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Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World MA

This MA at UCL Qatar offers students an education in the archaeology of the Arab and Islamic world, as well as practical training in archaeology through placement work and fieldwork sessions. The programme equips students to meet the need for qualified professionals with expertise in the past material culture of the region.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 2 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)


Application dates

Applications for this programme are currently closed.
Fees note: Fee available on request from the department.

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.

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:

Degree Information

Students will gain a detailed understanding of human occupation and societies in the Islamic and Arab world, with a focus on the Middle East, from the first appearance of modern humans through to recent centuries. They will be trained in the recovery, analysis and interpretation of archaeological data, and will specialise in an area, time period or field of their choice through their dissertation study.

This two-year MA has a total value of 330 credits.

In year one students take four compulsory modules and one optional module (total 120 credits). In year two students take one compulsory module (30 credits), two to four optional modules (total 60 credits), dissertation (90 credits) and placement (30 credits).

Compulsory Modules

  • Year one
  • Archaeology of the pre-Islamic Middle East
  • Archaeology of Islamic Societies
  • Archaeological Method and Theory
  • Technical Skills for Cultural Heritage

  • Year two
  • Archaeology of Arabia and the Gulf


  • Subject to availability and demand, options may include:
  • GIS in Archaeology 1
  • Community Archaelology
  • Maritime Archaeology
  • Papyri and the History of the Medieval Muslim World
  • Approaches to Islamic Ceramics
  • Archaeology of the Ottoman Empire
  • Urban Foundations of the Middle East
  • Ancient South Arabian Epigraphy


All students undertake an independent research project culminating in a dissertation of 15,000 words. All students are expected to undertake 40 days of placement at one or more archaeological projects, museums or other cultural heritage organisations. This can be distributed across the two years.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, structured reading, seminar presentations, and practical sessions, along with the eight weeks of directed work while on placement. Assessment is through written essays, placement portfolio, assessed exercises, dissertation and oral examination.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World MA


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

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates of this 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.


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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Qatar benefits from its geographical position at the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds, giving students access to many of the collections and archaeological sites of the great Islamic and pre-Islamic civilisations.

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

The programme, taught by leading experts in Islamic archaeology and the archaeology of the region, suits students with a genuine interest and curiosity about heritage and archaeology in the Arab and Islamic world, who are eager to gain firsthand exposure to the region’s rich heritage and sites.

Student / staff ratios › 24 staff › 80 taught students › 10 research students

Department: UCL Qatar

Degree reviews

Staff review

"At UCL Qatar I am perfectly positioned to develop my interest in Islamic archaeology as a field of scientific enquiry within the wider scope of archaeology. It also offers me the chance to look at my subject from a completely different perspective, that is, as an archaeological job in an Islamic environment and yet with a powerful international projection (Qatar). UCL Qatar has a prominent position in Qatar that allows me to contact and develop projects with many researchers and professionals working here (in the Qatar Museums Authority, in the Museum of Islamic Art, etc.). Of course, the global brand of UCL is extremely valuable when making contacts abroad. "

Dr Jose Lopez

Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World MA, Museum and Gallery Practice MA
Lecturer in Islamic Archaeology
Staff review

"As a UCL graduate myself I had experienced first-hand the university’s global outlook and its emphasis on research-led education. It is a fascinating place to return and work. UCL Qatar is a particularly stimulating working environment, as we are currently setting up a new department away from the home campus in a region that is placing culture and education at the forefront of its future development."

Dr Myrto Georgakopoulou

Conservation Studies MSc, Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World MA.
Lecturer in Archaeological Materials Science

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 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.

Application deadlines

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 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

Contact Information


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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