MA/MSc in Archaeological Research

Course director:  Higher Degrees Officer (Steve Roskams)


The MA/MSc in Archaeological Research degree programmes are designed for students who wish to prepare themselves for research in any aspect of archaeology within the Department's areas of interest.

The programmes can act as a preliminary training year if you intend to proceed to doctoral studies, and will appeal especially if your chosen field requires specific or concentrated teaching unavailable through other taught Master courses.

The degree is also suitable if you can spend only one year in postgraduate research, for example you are already employed within the profession and wish to enhance your academic qualifications in a specific area.


The programmes are under the overall direction of a Director of Studies:

You will be allocated a main supervisor, drawn appropriately from the academic staff of the Department. You will also have a thesis advisory panel, consisting of the Director of Studies, your main supervisor and one other member of staff. They will guide your choice of options, language (where relevant) and research topics.

For information on our staff, research activities and interests, including a statement of research policy, and a list of some suggested research topics see the departmental staff profiles and the research pages.


There is a wide range of facilities for students undertaking an Archaeology Masters programme. These include:

    • Dedicated IT suite with a full range of software including generic and specialist archaeological packages and computing support from two highly experienced experimental officers
    • A comprehensive range of state-of-the-art geophysical and topographic survey equipment which postgraduates can normally use for their project work (and can gain experience with via the skills modules we offer)
    • A wide range of lab facilities for archaeological analysis including environmental and artefact processing as well as the bioarchaeological facilities on campus
    • A well stocked library with access to electronic resources, and study areas both in the Kings Manor library and the library on campus
    • The Kings Manor includes a common room and refectory open to all staff and students, and WiFi is available across the Kings Manor


Over the autumn and spring terms you will take:

  • four core 20 credit modules from the list below

In the summer you will carry out research for your dissertation and give an Assessed Lecture on your dissertation topic.

MA in Archaeological Research

Students studying for the MA should also choose:

  • two research skills modules (5 credits each) (one in each of both autumn and spring terms for 4 weeks each, or both in the same term if necessary)
  • a Language module (10 credits): EITHER a modern language taught by the Language Teaching Centre, Language for All programme, weekly throughout the Autumn, Spring and first half of the Summer Term (levels 1-5 are available in a range of modern languages, including, for example, French, German, Italian) OR Medieval Latin, or Old English, or Old Norse, taught by the Centre for Medieval Studies weekly throughout the Autumn and Spring Terms.

MSc in Archaeological Research

Students studying for the MSc should also choose:

  • four research skills modules (5 credits each) (two in each of both autumn and spring terms for 4 weeks each).

Core modules

Research skills modules

  • MA students: choose two from the following two lists of modules (one in each of both the autumn and spring terms for 4 weeks each, or both in the same term if necessary)
  • MSc students: choose four from the following two lists of modules (two in each of both the autumn and spring terms for 4 weeks each)

We will try to give you your first choice of modules, but we can't guarantee it: some modules are compulsory for certain Masters programmes and they may be over-subscribed.


You will need:

  • A good honours degree (upper second or first) or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution in archaeology or a related field
  • Candidates are expected to provide an outline of their proposed research topic

Apply now

First, check our How to apply page, which explains what information the Department needs from you.


When you complete the course, you will:
  • have advanced their level of competence in the aims and methods of archaeology and/or (for the MSc in Archaeological Research) of archaeological science
  • acquired the foundations of knowledge necessary to pursue research in their chosen field
  • developed an understanding of: the affect of differing theoretical approaches in archaeology on their research project; (for the MSc in Archaeological Research) how hypothesis-based scientific approaches can be applied in archaeology; research design and process
  • have developed their skills in planning, designing, undertaking and documenting a piece of independent research
  • have developed their competence in practical and/or linguistic skills appropriate to their chosen field
  • have acquired appropriate skills in advanced academic communication, including both writing and bibliographic referencing, and professional oral presentation
Sampling in the lab

During my project, I studied burials from Herculaneum and gained experience of stable isotope and amino acid analysis as well as protein mass spectrometry

Rose Monachino