Public Archaeology MA
The Public Archaeology MA at UCL is a unique programme in a rapidly growing sector. It provides students with an understanding of the different means of communicating archaeology to the public, and of the real-world political, educational, social, economic and moral/ethical dimensions of public archaeology from a global perspective.
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
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. 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. 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 are introduced to the range of areas in which archaeology has relevance to the wider world, and develop an understanding of how archaeology is communicated, used (and misused) in the public arena. The flexible programme structure allows students to design a theoretically based or practically based degree, depending on each individual's interests and needs.
Who this course is for
The programme is suitable both for people interested in academic study of the relationship between archaeology and the wider world and for people wishing to pursue a career in public archaeology, museums and the wider heritage industry. It is particularly suitable for graduates with a first degree in archaeology, anthropology, history or classics.
What this course will give you
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is one of the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK and provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate study.
Its outstanding archaeological library is complemented by UCL's main library, University of London Senate House and other specialist libraries.
UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library. Students benefit from London's many museums, galleries and other archaeological spaces, but in particular have easy access to UCL's own museums and collections, which form a resource of international importance for academic research.
The foundation of your career
Graduates of the Public Archaeology MA have a distinct set of skills and knowledge that equips them for work across the archaeology, heritage and museum sector. This includes an in-depth understanding of the structure of the sector and its socio-economic, political and cultural contexts, but also a very practical appreciation of public understanding and engagement with the past. These strengths are reflected in the diversity of career paths amongst graduates of the Public Archaeology MA programme, in archaeology, museums, the heritage industry and academia.
Some graduates of the programme go on to PhD studies while others pursue careers in professional organisations associated with the archaeology, museum, cultural and heritage sectors. Students benefit from the practical real-world insights and contacts within these sectors that the programme offers. Career paths in these sectors include the growing fields of education and interpretation in museums and heritage sites; policy and research jobs in organisations such as the Sustainable Preservation Initiative, Historic England and Arts Council England; and the growing interest in public archaeology within commercial archaeological organisations worldwide.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars discussions, practical demonstrations, and (where possible) field trips to museums and archaeological sites and monuments around the UK. It features guest lecturers with first-hand experience in the archaeology, museum, cultural and heritage sectors.
Assessment is through essays, project reports and the dissertation.
In the core course modules, there are approximately 100 hours of lectures, seminars and other classroom-based activities. Students are expected to spend roughly double that time in preparing for lectures, primarily focused on assigned readings. The contact hours in option courses will vary, as will the time for assignments and projects, depending on the nature of the module.
Teaching is carried out in the first two terms. You will undertake modules to the value of 90 credits. This includes compulsory modules Public Archaeology (ARCL0091) and Presenting the Past to the Public (ARCL0215). 45 credits of optional modules are chosen in consultation with the programme leader. In the second term, you also identify a dissertation topic and supervisor and in the third term, you begin work on your dissertation, which continues over the summer. Research skills sessions provide support for this and you will be required to deliver an oral presentation of your dissertation plans to staff and your colleagues to obtain feedback.
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 one and completed at the end of year two. We endeavour to be flexible to the needs of part-time students in designing their pathway through the degree over two years.
You will undertake modules to the value of 90 credits. This includes compulsory modules Public Archaeology (ARCL0091) and Presenting the Past to the Public (ARCL0215). 45 credits of optional modules are chosen in consultation with the programme leader.
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 Public Archaeology.
There is no compulsory fieldwork element of the programme, but we aim to offer (non-compulsory) field trips to museums and heritage sites.
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.
Fees and funding
Fees for this course
|Tuition fees (2023/24)||£14,100||£7,050|
|Tuition fees (2023/24)||£29,000||£14,500|
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.
The field trips for this course are optional. The majority of costs for field trips are covered by the department including travel, accommodation, and entry to sites and museums. The only additional costs to students are meals during the trips.
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
Heritage and Museums Diversity Scholarship. The UCL Institute of Archaeology is funding a heritage diversity scholarship for a candidate from black and minority ethnic backgrounds as these groups are currently under-represented within the heritage sector. The scholarship covers course fees only for a Home student.
For further details and an application form please see 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 SciencesValue: Full tuition fees (1yr)Criteria Based on financial needEligibility: UK
Heritage and Museums Opportunity ScholarshipDeadline: 1 March 2023Value: Full UK Home Fees (1yr)Criteria Based on academic meritEligibility: UK
Institute of Archaeology International Masters Student AwardDeadline: 1 March 2023Value: Up to £26,000 (1yr)Criteria Based on academic meritEligibility: EU, Overseas
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 Public Archaeology at graduate level
- why you want to study Public 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 may wish to consider our Graduate Diploma in the first instance.
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.
Got questions? Get in touch
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.