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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.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Notification
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£11,830 (FT)
£5,885 (PT)
Overseas:
£24,250 (FT)
£12,120 (PT)


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.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

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 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.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of a core module (30 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Public 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.

Compulsory module

Students are required to take the following module: 

  • Public Archaeology

Optional modules

You are then able to choose further optional modules to the value of 60 credits. At least one of these must be taken from the list below of modules recommended for this degree programme. The other 30 credits may also come from this list or can be chosen from amongst an outstanding range of other Master's programmes offered at the UCL Institute of Archaeology.

  • African Heritage
  • Antiquities and the Law
  • Archaeology and Education
  • Archaeologies of Modern Conflict
  • Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas I: First Peoples to Emerging Complexity
  • Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas II: Empires, states and settlement
  • Cultural Memory
  • Digital Heritage: Applications in Heritage Management
  • Heritage Ethics & Archaeological Practice in the Middle East and Mediterranean
  • Heritage, globalisation and development
  • Managing Archaeological Sites
  • Managing Museums
  • Museum and Site Interpretation
  • Sources and Social Research Methods for Heritage and Archaeology
  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Current Issues

Detailed descriptions of the core courses and modules  can be found here. Please note not all modules  are available every year. 

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words (90 credits).

Examples of past projects include: 

  • public archaeology in a transition country such as the Republic of Moldova
  • how the past is used to create history in post-colonial nation such as Belize
  • archaeology, identity and consumerism in Tintagel, Cornwall 
  • the generation and consumption of WWII heritage in twenty-first century Britain

Fieldwork

There is no compulsory fieldwork element of the programme, but non-compulsory field trips are offered in terms 1 and 2.


Covid-19 field trip updates
Due to COVID-19 updates, there may need to be changes to planned field trips for this programme. This will depend on travel restrictions, social distancing measures, and the availability of the relevant venues. Your department will keep you updated if field trips are able to occur and/or any alternative options available.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars discussions, practical demonstrations, and field trips to museums and archaeological sites and monuments around the UK. It features a series of distinguished guest lecturers with extensive first-hand experience in the archaeology, museum, cultural and heritage sectors. Assessment is through essays, project reports and the dissertation.

In the core course module there are approximately 80 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. 

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 practical component updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be changes to the availability of the practical components for your chosen programme. Any updates relate only to the 20/21 academic year and may not apply to all students across the programme depending on your year of study.  Your department will keep you updated if the practical component of your programme is able to occur and/or any alternative options available.   There may need to be additional updates or changes to the practical component during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and/or Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available. 
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Accessibility

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

Funding

UCL Institute of Archaeology (IoA) Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2020/21. 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 2020.

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 UK/EU 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.

Careers

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, English Heritage and Arts Council England; and the growing interest in public archaeology within commercial archaeological organisations worldwide.

Employability

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.

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.

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.

Department: Institute of Archaeology

Application and next steps

Applications

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 £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
11 August 2020

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 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. 

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 13 August 2020