This MA offers a tailor-made programme of study designed as a preparation for an MPhil or PhD research project. Students develop a detailed understanding of archaeological data and its interpretation to serve as a basis for independent research, and the ability to develop original research questions and explore them effectively.
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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2020/21)
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.
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.
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
This MA offers a wide-ranging and challenging introduction to theoretical issues involved in modern archaeology as a comparative, anthropologically-informed, and socially-situated discipline. Students develop critically aware perspectives on archaeological practice and research processes, and gain an in-depth understanding of approaches to the collection, analysis and interpretation of archaeological data.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
There are two core modules (30 credits), a research proposal (60 credits) and research writing (90 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Research Methods for 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 and a Graduate School Skills Development module (optional)
- Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
- Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Current Issues
Students are asked to prepare a fully documented research proposal for a planned MPhil or PhD, together with a literature survey and a bibliography. A seminar presentation on the proposal must be given.
Students also produce a piece of research writing of c. 15,000 words, which is preliminary to the intended PhD or MPhil degree.
Students prepare a fully documented research proposal of 12,000 words, and complete a piece of research writing of approximately 15,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The core programme is taught within a seminar framework based on set readings. A tailor-made programme of other work is designed in consultation with the student's research supervisor. Student performance is assessed on the basis of the core module assessments, a research proposal and a piece of research writing (dissertation).
The two theory core courses each involve two contact hours per week during the teaching weeks. Skills courses will also involve a number of contact hours, depending on what is chosen. Students will also have regular meetings with their supervisor. However, the vast majority of the time on this degree will be spent in self-study, following a programme agreed with the supervisor.
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.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Most graduates of the programme go on to MPhil or PhD studies. Others pursue a wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology.
This programme is designed specifically to develop research skills to enable students to design and carry through an independent archaeological research project. In addition to general research skills, more specific experience and skills identified as essential for the proposed research will be developed through optional modules and training. In addition, students acquire a detailed understanding of recent theoretical debates and the critical skills to evaluate existing arguments and interpretations and to develop their own.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and one of the most highly regarded centres for archaeology, archaeological science, cultural heritage and museum studies in Britain, as evidenced by its top three position (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019) and recent National Student Survey results. It is one of the very few departments of archaeology in the world actively pursuing research on a truly global scale. Its degree programmes offer an unrivalled variety of modules on a diverse range of topics. The institute hosts events on many different aspects of archaeology and is linked to heritage organisations, museums and archaeological societies, providing an outstanding research environment for staff, students and visitors. It is truly international in outlook and membership, with students and staff from over 40 countries, and involvement in field research projects around the world.
The institute's 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. UCL's own museums and collections form a resource of international importance for academic research.
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.
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 aimed at students who have chosen a research topic, but need to acquire research skills before embarking on a higher degree. Students without a clearly defined research project in mind would normally find one of the other Master's programmes at the Institute of Archaeology more suitable.
- 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 Research Methods for Archaeology at graduate level
- why you want to study Research Methods for 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
- your proposed area of research
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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.