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Urban Archaeology MA

The study of urbanisation is an increasingly important aspect of world archaeology and considers how cities have come to dominate human society and whether archaeology can contribute to the shaping of future cities. This MA aims to develop both critical theory and practical approaches in this vital field of academic research.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£10,110 (FT) £5,085 (PT)
£20,540 (FT) £10,430 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 3 October 2016
Close: 28 July 2017

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.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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 will develop an advanced understanding of the significance of urbanism in the development of human society, and of important theoretical issues relevant to identities and institutions, cities and empire, and town planning and urban morphology. They 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 four core modules (60 credits), 30 credits of optional modules and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

  • Approaches to Urban Archaeology: Themes and Concepts
  • The Archaeology of Complex Urban Sites: Analytical and Interpretative Techniques
  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
  • London Within the Roman World: a Case Study in Urban Archaeology

Optional modules

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


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.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Urban Archaeology MA


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.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

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

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


The Urban Archaeology MA is a new programme from which only one small cohort of students has graduated. Some graduates have gone on to undertake PhD research, whilst others are working as archaeological consultants in professional practice.

Other career opportunities include policy and applied archaeology positions in national and international organisations, museums and professional archaeological units.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Archaeology Intern, Crossrail / University College London (UCL)


The programme 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 programme develops strong transferable skills in written and oral communication, and in the approaches to complex urban archaeology. In balancing theory and practice, it will suit those wishing to continue to academic research and those seeking employment in archaeological organisations.

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?

London is the most intensely studied archaeological site in the world.

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

Department: Institute of Archaeology

Student / staff numbers › 63 staff including 27 postdocs › 258 taught students › 115 research students

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.

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 in the world where 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
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 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

Contact information

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