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:

  • Approaches to Artefact Studies (ARCLG120, 30 credits, 22 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. 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)
  • Archaemetallurgy 2: Metallic Artefacts (ARCLG109, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Archaeometallurgy I: mining and extractive metallurgy (ARCLG108, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Art: Interpretation and Explanation (ARCLG067, 30 credits, 22 weeks)
  • British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age (ARCLG218, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Experimental Archaeology (ARCLG220, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Funerary Archaeology (ARCLG281, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Interpreting Pottery (ARCLG112, 15credits, 11 weeks)
  • Issues in Conservation: Understanding Objects (ARCLG142, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Lithic Analysis (ARCLG113, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Greek Art (ARCLG346, 15 credits, 11 weeks)
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Roman Art (ARCLG347, 15 credits, 11 weeks)


(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 Late Bronze Age Egyptian glassmaking
  • new methods for identifying the handedness of flint-knappers
  • prehistoric ceramic production in Honduras, comparing chaîne opératoires
  • characterisation and interpretation of metals and alloys
  • an analysis of Alfred Haddon’s Acquisitions at the Horniman Museum
  • manufacturing and firing accidents in the production of the Border Ware


Students have the option to do a 20 day placement in Term 3 and in the early part of the summer 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 Specialist Services (Pompeian red ware, Border ware, Tudor glass, Roman ‘lamp chimneys’, Roman shoes, Egyptian blue, Roman locks and keys, 18th century ‘witch’s bottles’)
  • the Ure Museum, Reading University (Apulian funerary vase-painting)
  • the Horniman Museum (A.C. Haddon’s collections from New Guinnea and Torres Straits, Greek and Cypriot Bronze pottery, Egyptian Shabti figurines)
  • the British Museum (Elamean coins from Iran, British Palaeolithic flint)
  • the Portable Antiquities Scheme (Romano-British brooches, Dragonesque brooches, Button brooches, pierced Roman coins), Petrie Museum (New Kingdom faience, Byzantine jewellery)
  • PreConstruct Archaeology (Medieval pottery)
  • 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).

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