Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials MSc

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

Key Information

Modes and duration

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

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£9,550 (FT) £4,770 (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 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.

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 gain a good understanding of the foundations of the most established analytical techniques in archaeology, receive practical experience in their application to the interpretation of artefacts and assemblages, and develop the ability to design research projects that employ instrumental analysis and microscopy to address archaeological questions.

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 information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials MSc


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 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.


Given our strong emphasis on research training, many of our MSc graduates take up further research positions after their degree, and over half of our MSc students progress to 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.

Some of our graduates are now teaching archaeometry or ancient technologies at different universities in the UK and abroad. Others work as conservation scientists in museums and heritage institutions, or as finds specialists, researchers and consultants employed by archaeological field units or academic research projects.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Curatorial Assistant, Pitt-Rivers Museum, University of Oxford (2012)
  • Head of Collections, Gold Museum, Bogota, Columbia (2011)
  • Researcher, National Museum of Korea (2013)
  • Field Archaeologist, Office of State Archaeologists (2013)
  • Archaeological Scientist, University of Great Zimbabwe (2012)


Due largely to an unparalleled breadth of academic expertise and laboratory facilities, 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. On completion 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 implementation, ethical issues and comparative approaches to world archaeology through direct 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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK. 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 microphone 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.

The institute houses fine teaching and reference collections that are 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 research opportunities for MSc students.

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

Department: 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 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.

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 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


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