Computational Archaeology: GIS, Data Science and Complexity MSc

London, Bloomsbury

Top archaeological researchers and heritage professionals use a raft of computational methods including GIS, data mining, web science, ABM, point-process modelling and network analysis. To impress employers you need the flexibility to learn on the job, leverage open data and program open source software. This MSc draws on UCL's unparalleled concentration of expertise to equip you for future research or significantly enhance your employability.

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

Students learn about a wide range of concepts that underpin computational approaches to archaeology and human history. Students become proficient in the archaeological application of both commercial and open source GIS software and learn other practical skills such as programming, data-mining, advanced spatial analysis with R, and agent-based simulation.

Who this course is for

The programme is particularly suitable for graduates with a first degree in archaeology or a related subject who are planning a PhD involving the analysis of spatial data, or who wish to benefit from the growing use of GIS in professional archaeology to build a career in this field.

What this course will give you

The teaching staff bring together a range and depth of expertise that enables students to develop specialisms including industry-standard and open-source GIS, advanced spatial and temporal statistics, computer simulation, geophysical prospection techniques and digital topographic survey.

Most practical classes are held in the institute's Archaeological Computing and GIS laboratory. This laboratory contains Linux servers, ten powerful workstations running Microsoft Windows 10, a digitising table and map scanner.

Students benefit from the collaborations we have established with other institutions and GIS specialists in Canada, Germany, Italy and Greece together with several commercial archaeological units in the UK.

The foundation of your career

This degree offers a considerable range of transferable practical skills as well as instilling a more general inferential rigour which is attractive to almost any potential employer. Graduates will be comfortable with a wide range of web-based, database-led, statistical and cartographic tasks. They will be able to operate both commercial and oper source software, will be able to think clearly about both scientific and humanities-led issues, and will have a demonstrable track record of both individual research and group-based collaboration.

Employability

Approximately one third of graduates of the programme have gone on to do PhDs at universities such as Cambridge, Leiden, McGill, Pretoria, Thessaloniki and Washington State. Of these, some continue to pursue GIS and/or spatial analysis techniques as a core research interest, while others use the skills and inferential rigour they acquired during their Master's as a platform for more wide-ranging doctoral research. Several graduates who went on to doctoral research are now lecturers in Archaeology: at the University of Cambridge, Queen's University Belfast, the University of Colorado, the University of Botswana and Great Zimbabwe University. Other graduates have gone to work in a range of archaeological and non-archaeological organisations worldwide. These include specialist careers in national governmental or heritage organisations, commercial archaeological units, planning departments, utility companies, the defence industry and consultancies.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Careful provision is made to facilitate remote access to software, tutorials, datasets and readings through a combination of dedicated websites and virtual learning environments. Assessment is through essays, practical components, project reports and portfolio, and the research dissertation.

The most commonly chosen taught modules for this programme involve a mix of theoretical and practical learning.  As an example, the module GIS for Past Landscapes is taught through 10 hours of seminars/lectures and 15-20 hours of supervised practicals.  In addition, you would be expected to undertake around 40 hours of reading for the module, plus 85 hours producing the assessed work, a signifcant proportion of which would involve practical tasks.  The dissertation involves a very substantial amount of independent study backed up by meetings with your dissertation supervisor as required.

Modules

Full-time

You participate in classes for taught modules 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 Computational Archaeology: GIS, Data Science and Complexity.

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

Students who choose to take the optional module Remote Sensing in Archaeology may have the opportunity to participate in a few days fieldwork at a location within daily commuting distance of London.  In previous years students have incurred the cost of several return railfares from London to St. Albans.

Although the programme can be completed using UCL computing resources, some students like to purchase a reasonably capable laptop to give them maximum flexibilty in their working location and hours.

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 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 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.

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 GIS and Spatial Analysis in Archaeology at graduate level
  • why you want to study GIS and Spatial Analysis in Archaeology at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
  • whether you have experience of using GIS or related technologies and, if so, what knowledge and skills you have already acquired
  • whether you are primarily interested in using GIS and related technologies for modelling and spatial analysis, or for visualisation

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.

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