This MA is unique in the UK in providing such a comprehensive overview of Asian archaeology and cultural heritage. The UCL Institute of Archaeology is one of the few places in the world with the expertise to deliver such a programme, encompassing not only India and China, but also, East, South–East, and Central Asia.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree in archaeology or a related subject (e.g. geography, history, anthropology) 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
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
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.
Select your country:
About this degree
The aim of this programme is to develop a comparative appreciation of the cultural histories and heritage of Asia, moving chronologically from early human history, through movements towards the Neolithic, and the rise of cities and states, to the present day. It also examines critically current debates around conservation ethics, reconstruction and authenticity of archaeological remains.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of three core modules (45 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation (90 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Archaeology and Heritage of Asia.
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.
All students are required to take the following:
- Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
- Archaeologies of Asia
- Archaeological Heritage Management in Asia
Students take three further optional modules to the value of 45 credits. These can be selected from the outstanding range of Master's options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, but for this degree, the normal choices include:
- Archaeology of Buddhism
- Archaeology of the Silk Roads
- Critical Perspectives on Cultural Heritage
- Cultural Memory
- Managing Archaeological Sites
- Managing Museums
- Public Archaeology
- Social Complexity in Early China: from the Neolithic to the Early Empire
- Sources and Social Research Methods for Heritage and Archaeology
- Themes and Debates in Islamic Archaeology and Heritage
Detailed descriptions of the core courses and modules can be found here. Please note not all modules are available every year.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Assessment is through essays, PowerPoint presentations, supervised independent research project and dissertation, and an oral viva towards the end of the degree.
While week to week schedules will vary, students can expect to spend 25% of their time in lectures, 20% in tutorials or practicals, up to 10% in advisory or supplemental engagement sessions, and about 45% working on independent study and research
Institute of Archaeology Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2021/22. 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 2021.
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 and funds can be used to support fees and/or maintenance costs at the recipient’s discretion. Further details can be found here. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2021.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of this programme are expected to pursue further studies at PhD level or embark on a wide range of professional careers in archaeology - in the archaeological services or heritage organisations specialising in Asian countries - and beyond.
The experience and skills acquired depends on the optional modules selected, and how those skills are developed through assessed work, practical elements and dissertation, but in general we expect students to develop expertise in the archaeology of specific regions of Asia (in particular East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and to some extent South–East Asia) and a broader comparative, international perspective on that specific region. Students gain knowledge of both current scholarly debates in archaeology as well as heritage management issues.
Why study this degree at UCL?
This programme is unique in training pan-Asian specialists – escaping traditional study area boundaries where China, India, East, South–East and Central Asia are studied on their own – and conducting inter-regional dialogue on the human past.
Students are given the opportunity to develop depth of expertise in a particular region in Asia while benefiting from an innovative macro-regional comparative perspective.
This MA focuses on the development of human societies and civilisations in a part of the world which is becoming increasingly influential in world affairs but has been under-represented in most general and regional archaeological programmes.
Department: Institute of Archaeology
Application and 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: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
This programme is expected to appeal to non-Asian students wishing to extend their expertise on one or more regions and periods but also to Asian students who want to understand British perspectives on the region. Ideally students will have a background in archaeology or museum studies, but history, anthropology or cultural/human geography is also suitable.
- All applicants
- 30 July 2021
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of Archaeology and Heritage of Asia
- why you want to study Archaeology and Heritage of Asia at graduate level
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree and how this programme meets these needs
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.
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