Institute of Archaeology


Programme Structure for MA Archaeology

The MA Archaeology is an intensive induction programme on current archaeological theory and interpretive trends which equips students to undertake research in their chosen field.

Degree co-ordinator: Stephen Shennan 

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 and serves as an excellent expansion of undergraduate studies or as a self-designed foundation for further postgraduate and professional work.

Degree Handbook


The degree programme is available either full-time over one calendar year or part-time over two calendar years (commencing September). It comprises two core courses, several options and a dissertation, each of which is explained in greater detail below.

Core Modules

All students must take the following:

Option Modules

Students choose to follow further option modules up to the value of 60 credits from an outstanding range of Masters course options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. For this degree, most options listed under other degrees are available to students on the MA Archaeology degree, so please check the full list here. Please note not all modules are available every year. Some of the most popular choices include:


(90 credits) - All students are asked to write a dissertation (15,000 words long) which is the result of an individual research project undertaken during the degree. This can be on any approved topic relevant to the degree and will usually build-on the taught components selected. Students are assigned a Supervisor to guide the main stages of the work.

Examples of past projects include:

  • a historical analysis of leading figures in British field archaeology
  • a spatial and GIS analysis on street features of Pompeii
  • a comparison of the incorporation of new provinces in the Chimu and Inka empires
  • an analysis of Assyrian texts and icons in relation to images of kingship
  • a stylistic and functional analysis of pottery from Aegean Bronze Age sites