Managing Archaeological Sites MA

London, Bloomsbury

The Managing Archaeological Sites MA takes a broad view of archaeological and heritage sites, analysing them internationally and in their modern-day context, with considerations of challenges and opportunities of the 21st century at the forefront. It explores how tangible heritage sites and landscapes, including World Heritage Sites, are identified, valued, interpreted and utilised for different purposes, and discusses how those could be managed better.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024

Applications closed

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

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.

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

The Managing Archaeological Sites MA is about the theoretical underpinnings of, and practical approaches to, the management of tangible heritage sites in the modern-day world. By looking at the evolution of the thought in preservation and use of archaeology and heritage – especially through the standard-setting international texts, and by considering pressures on agencies tasked with safeguarding archaeology and tangible heritage – at international and national levels, it provides unique and in-depth perspectives on contemporary management strategies for heritage. With ideals of sustainability, ethics and local community rights at the forefront, and with considerations of global challenges, local governance structures, and realities of rural and urban settings firmly embedded, the degree offers balanced perspectives into the values and significance of tangible heritage for diverse groups of stakeholders. It examines why certain archaeological sites, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are selected for preservation, and how power relationships and different perceptions of contemporary values impact upon this. It explores approaches to how sites can be successfully managed, conserved and presented to preserve their significance.

Who this course is for

Willingness to participate in seminar discussions and thematic debates is enormously important for this course. Ability to be part of the site visits, and to reflect on their experiences and observations from different heritage sites is equally valuable.

The programme has an international perspective and will appeal to students from a range of academic backgrounds (e.g. archaeology, heritage, conservation, planning, architecture, museum studies, tourism, culture-creative). In balancing theory and practice, it will suit those wishing to continue to academic research and those seeking employment in heritage administration or international organisations.

What this course will give you

In broad terms, the degree programme discusses the strategies for better management of heritage in the modern world for the benefit of all stakeholders. In doing so it takes a truly multidisciplinary perspective and does not limit itself to geographical boundaries, using contemporary case studies from across the world.
Students will learn practical approaches to a range of challenges in archaeological, tangible heritage management, including participatory processes, physical conservation, digital documentation, visitor management, site interpretation, World Heritage nomination, and heritage tourism. Students will understand the theoretical issues surrounding heritage management, and how to apply a planning process to holistic and sustainable site management, based on the recognition of a site's values to interest groups. They will also master a technical vocabulary to communicate with site management specialists.

Teaching of the theory and practice of archaeological heritage management is undertaken within the context of the UCL Institute of Archaeology's international outlook and membership, with student and staff involvement in field research projects around the globe. Additionally, the seminars benefit from the participation of heritage practitioners who bring experiences from different parts of the world and who are specifically selected to discuss practical challenges under themes of the programme. This provides a unique range of the most up-to-date perspectives and circumstances, reflected in critical discourse. Heritage management is rooted in contemporary society and its issues, and the graduates of the programme are involved in the political and social ramifications of how archaeological sites are used and perceived in the present. Social, economic and development strategies mean that the preservation and management of archaeological heritage have to be set within wider concerns for human dignity, equality, justice and long-term sustainability. This degree equips students to engage in this discourse.

The foundation of your career

Recent graduates of this programme have gone on to work in heritage management and policy development for international organisations and different national heritage agencies. They have also worked in specific heritage sites, museums, development control, heritage consultancies, engineering companies, site interpretation and education. Many students have also gone on to further research in academic institutions around the world or here at UCL. In general, the programme of study serves as an expansion of undergraduate studies or as a foundation for PhD research and professional work.


Equipped with theoretical understanding and practical skills necessary for modern-day archaeological and tangible heritage management, graduates will have attributes that will make them eligible for a wide range of employment opportunities in the heritage sector, culture and creative industries, government bodies and international agencies.


There is a broad network of MA Managing Archaeological Sites graduates working across the heritage sector (including museums, academia, and national heritage organisations around the world), some of whom return as guest lectures on core modules.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical demonstrations and site visits.

Assessment is through essays, statements, project reports, projects and practicals (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, 20% in tutorials or practicals, up to 10% in advisory or supplemental engagement sessions, and about 45% working on independent study and research


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

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of one mandatory core course – Managing Archaeological Sites ARCL0108. The module runs over two terms and has a value of 30 credits. Students are asked to choose further optional modules (to the equivalent of 60 credits) and undertake a research-based dissertation (90 credits).

Teaching takes place during terms one and two. Those who undertake part-time study will discuss their pathway through the degree with the degree co-ordinator. Typically, students will take the compulsory core modules in the first year and select their optional modules in order to spread these out to year two. The dissertation is discussed in year 1 and completed at the end of year 2. We endeavour to be flexible to the needs of part-time students in designing their pathway through the degree over two years.

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 are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Managing Archaeological Sites.


Students will have the option to undertake a voluntary placement in an appropriate organisation or on-site project during the degree. The course co-ordinator and tutors will support students with their applications and progress. The placements are not mandatory and will be conditioned on student interests matching with the interests of host organisations. In recent years, students have completed a wide variety of placements, and volunteering and internship exercises, with organisations of heritage management, as well as with galleries and museums in the UK and overseas.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100 £7,550
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

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:

Additional costs

Transport for field trips outside of London will be arranged by the department. Students will need to make their own way to field trips within London.

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: The UCL Institute of Archaeology has one studentship of £10,000 available to support a graduate student who is an ordinarily resident in the UK or Ireland and eligible to pay home fee rate. The deadline for applications is 1st March 2024. For further information and to download an application see here: here

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

Aziz Foundation Scholarships in Social and Historical Sciences

Value: Full tuition fees (equivalent to 1yr full-time) (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

Institute of Archaeology International Masters Student Award

Deadline: 1 March 2024
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 Managing Archaeological Sites at graduate level
  • what do you consider to be the major challenges in this field today
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
  • why you want to study Managing Archaeological Sites at UCL
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment at UCL

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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