The Comparative Art and Archaeology MA at UCL is a wide-ranging and challenging programme designed to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the major problems, theories and approaches in the sociological and anthropological interpretation of the art of pre-modern societies.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £10,140 (FT) £5,120 (PT)
- £21,160 (FT) £10,740 (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
Students are encouraged to think critically and work independently, from a broadly comparative perspective, across the boundaries of regional and period specialisation which have traditionally characterised the study of art. They develop subject-specific, research-oriented skills relevant to their development as practising analysts within the history, anthropology or archaeology of art.
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:
- Nature, Culture and the Languages of Art: theories and methodologies of art interpretation
- Social and Material Contexts of Art: comparative approaches to art explanation
Students choose to follow further optional modules up to the value of 60 credits from an outstanding range of Master's module options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. For this degree the most popular choices include:
- Ancient Italy in the Mediterranean
- Archaeology of Buddhism
- Archaeology of Egypt and the Near East: a Comparative Approach
- Aztec Archaeology: Codices and Ethnohistory
- Cities, States and Religion in Ancient India
- Making and Meaning in Ancient Greek Art
- Making and Meaning in Ancient Roman Art
- Maya Art, Architecture and Archaeology
- Social Complexity in Early China: from the Neolithic to the Early Empire
- Society and Culture in Ancient Egypt
- Technology in Society: archaeology and ethnography in the Andes
- The Mediterranean World in the Iron Age
- The Transformation of the Roman Mediterranean
All MA 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 seminars, lectures and presentations. Some optional modules include site visits to museums. Assessment is through essays, coursework, oral examination and the dissertation.
Institute of Archaeology Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2018/19. 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 2018.
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 progressed to PhD studies while others have developed careers in museums, other professional cultural heritage organisations, as well as art and archaeology-related publishing and television. A high level of success has been achieved by students going on to fully funded PhD research at the University of Oxford, UCL, University of California Berkeley, and Stanford, funded by the AHRC, the Chilean government, Japanese Government, UCL, and the Ministry of Education of Taiwan. Other students have secured positions in the museums and heritage sector, for example at the Petrie Museum at UCL and the Museum for Asian Civilizations in Singapore.
Successful graduates will have been fully prepared to undertake research on the art history and archaeology of early civilizations, from a comparative or region/period/theme-specific perspective, and will also possess the expert background knowledge to move on to related professional work in art history, archaeology and cultural heritage (subject to the particular requirements of a given position).
Why 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.
We are international in outlook, with students and staff from over 40 countries, and involvement in field research projects around the globe. The teaching staff for this programme bring together a range and depth of expertise that is arguably unparalleled at other institutions.
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.
Department: Institute of Archaeology
Student / staff numbers
› 63 staff
including 25 postdocs
› 246 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
73% 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
"UCL has the most diverse archaeology department in Europe."
Professor Jeremy TannerComparative Art and Archaeology MA
Professor of Classical and Comparative Art
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, anthropology, history, classics or art history who wish to develop the skills relevant to a professional career in archaeology and art history, or for continued research in this field.
- All applicants
- 27 July 2018
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 Comparative Art and Archaeology at graduate level
- why you want to study Comparative Art and 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.
Applicants need relevant background in archaeology or art history to be eligible for direct entry onto this degree. Applicants without this may wish to consider our Graduate Diploma in the first instance.