Institute of Archaeology


MA Managing Archaeological Sites

The Managing Archaeological Sites MA examines why certain archaeological and heritage sites, including World Heritage Sites, are selected for preservation, and how power relationships and different perceptions of contemporary values impact upon this. It explores international and local approaches to how sites can be successfully managed, conserved and presented to preserve their significance.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£12,500 (FT)
£6,250 (PT)
£25,800 (FT)
£12,900 (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 Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

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

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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.

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:

About this degree

Students will understand the theoretical issues surrounding heritage management, and how to apply a planning process to holistic and sustainable site management, based on the recognition of a site's values to interest groups. Students will learn practical approaches to a range of challenges, including participatory processes, physical conservation, digital documentation, visitor management, site interpretation, World Heritage nomination, and heritage tourism. They will also master a technical vocabulary to communicate with site management specialists.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of a core module (30 credits), optional modules (60 credits), an optional work placement and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Managing Archaeological Sites.

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.

Compulsory modules

Students are required to take the following: 

  • Managing Archaeological Sites

Optional modules

Students choose to follow further optional modules up to the value of 60 credits from the range of Master's modules on offer.

Although not a compulsory course, it is likely that most Managing Archaeological Sites students will take the option: ARCL0148 Digital Heritage: Applications in Heritage Management

  • Archaeological Heritage Management in Asia
  • Archaeology of Early Human origins
  • Archaeology of the Silk Roads
  • Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas II : Empires, states and settlement
  • Critical Perspectives on Cultural Heritage
  • Cultural Memory
  • Digital heritage: applications in Heritage Management
  • Egyptian Archaeology: An Object-Based Theoretical Approach
  • GIS in Archaeology and History
  • Heritage Ethics and Archaeological practice in the Middle East and Mediterranean
  • Maya Art, Architecture and Archaeology
  • Middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age in the Near East: City-States and Empires
  • Public Archaeology
  • Social Complexity in Early China: From the Neolithic to the Early Empire
  • Technology Within Society
  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Current Topics
  • Working with Artefacts and Assemblages

Detailed descriptions of the core courses and modules can be found here. Please note not all modules  are available every year. 


Students are asked to write a 15,000 word (90 credits) dissertation which will be on any approved topic relevant to the degree and taught components. It is produced as an individual research project undertaken during the course. 

Examples of projects include: 

  • Management of archaeological sites in South Asia with reference to a growing problem of illegal antiquities trafficking.
  • Stories and Myths: Perception and Reality at Heritage Sites in Europe.
  • Role of World Heritage in the UK.


    Students will have the option to undertake a voluntary placement in an appropriate organisation or on-site project for a period of three weeks in total. In recent years, these placements have included organisations such as English Heritage, the National Trust, Historic Royal Palaces, ICOMOS (Paris), World Monuments Fund (Paris), UNESCO World Heritage Centre (Paris), the Museum of London, Atkins Global, the Parque Arqueológico do Vale do Côa (Portugal), MIRAS (Iran), City Museum (Palermo), Ancient Merv State Archaeological Park (Turkmenistan), and the National Institute of Informatics (Tokyo, Japan). This is not assessed.

    Teaching and learning

    The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical demonstrations and site visits. It includes an optional three-week placement in an appropriate organisation or on-site project. Assessment is through essays, project reports, projects and practicals (depending on the options chosen), and the dissertation.

    Additional costs

    For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


    Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


    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.

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


    Recent graduates of this programme have gone on to work in policy development and heritage management for national and international organisations, such as Historic England, the National Trust, ICOMOS and UNESCO. They have also worked in heritage consultancies, museums, development control, site interpretation and education. Many students have also gone on to further research in academic institutions around the world, such as Stanford, Athens and Leiden, or here at UCL.


    Students on this programme gain understanding of a wide range of practical methods for the conservation, management and interpretation of cultural heritage, which provides a sound basis for a wide range of employment opportunities of the heritage sector. Students also master a technical vocabulary to communicate with heritage professional and agencies, and develop strong transferable skills in written and oral communication, teamworking, digital documentation and dealing with complex stakeholders.

    Why study this degree at UCL?

    The theory and practice of archaeological heritage management is undertaken within the context of the Institute of Archaeology's international outlook and membership, with student and staff involvement in field research projects around the globe. This provides a unique range of perspectives and circumstances, reflected in critical discourse.

    Heritage management is rooted in contemporary society and its issues, involved in the political and social ramifications of how archaeological sites are used and perceived in the present. Social, economic and development strategies mean that the preservation and management of archaeological heritage has to be set within wider concerns for human dignity and justice. This degree equips students to engage in this discourse.

    In balancing theory and practice, it will suit those wishing to continue on to academic research and those seeking employment in heritage management or international organisations.

    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.

    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 has an international perspective and will appeal to students from a range of academic backgrounds (e.g. archaeology, conservation, planning, architecture, museum studies, tourism). In balancing theory and practice, it will suit those wishing to continue to academic research and those seeking employment in heritage administration or international organisations.

    Application deadlines

    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 Managing Archaeological Sites at graduate level
    • what do you consider to be the 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 Managing Archaeological Sites at UCL
    • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment at UCL

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    Page last modified on 28 August 2021