Degree structure



The degree is available either full-time over one calendar year or part-time over two calendar years (commencing September). It comprises a core course, several option courses, an optional placement within a museum or archaeological unit (not assessed, see below) and a dissertation. Each of these is discussed more fully below:

Core Course

All students must take the following:

  • Working with artefacts and assemblages (ARCLG348, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Technology within Society (ARCLG346, 15 credits, 11 weeks) 

Option Courses

Students choose to follow further option courses up to the value of 60 credits from an outstanding range of Masters course options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. Please note not all courses are available every year. For this degree, some of the most popular choices include:

  • Antiquities and the Law (ARCL185, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Archaeological ceramic analysis (ARCLG114, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Archaeological glass and glazes (ARCLG111, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Archaeometallurgy I: mining and extractive metallurgy (ARCLG108, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age (ARCLG218, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Funerary Archaeology (ARCLG281, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Geoarchaeology (ARCLG104, 15 credits, 11 weeks) 
  • Intangible Dimensions of Museum Objects from Egypt (ARCLG342, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Interpreting Pottery (ARCLG112, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Key Topics in the Archaeology of the Americas (ARCLG350, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Laboratory and Instrumental Skills in Archaeological Science (ARCLG347, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Greek Art (ARCLG340, 15 credits, 11 weeks) - subject to availability and resources
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Roman Art (ARCLG341, 15 credits, 11 weeks) - subject to availability and resources
  • Nature, culture and the languages of art: theories and methodologies of art interpretation  (ARCLG352, 15 credits, 11 weeks) - subject to availability and resources
  • Prehistoric Stone Artefact Analysis (ARCLG113, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Social and material contexts of art: comparative approaches to art explanation  (ARCLG353, 15 credits, 11 weeks) - subject to availability and resources


(90 credits) - The dissertation is 15,000 words in length with accompanying illustrations, tables and bibliographies etc, resulting from individual research undertaken during the course. In most cases this will combine a professional standard finds report with an academic overview of the particular field using the results of the analysis undertaken during the placement. However, with the permission of the Programme Co-ordinator, the dissertation can be on any topic relevant to the degree.

Examples of past projects include:

  • an experimental study of pottery breakage
  • manufacture of Egyptian fayence
  • spatial analysis of artefacts in Bronze Age lynchets
  • Small finds from the late Roman barracks at Caerleon
  • Irish traveler graves
  • Problems in long-term object storage in the East of England Museum Hub
  • Carnelian beads in Ancient Egyptian tombs
  • Coptic footwear
  • Ptolemaic jewellery


Students have the option to do a 20-day voluntary placement at a relevant museum or archaeological unit. The placement itself is not formally assessed other than through its contribution to the student's dissertation work. Some of the past placement locations and topics have included:

  • the Museum of London Archive (Pompeian red ware, Roman hair pins, Border ware, Tudor cutlery, Tudor glass, Roman ‘lamp chimneys’, Roman shoes, Egyptian blue, Roman locks and keys, 18th century ‘witch bottles’)
  • the Ure Museum, Reading University (Apulian funerary vase-painting)
  • Durham Oriental Museum (Bronze Age pottery from Yemen)
  • the Horniman Museum (A.C. Haddon’s collections from New Guinnea and Torres Straits, Greek and Cypriot Bronze pottery, Egyptian Shabti figurines)
  • The Wallace collection (Late Medieval chain mail)
  • the British Museum (Elamite coins from Iran, British Palaeolithic flint)
  • the Portable Antiquities Scheme (Romano-British brooches, Dragonesque brooches, Button brooches, pierced Roman coins)
  • Petrie Museum (Roman tokens, New Kingdom faience, Byzantine jewellery, Egyptian tomb stones)
  • PreConstruct Archaeology (Medieval pottery)
  • The National Museum of Scotland (Pictish bone pins)
  • Oxford Archaeology (Romano-British Pottery)
  • Archaeology South East (Romano-British Pottery)
  • English Heritage’s Ancient Monuments Laboratory (British Prehistoric Iron work)
  • Southampton University (Experimental lithic technology).

Please note that Tier 4 students 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.

Tier 4 students 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.

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