The Archaeology MA is an intensive induction programme on current archaeological theory and interpretive trends which equips students to undertake research in their chosen field. The flexible programme of study serves as an excellent expansion of undergraduate studies or as a self-designed foundation for further postgraduate and professional work.
Modes and duration
Taught courses take place in the first two terms. The remainder of the year is devoted to the dissertation.
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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 Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
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
UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses
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
The programme provides a wide-ranging introduction to archaeology as a comparative, anthropologically-informed, and socially situated discipline. Students develop critically aware perspectives on archaeological practice and research processes and gain an in-depth understanding of approaches to the collection, analysis and interpretation of archaeological data. The programme is extremely flexible, with a wide choice of options available allowing students to tailor the programme to their own interests.
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).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Archaeology.
Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.
All students are required to take the following:
- Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
- Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Current Issues
Students choose to follow further optional modules up to the value of 60 credits from an outstanding range of Master's programme options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. Some of the most popular choices include:
- Aegean Prehistory: major themes and current debates
- African Heritage
- Archaeologies of Modern Conflict
- Archaeology of Buddhism
- Archaeology and Education
- Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers from the Emergence of Modern Humans
- Aztec Archaeology: Codices and Ethnohistory
- Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas I: First Peoples to Emerging Complexity
- Funerary Archaeology
- Heritage Ethics and Archaeological Practice in the Middle East and Mediterranean
- Interpreting Pottery
- Maya Art, Architecture and Archaeology
- Medieval Archaeology: Select Topics and Current Problems
- Prehistoric Stone Artefact Analysis
- Sources and Social Research Methods for Heritage and Archaeology
- The Archaeology of the Silk Roads
- Themes and Debates in Egyptian Archaeology
- Themes and Debates in Islamic Archaeology and Heritage
- The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Near East: The Emergence of Villages and Urban Societies
Detailed descriptions of the core courses and modules can be found here. Please note not all modules are available every year.
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words (90 credits).
There is no fieldwork element in this programme but students may have the opportunity to take part in the Institute's summer field training course if they wish to do so.
Teaching and learning
The core modules are seminar based, and the sessions are interactive, with an emphasis on student participation and critical discussion. The optional modules are delivered through seminars, lectures, practicals, laboratory sessions, tutorials, and site and museum visits, as appropriate for specific modules. Assessment is through essays, oral examination and the dissertation.
The core courses are seminar-based and involve two contact hours per week during the teaching weeks. Extensive reading is required in advance of each week's seminar. Many of the optional courses are also taught in the same way but some may involve additional practical sessions or site/museum visits as above
As noted above, MA Archaeology students have the possibility of taking part in the Institute of Archaeology's summer term field training course, held at a site in southern England. This involves extra costs of approximately £250-350 to cover food and travel.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
Institute of Archaeology Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2021/22. 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 2021.
UCL Institute of Archaeology International Masters Student Award: thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor the scholarship will enable one international fee paying student to undertake a year of study. It will provide support of up to £26,000 for the duration of their degree and funds can be used to support fees and/or maintenance costs at the recipient’s discretion. Further details can be found here. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2021.
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 gone on to PhD studies while others have pursued an incredibly wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology.
As the most general of the MA/MSc programmes, the experience and skills acquired depends on the optional modules selected, and how those skills are developed through assessed work, developing expertise in the archaeology of specific regions, periods or themes, or specific field, museum and analytical skills. All students acquire a detailed understanding of specific theoretical debates and the critical skills to evaluate existing arguments and interpretations and to develop their own research, develop a range of research skills, and design and carry through original research.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and one of the most highly regarded centres for archaeology, archaeological science, cultural heritage and museum studies in Britain, highlighted by its leading position in university assessments and National Student Survey results. It is one of the very few departments in the world undertaking research on a truly global scale. Its degrees offer an unrivalled variety of modules. The Institute hosts events on many different aspects of archaeology and is linked to heritage organisations, museums and archaeological societies, providing an outstanding research environment for students.
It is truly international in outlook and membership, with students and staff from over 40 countries, and involvement in field research projects around the world.
UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library. UCL's own museums and collections constitute a resource of international importance for research.
Department: Institute of Archaeology
What our students and staff say
"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 PearsonArchaeology MA
Professor of Archaeology
"Not only do I enjoy teaching and seeing my students develop throughout their time at UCL, but also I learn so much from them. Many of my recent projects and interests are inspired by them. Currently, I am highly interested in the study of neonatal and juvenile remains, both archaeological and modern. Additionally, I am also exploring the utility of CT scanning in diagnosis of ancient disease, trauma, and in forensic anthropology more generally."
Dr Carolyn RandoArchaeology MA
UCL 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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
The programme is particularly suitable for students with a first degree in archaeology, anthropology, history or classics. It will appeal to those who wish to develop the necessary skills relevant to a professional career in archaeology, and to those who want to continue to a research degree in the field.
- All applicants
- 31 May 2021
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 Archaeology at graduate level
- why you want to study 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.
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