular aspect of this programme is its extensive use of analytical facilities. Assessment is through essays, practicals, projects, laboratory reports and oral presentations depending on the options chosen, and the 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.

Scholarships available for this department

Kathleen Kenyon Awards

Gordon Childe Studentship

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 relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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 August 2014.

Who can apply?

The programme is designed for graduates in archaeology or related disciplines with an interest in scientific methods. It is also suitable for conservators and others concerned with archaeological collections, and for science graduates who have, or are willing to acquire, a good understanding of archaeology.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study the Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials at graduate level
  • what do you consider to be the major challenges in this field today
  • if you have a strong interest in any particular ancient material or technology
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
  • why you want to study the Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials at UCL
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment


Given our strong emphasis on research training, many of our MSc graduates takeon further research positions after their degree, and over half of our MSc students go on to conducting PhD research. Their projects are generally concerned with the technology and/or provenance of ceramics, metals or glass in different regions and periods, but most of them involve scientific approaches in combination with traditional fieldwork and/or experimental archaeology.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • Pitt-Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, Curatorial Assistant, 2012
  • Gold Museum, Bogota, Columbia, Head of Collections, 2010
  • The British Museum, Research Scientist, 2008
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, AHRC Postdoctoral Research Associate, 2007
  • University of Great Zimbabwe, Lecturer in Archaeology, 2007
  • University of York, Marie Curie Research Fellow, 2006
  • University of Sussex, Lecturer in Byzantine Art History, 2005


Our graduates develop an unusual combination of research and transferable skills, including critical abilities, team working, multimedia communication, numerical thinking and the use of advanced analytical instruments. This is thanks to an unparalleled breadth of academic experise and laboratory facilities. By the end of the degree, graduates should be as comfortable in a laboratory as in a museum and or an archaeological site. They become acquainted with research design and impementation, ethical issues and comparative approaches to world archaeology through direcr exposure to an enormous variety of projects. The range of options available allows students to tailor their pathways towards different career prospects in archaeology and beyond.

Next steps


Professor Andrew Reynolds

T: +44 (0)20 7679 7495


Institute of Archaeology

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Student View

"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."

Alexandra Salamunovich

Degree: Archaeology MA

Staff View

"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