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Artefact Studies MA

This MA provides training in the documentation and interpretation of artefacts from archaeological sites and museum collections. Students benefit from a placement within a museum or an archaeological unit where experience will be gained in the practice of finds analysis.

Key Information

Modes and duration

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

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£9,285 (FT) £4,665 (PT)
£18,670 (FT) £9,285 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016

Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in archaeology or related 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.

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 are introduced to the skills of finds specialists, practical issues of artefact study, and debates about the collection, interpretation, reporting and curation of archaeological materials. They develop the ability to evaluate different approaches to artefact studies and undertake the cataloguing and analysis of an artefact assemblage.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one core module (30 credits), four optional modules (60 credits), an optional work placement and a research project (90 credits).

Core Modules

  • Approaches to Artefact Studies


  • Antiquities and the Law
  • Archaeological Ceramic Analysis
  • Archaeological Glass and Glazes
  • Archaeometallurgy I: Mining and Extractive Metallurgy
  • Archaeometallurgy II: Metallic Artefacts
  • Art: Interpretation and Explanation
  • British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age
  • Experimental Archaeology
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Interpreting Pottery
  • Issues in Conservation: Understanding Objects
  • Lithic Analysis


The 15,000–word dissertation normally combines a professional standard finds report with an academic overview.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through formal lectures, seminars and practical sessions. It can include a placement at a relevant museum or archaeological unit where students gain experience in the practical study and the recording of an artefact assemblage. Assessment is through an essay, a portfolio, a project proposal and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Artefact Studies MA


UK and EU students are eligible to apply for Arts and Humanities Research Council funding.

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.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
Overseas students
Based on both academic merit and financial need

More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website


Some recent graduates of the programme have gone on to PhD studies while others have pursued a very wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology. The main career path is working as assistants, museum curators or working in the antiquities service recording finds.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Archaeologist, Museum of London Archaeology (2013)
  • Research Assistant, National University of Mexico (2013)
  • Finds Specialist, Museum of London (2011)
  • Artefacts Assistant, Maidstone Council (2013)
  • Research Assistant, UCL (2011)


The degree is tailored to give graduates a solid grounding in systematically recording and documenting artefacts as well as analysing artefact assemblage. They will also have a basic understanding of creating graphs and diagrams, and analysing and assembling finds-catalogues. Without concentrating on any specific epoch, we give students the tools for understanding and systematically analysing any artefact assemblages.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Students are introduced to the skills of finds specialists, practical issues of artefact study, and debates about the collection, interpretation, reporting and curation of archaeological materials. They develop the ability to evaluate different approaches to artefact studies and undertake the cataloguing and analysis of an artefact assemblage.

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 outstanding archaeological library is complemented by UCL's Main Library, University of London Senate House and other specialist libraries. UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library.

UCL's own museums and collections form a resource of international importance for academic research. Students will work on material from the institute's collection as part of their assessment. Past students on this programme have made effective use of the resources at the British Museum, the Museum of London and the Museum of London archives, the Petrie Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and other british museums.

Student / staff ratios › 63 staff including 27 postdocs › 277 taught students › 130 research students

Department: Institute of Archaeology

Degree reviews

Staff review

"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 Pearson

Archaeology MA
Professor 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 graduates with a first degree in archaeology who wish to develop their skills in the study and interpretation of artefacts from archaeological sites and museum collections, with a view to further research or a career in this field.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016

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 Artefact Studies at UCL
  • why you want to study Artefact Analysis at graduate level
  • what you expect to get out of this programme
  • what is your general archaeological background
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • what your undergraduate degree is in and how much practical work with artefacts does the degree include
  • what previous experience you have in working with artefacts
  • if you have any experience in working as a finds assistant or in a museum
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree


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