Institute of Archaeology


Programme Structure for MA Managing Archaeological Sites

The MA Managing Archaeological Sites examines why certain archaeological and heritage sites, including World Heritage Sites, are selected for preservation.

Degree co-ordinator: Paul Wordsworth

The Managing Archaeological Sites MA also explores how power relationships and different perceptions of contemporary values impact upon decision making. It explores modern approaches to how sites can be successfully managed, conserved and presented to preserve their significance.

Students will grasp 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 its interest groups. They will also learn practical methods for participatory processes, physical conservation, digital documentation, visitor management, site interpretation, World Heritage nomination, and heritage tourism.

Degree Handbook


This degree programme is designed to give students a considerable degree of flexibility over the topics that they study, allowing them to design a degree which is either more theoretically based or more practically based, depending on each individual's needs. All students take the compulsory core module and a related project leading to a dissertation. They also choose to study 60 credits of option modules from the list provided below. Teaching for this degree is primarily by lectures, seminars, practical sessions and site visits.

Core Modules

Students all follow one core module:

Option Modules

You are then able to choose further option modules to the value of 60 credits. At least one of these must be made up from the list below of option courses recommended for this degree programme. The other 45 credits may also come from this list or can be chosen from amongst an outstanding range of other Masters modules offered at the UCL Institute of Archaeology (subject to availability and resources, please note not all courses are available every year.).

Please note that some core modules are normally only available to those enroled for the degree in question and so if you wish to take a core module from another degree as an option certain restrictions may apply. Please consult the relevant course co-ordinator before making your options choice.


    (90 credits) - Students are also asked to write a dissertation (15,000 words) which will be on any approved topic relevant to the degree and the taught components. It is produced as a result of an individual research project undertaken during the course. Students are assigned a supervisor to guide the main stages of the work.

    Examples of past dissertation projects include ones that have considered:

    • the preservation of archaeological sites in Egypt and the role of local communities
    • the conservation and site management of ring-forts in the Republic of Ireland
    • the management and interpretation of Spanish Civil War defenses
    • conservation planning and local participation at archaeological sites in Iran
    • the erosion and stabilisation of earth slopes on archaeological sites
    • urban expansion and the management of historic cities: A case-study from the Han city of Chang'an, China
    • post-inscription support for World Heritage Sites
    • the potential of serial transnational properties for the UNESCO World Heritage List


    Students will have the option to undertake a voluntary  20-day placement in an appropriate organisation or on-site project. 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. 

    Those on Student Visas are permitted to undertake a work placement during their programme however they must not exceed 20 hours per week (unless the placement is an integral and assessed part of the programme). This applies whether that work placement takes place at UCL or at an external institution. If you choose to undertake a placement at an external institution, you will be required to report in to the department on a weekly basis so that you can continue to comply with your visa conditions.

    Those on Student Visas may also be permitted to study away from UCL on academic grounds which are not part of the standard delivery of a programme or module e.g. collecting data or conducting research. Such a period of study away from UCL must not be taken until it is authorised by the Departmental Tutor/Programme Leader. Students must inform their Departmental Tutor/Programme Leader before they intend to study away from UCL, and provide the location of study and the reason for doing so. The period of this form of study away from UCL must not exceed three months.