Archaeological Science: Technology and Materials MSc

London, Bloomsbury

Scientific analysis plays an important role in the study of archaeological materials. This MSc integrates teaching in materials science and the archaeology of technology with practical training in the instrumental analysis of archaeological and heritage objects. Students design and implement materials characterisation projects that address key archaeological questions, while developing transferable skills in project management and data analysis.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£12,900
£6,450
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£26,600
£13,300
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 31 Mar 2022

Applications open

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

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.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

This degree bridges the gap between data generated by materials science and broader archaeological questions about human behaviour. Students will be introduced to critical concepts of both disciplines and learn the foundations of the major instrumental techniques. By the degree's conclusion, students will have the knowledge and experience to independently design, implement, and report archaeologically meaningful materials characterisation studies.

Who this course is for

The programme is designed for graduates in archaeology or related disciplines with an interest in scientific methods. It is also suitable for conservators and others concerned with archaeological collections, and for science graduates who have, or are willing to acquire, a good understanding of archaeology.

What this course will give you

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK. Its specialist staff, outstanding library, and fine teaching and reference collections provide a stimulating environment for postgraduate study right in the heart of London.

The excellent in-house laboratory facilities will provide direct experience with a wide range of techniques, including electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis, portable X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, laser induced breakdown spectroscopy, infra-red spectroscopy, induced coupled plasma mass spectrometry, petrography, and metallography under the supervision of some of the world's leading specialists.

The Institute houses outstanding teaching and reference collections from around the world that are extensively used by MSc students. Collections include ceramic, glass, metal, and stone artefacts, as well as geological materials from around the world. In addition, the Institute has an extensive network of connections to museums and active projects offering research opportunities for MSc students.

The foundation of your career

Due largely to an unparalleled breadth of academic expertise and laboratory facilities, our graduates develop an unusual combination of research and transferable skills, including critical abilities, team working, multimedia communication, numerical thinking and the use of advanced analytical instruments. On completion of the degree, graduates should be as comfortable in a laboratory as in a museum and/or an archaeological site. They become acquainted with research design and implementation, ethical issues and comparative approaches to world archaeology through direct exposure to an enormous variety of projects. The range of options available allows students to tailor their pathways towards different career prospects in archaeology and beyond.

Employability

Given our strong emphasis on research training, many of our MSc graduates take up further research positions after their degree, and over half of our MSc students progress to PhD research. Their projects are generally concerned with the technology and/or provenance of ceramics, metals, or glass in different regions and periods, but most of them involve scientific approaches in combination with traditional fieldwork and/or experimental archaeology.

Some of our graduates are now teaching archaeometry or ancient technologies at different universities in the UK and abroad. Others work as conservation scientists in museums and heritage institutions, or as finds specialists, researchers and consultants employed by archaeological field units or academic research projects.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical demonstrations and laboratory work. A popular aspect of this programme is its extensive use of analytical facilities. Assessment is through essays, practicals, projects, laboratory reports and oral presentations depending on the options chosen, and the dissertation.

While week to week schedules will vary, students can expect to spend 25% of their time in lectures, 25% in tutorials or practicals, up to 5% in advisory or supplemental engagement sessions, and about 45% working on independent study and research

Modules

Full-time

The teaching is carried out in the first two terms. In the second term, you identify a dissertation topic and supervisor. Then in the third term, you begin work on your dissertation, which continues over the summer. Research skills sessions provide support for this and you have to make an oral presentation of your dissertation plans to staff and your colleagues to obtain feedback.

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.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Archaeological Science: Technology and Materials.

Accessibility

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.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: UCL Institute of Archaeology

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Applying for Graduate Study at UCL

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £12,900 £6,450
Tuition fees (2022/23) £26,600 £13,300

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

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.

Funding your studies

Institute of Archaeology Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2022/23. 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 2022.

UCL Institute of Archaeology International Masters Student Award: thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor the scholarship will enable one international fee paying student to undertake a year of study. It will provide support of up to £26,000 for the duration of their degree to cover fees. Further details can be found here. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2022.

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

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Heritage and Museums Opportunity Scholarship

Deadline: 1 March 2022
Value: Full Home Fees (1yr)
Criteria Based on academic merit
Eligibility: UK

Institute of Archaeology International Masters Student Award

Deadline: 1 March 2022
Value: Up to £26,000 (1yr)
Criteria Based on academic merit
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

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.

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 Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Archaeological Science: Technology and Materials at graduate level
  • what do you consider to be the major challenges in this field today
  • if you have a strong interest in any particular ancient material or technology
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
  • why you want to study Archaeological Science: Technology and Materials at UCL
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. The programme may remain open if places are still available after 31 March 2022 and will be closed as soon as it is full or by 30 June 2022.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021