Train in the systematic research, recording, analysis and interpretation of historic buildings.
Through a combination of academic studies, practical training and research projects, you will learn the specialised skills required for the historical research, visual analysis and archaeological recording and interpretation of buildings. You'll gain a foundational knowledge of the history of architecture in the UK, from c.1000 to the present day. The course will allow you to explore current intellectual and professional research priorities in the archaeology of buildings and introduce you to conservation legislation, policy and practice. You'll leave with excellent research and communication skills relating to the research, analysis and interpretation of historic buildings.
The course brings together experts in buildings survey and recording, archive research, legislation and policy, conservation, theoretical interpretation and computer modelling to deliver a dynamic course, which will equip you with the specialist skills and knowledge required for a career in researching, managing, interpreting and conserving historic buildings. Specifically, you will gain valuable experience in archive research, photogrammetry and other 3D recording methods, CAD drawing, and computer modelling of historic buildings.
For me, my MA year was one of the most memorable. Not only did I develop a range of skills that have enabled me to confidently pursue a career in archaeology, but I also made friends for life. I now have an amazing job with English Heritage and I still regularly work with my fellow students.”Charlotte, MA Archaeology of Buildings (now Historic Buildings)
York is the UK's archaeological capital. You'll study in King's Manor, a beautiful Medieval building in the centre of the historic city.
Informality is one of our distinctive qualities - the atmosphere in our department is friendly, supportive and enthusiastic. We want you to develop your potential and thrive at York.
In the Times Higher Education's ranking of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework results, the Department was in the top five for research impact.
You will study 180 credits over the duration of your course. These will be made up of two core modules, two option modules and four shorter 'skills' modules. You will then hone your research skills by producing a dissertation and presenting an assessed lecture on your dissertation topic.
You will study two further 20-credit modules and four 5-credit 'skills' modules from our full range of options. Examples include:
Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.
You will carry out a piece of original independent research, using appropriate disciplinary skills in an imaginative way. You'll be assessed with a 15-20,000 word dissertation and assessed lecture (80 credits) on your research.
During this process you will have regular meetings with their supervisor who will offer support, guidance and encouragement throughout.
Optional work placements provide a valuable opportunity to gain practical experience of working in the professional buildings sector. Your placement will draw on and contribute to the knowledge and experience you have gained, while enabling you to develop new insights, understanding and expertise in buildings archaeology. You'll gain experience of buildings archaeology in a professional working environment and consolidate your knowledge and understanding of procedures and issues gained through the taught modules. Placements usually take place in term time, or over the Easter or Summer periods. We assist you in finding the right placement, however you will be responsible for meeting any costs associated with the placement such as travel to and from a different location.
Upon successfully completing these placements you will have:
Although the organisations offering placements change from year to year, the following list is a good indication of the choices likely to be available:
Take a look at Buildings Archaeology students putting their experience into practice on a landmark survey and conservation project at York Minster (YouTube video).
Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.
|Study mode||UK (home)||International and EU|
|Full-time (1 year)||£8,440||£18,700|
|Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
|Part-time (3 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa) are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.
For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase (no more than 2% each year).
UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status
Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.
We don't anticipate there being any additional fees associated with this course. All books and resources you need will be available in the library or online and it isn't mandatory that you buy your own copies. You may wish to set aside a small budget for photocopying, depending on how you like to work.
If you decide to take up an optional placement, you'll have to fund the travel costs to placement yourself.
Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2021/22 throughout the year.
If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.
We have a variety of funding options available within the department.
You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.
The quality of teaching I experienced and the opportunity to develop while at York allowed me to pursue my own ideas. Having contact with external speakers also provided an excellent balance between the academic and practical, so that I could develop skills that were relevant to the professional workplace, such as building survey and practical conservation.Alexander, MA Archaeology of Buildings (now Historic Buildings)
You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.
We've made some changes to the way our courses are delivered to minimise potential disruption from the ongoing global pandemic.
You will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, with an emphasis on student led-discussion and presentations. The skills modules are hands-on, practical classes, lasting four hours each. These are taught in small groups of 12, so there is plenty of one-on-one guidance with staff.
You'll have full access to the main campus library and other University resources, including the Borthwick Institute for Archives.
The Department of Archaeology is based in King's Manor, in York city centre. The majority of your teaching will take place there within the Department, with additional teaching on Campus West.
Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.
You will be assessed by a variety of methods. Depending on which modules you opt to take, these could include:
You will gain practical skills and research training that provide excellent preparation for a range of careers. Graduates from the course are now well-established across the heritage sector, in leading architectural practices, archaeological units, heritage organisations and charities, both nationally and internationally. You'll also develop transferable skills that are applicable to a multitude of careers beyond archaeology and heritage.
Find out what our alumni say about the course.
Previous graduates have gone into roles in a variety of organisations such as:
A few days after handing in my MA dissertation I had a field test and interview for my role as an investigator in English Heritage’s assessment team. My work involves using a wide variety of documentary and cartographic evidence alongside fabric analysis, and my ability to identify, critique and summarise sources rather than passively accept them has been invaluable.Katie, MA Archaeology of Buildings (now Historic Buildings)
|Undergraduate degree||2:1 or equivalent in Archaeology, History of Art, Architectural History or a related field. We also consider applicants who have a 2:2 degree and relevant work experience.|
|Other qualifications and experience||The course is suitable for students and mid-career professionals seeking to develop or enhance an academic or professional specialism in buildings archaeology. To find out if your professional experience or qualifications are appropriate, please contact the Course Director.|
|Other international qualifications||Equivalent qualifications from your country|
You will need to submit examples of written work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting written work.
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS||6.5, minimum 6.5 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, minimum 176 in Writing and 169 in all other components|
|Duolingo||110, minimum 110 in production and 100 in all other components|
|PTE Academic||61, minimum 61 in Writing and 55 in all other components|
|TOEFL||87, minimum 23 in Writing and 21 in all other components|
|Trinity ISE III||Merit in all components|
For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.
You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.
The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.
After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.
Get in touch if you have any questions
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