The Archaeology MA is an intensive induction programme on current archaeological theory and interpretive trends which equips students to undertake research in their chosen field. The flexible programme of study serves as an excellent expansion of undergraduate studies or as a self-designed foundation for further postgraduate and professional work.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £9,840 (FT) £4,970 (PT)
- £20,540 (FT) £10,430 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students 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.
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.
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:
About this degree
The programme provides a wide-ranging introduction to archaeology as a comparative, anthropologically-informed, and socially-situated discipline. Students develop critically aware perspectives on archaeological practice and research processes and gain an in-depth understanding of approaches to the collection, analysis and interpretation of archaeological data. The programme is extremely flexible, with a wide choice of options available allowing students to tailor the programme to their own interests.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
All students are required to take the following:
- Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
- Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Current Issues
Students choose to follow further optional modules up to the value of 60 credits from an outstanding range of Master's programme options available at the UCL Institute of archaeology. Some of the most popular choices include:
- Aegean Prehistory: major themes and current debates
- Ancient Italy in the Mediterranean
- Archaeologies of Modern Conflict
- Archaeology of Buddhism
- Archaeology and Education
- Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers from the Emergence of Modern Humans
- Archaeometallurgy: Metallic Artefacts
- Aztec Archaeology: Codices and Ethnohistory
- Beyond Chiefdoms: Archaeologies of African political complexities
- British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age
- Funerary Archaeology
- Interpreting Pottery
- Making and Meaning in Ancient Greek Art
- Making and Meaning in Ancient Roman Art
- Maya Art, Architecture and Archaeology
- Medieval Archaeology: Select Topics and Current Problems
- Prehistoric Stone Artefact Analysis
- Society and Culture in Ancient Egypt
- The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Near East: The Emergence of Villages and Urban Societies
- The Transformation of the Roman Mediterranean
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The core module is seminar based, and the sessions are interactive, with an emphasis on student participation and critical discussion. The optional modules are delivered through seminars, lectures, practicals, laboratory sessions, tutorials, and site and museum visits, as appropriate for specific modules. Assessment is through essays, oral examination and the dissertation.
Institute of Archaeology (IoA) Master's Awards: A small number of grants of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2017/18. All UK/EU and Overseas fee-paying students with an offer to start any Master's degree offered by the IoA are eligible to apply. For an application form please email Lisa Daniel. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2017.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Some recent graduates of the programme have gone on to PhD studies while others have pursued an incredibly wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology. Recent graduate career destinations include: excavator for a private archaeological contractor, education officer, and intern at a national museum. Several students each year normally continue on to PhD studies at UCL.
Top career destinations for this degree
- Doctoral Researcher, Graduate School of Human Development in Landscape
- Head of Corporate Legal, Fidelity
- Freelance Archaeologist, Murray Archaeological Services
- MPhil/PhD Archaeology, University College London (UCL)
- Humanities Lecturer, Cirencester College and studying PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector), Cirencester College
As the most general of the MA/MSc programmes, the experience and skills acquired depends on the optional modules selected, and how those skills are developed through assessed work, developing experise in the archaeology of specific regions, periods or themes, or specific field, museum and analytical skills. All students acquire a detailed understanding of specific theoretical debates and the critical skills to evaluate existing arguments and interpretations and to develop their own research, develop a range of research skills, and design and carry through original research. Taught from a comparative anthropological perspective, understanding cultural differences, in the past and present, is fundamental.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and one of the most highly regarded centres for archaeology, archaeological science, cultural heritage and museum studies in Britain, highlighted by its top position in university assessments and National Student Survey results. It is one of the very few departments in the world undertaking research on a truly global scale. Its degrees offer an unrivalled variety of modules. The institute hosts events on many different aspects of archaeology and is linked to heritage organisations, museums and archaeological societies, providing an outstanding research environment for students.
It is truly international in outlook and membership, with students and staff from over 40 countries, and involvement in field research projects around the world.
UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library. UCL's own museums and collections constitute a resource of international importance for research.
Department: Institute of Archaeology
Student / staff numbers
› 63 staff
including 27 postdocs
› 258 taught students
› 115 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology
75% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
What our students and staff say
"The academic environment at UCL (and the Institute of Archaeology) fosters more original thought and critique of key texts than I experienced in undergraduate study at an American university. Although my undergrad was heavily based in seminars, it still seemed like we were less encouraged to dissect and critically examine the more classic pieces of literature from the field. I do feel that this difference in teaching methodology has made me a much stronger student, and my Master’s degree has been much less about repetition of information and more about forming critical, original ideas."
Alexandra SalamunovichArchaeology MA
"It has been amazing to see the growth of public interest in Stonehenge and archaeology more generally in the ten years that we have been running this project."
Professor Mike Parker PearsonArchaeology MA
Professor of Archaeology
"Not only do I enjoy teaching and seeing my students develop throughout their time at UCL, but also I learn so much from them. Many of my recent projects and interests are inspired by them. Currently, I am highly interested in the study of neonatal and juvenile remains, both archaeological and modern. Additionally, I am also exploring the utility of CT scanning in diagnosis of ancient disease, trauma, and in forensic anthropology more generally."
Dr Caroyn RandoArchaeology MA
UCL Institute of Archaeology
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 particularly suitable for students with a first degree in archaeology, anthropology, history or classics. It will appeal to those who wish to develop the necessary skills relevant for a professional career in archaeology, and for those who want to continue onto a research degree in the field.
- All applicants
- 28 July 2017
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 at graduate level
- why you want to study 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
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.