Taught degree

Urban Archaeology MA

Urban Archaeology is a fundamental feature of world archaeology - few countries have no urban past - and since classical times a significant proportion of the world's population has lived in urban centres. This MA aims to develop both critical theory and practical approaches in this vital field of academic research.

Key Information

Modes and duration

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

Tuition Fees (2015/16)

£9,015 (FT) £4,530 (PT)
£17,510 (FT) £8,755 (PT)

Application deadlines

All applicants:
1 August 2015

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 requirement: Good

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.

International equivalencies

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

Degree Information

You will develop an advanced understanding of the significance of urbanism in the development of human society, and of important theoretical issues such as identities and institutions; cities and empire; town planning and urban morphology. You also gain subject specific skills, including recording and analysing complex stratigraphy and understanding archaeological archives.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (60 credits), 30 credits of optional modules and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core Modules

  • The Archaeology of Complex Urban Sites: Analytical and Interpretative Techniques
  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
  • Themes in Urban Archaeology


  • Zooarchaeology in Practice
  • Near Eastern Material Cultures I: Neolithic and Early Bronze age
  • Geographic Information Systems in Archaeology I
  • Geoarchaeology: Methods and Concepts I
  • Environmental Archaeology in Practice
  • Egyptian Landscapes: Archaeological Perspective
  • Beyond Chiefdoms: Archaeologies of African Political Complexities
  • Archaeological Approaches to the Human Use of Space
  • Archaeology and Ethnicity
  • Approaches to Artefact Studies
  • Applied Heritage Management
  • The Late Bronze Age Aegean
  • The Aegean from First Farmers to Minoan States
  • Spatial Analysis in Archaeology
  • Social Complexity in Early China: from the Neolithic to the Early Empire
  • Research Skills for Spatial Analysis
  • Near Eastern Material Cultures II: Middle bronze Age through the Iron Age
  • Mediterranean World in the Iron Age
  • Interpreting Potter - Lecture and Practical
  • Geographic Information Systems in Archaeology II


An independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical sessions and structured reading. Assessment is through written and practical essays, oral examination and the dissertation.


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

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

Kathleen Kenyon Awards

1 year

Gordon Childe Studentship

UK/EU fees plus stipend
1 year

More scholarships are listed on the scholarships website


Some graduates of the programme go on to PhD studies, while others pursue a wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology, including policy areas in national and international organisations, museums and professional archaeological units. The first cohort of students from the Urban Archaeology MA are due to graduate in 2014, therefore no information on graduate destinations is currently available.


The course enables students to understand a wide range of theoretical and practical issues relevant to urban archaeology, which provide a sound basis for employment in many parts of the heritage sector. It also enables students to master a technical vocabulary to communicate with heritage professionals and agencies engaged in urban planning, development and archaeology. The course develops strong transferrable skills in written and oral communications, and in the approaches to complex urban archaeology. In balancing theory and practice, it will suit those wishing to continue on to academic research and those seeking employment in archaeological organisations.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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

The range of staff expertise at the Institute is unparalleled in this field, across both the chronological and geographic range of urbanism, and in approaches to handling complex urban data.

UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library. Students benefit from London's many museums, galleries and other archaeological spaces, but in particular have easy access to UCL's own museums and collections, which form a resource of international importance for academic research.

Student / staff ratios › 60 staff › 263 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 degree will appeal to an international cohort of scholars wishing to specialise in this important field: there is almost no country for which the theory and practice of urban archaeology is not of primary relevance to the challenges facing the discipline in the 21st century.

Application deadlines

All applicants

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 Urban Archaeology at graduate level
  • what do you consider to be major challenges in this field today
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
  • why you want to study Urban Archaeology 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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