This MSc provides participants with a theoretical understanding of research questions and methodologies in the study of past human-environment interactions, including subsistence and subsistence change. The Institute of Archaeology has a long research and training tradition in environmental archaeology, and has well-established laboratory facilities and reference collections as a result.
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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
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.
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
Students gain practical experience in laboratory analysis of at least one of either: identification of animal bones, identification of plant macro-remains, micromorphological and sedimentological analyses. They develop an understanding of formation processes and their implications for developing sampling strategies, and are trained to collect and analyse data and report scientific results.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Environmental Archaeology.
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 are required to take the following:
- Environmental Archaeology in Practice
- Resources and Subsistence
Students choose further optional modules up to the value of 60 credits, which must include one of the following three options with a practical component:
The Institute of Archaeology offers a wide selection of modules for MA/MSc students. In addition to the above three, the following modules are frequently chosen by MSc Environmental Archaeology students (detailed descriptions can be found here):
- Aegean Prehistory: Major Themes and Current Debates
- Archaeological Ceramics Analysis
- Archaeologies of Asia
- Archaeology of Early Human Origins
- Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers from Emergence of Modern Humans
- Archaeology of the Silk Roads
- British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age
- Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas I: First Peoples to Emerging Complexity
- Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas II: Empires, States and Settlement
- Geographic Information Systems Approaches to Past Landscapes
- Neolithic and early Bronze Age of the Near East: The emergence of villages and urban societies
- Remote Sensing
- The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Near East: The emergence of villages and urban societies
- Themes and debates in Egyptian Archaeology
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, normally based on practical laboratory-based research, which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words (90 credits). Students need to select their dissertation topic by the beginning of Term II (January).
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, presentations, laboratory sessions, practicals, and site and museum visits. Assessment is through the dissertation, and a combination of essays, coursework, presentations, practical examination and laboratory reports, depending on the options selected.
The fees cover the use of the UCL Institute of Archaeology laboratories for scheduled practical sessions and MSc dissertation research. Other expenses related to the provision of additional specialist materials, laboratory analyses undertaken outside of the Institute of Archaeology, or fieldwork are not covered. All MA/MSc students at the Institute have the possibility of taking part in the Institute of Archaeology's summer term field training course, held at a site in southern England (usually involves extra costs of approximately £250-350 to cover food and travel).
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
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.
Some graduates of the programme go on to PhD studies but others will be well-placed to pursue a wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology, including employment as environmental specialists for contract archaeology units.
A succesfully completed dissertation for the MSc in Environmental Archaeology course, coupled with graduates' assessed participation in specifically-designed Environmental Archaeology core modules, provides a demonstration of graduates' ability to undertake hands-on research in a given specialism (zooarchaeology; archaeobotany; geoarchaeology) and equips themw with significant background training to engage environmental archaeological aspects within developer-funded archaeology.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK, and provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate study.
The institute boasts a wide range of laboratory facilities relevant to this degree including dedicated laboratories for zooarchaeology (with a comparative collection of Near Eastern and European faunal remains), archaeobotany (with extensive comparative collections for seeds, wood, tubers, phytoliths and pollen, as well as the ability to process phytoliths); geoarchaeology (including optical and scanning electron microscopy and a dedicated soils/sediments lab)
UCL is located in the heart of London, close to the resources of the British Museum, the British Library and the Natural History Museum.
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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
The programme is particularly suitable for students with a first degree in archaeology (or - subject to consultation - a subject relevant to environmental archaeology, such as biology, anthropology, geography, and earth sciences) who wish to develop skills and training in research methods relevant to environmental archaeology, and to gain practical training in laboratory practice in the areas of archaeozoology, geoarchaeology or archaeobotany.
- All applicants
- 31 May 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:
- why you want to study Environmental Archaeology at graduate level
- why you want to study Environmental 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
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.
Applicants need a general archaeological background to be eligible for direct entry onto this degree. Applicants without this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis or may wish to consider our Graduate Diploma in the first instance.
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