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Battersea Shield. Credit: Jorge Royan (CC BY-SA 3.0)

MA Iron Age and Celtic Archaeology

Uncover the reality behind the ancient Celts

Year of entry: 2023 (September)

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time,
3 years part-time

Start date

September 2023 (semester dates)

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Discover more about the ancient Celts and their encounters with the Greek and Roman world.

The European Iron Age is a dynamic focus of contemporary archaeological research. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach, studying archaeological evidence alongside classical literary sources, and examines the impact of new scientific analysis.

You'll discuss the nature of Celtic identity and the broader meaning of ethnicity in past societies. Scientific developments, for example in ancient DNA research, will inform our ideas and spark new debates.

You can tailor the course with options covering a huge range of topics, including landscape, society, animals, conservation, and scientific techniques such as isotope and ancient DNA analysis. The skills you develop in laboratory and fieldwork will be useful for careers or further research in archaeology and heritage.

This is the only UK masters specialising in European Iron Age archaeology. The University of York is establishing itself as a major centre for research on the period, and the Department of Archaeology is home to staff with specialist expertise in the field.

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Beautiful surroundings

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.

Feel at home

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.

Course content

Your modules will focus on the Iron Age peoples of Europe and the British Isles between 800BC and AD400, examining and interpreting evidence which gives insights into the nature of ancient Celtic identity, culture and beliefs.

You'll also be able to focus on your particular interests and develop a range of specialist skills, from geographic information systems to experimental archaeology.

The course culminates in a dissertation, which gives you the chance to investigate a relevant topic of your choice.

Modules

Core modules

Option modules

You'll also study three option modules. Examples from previous years have included:

  • Debates in Funerary Archaeology
  • Artefacts and Materials Analysis
  • The Archaeology of the Human Skeleton
  • Thinking through Material Culture

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

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.

Dissertation

The dissertation is a chance to undertake a substantial piece of independent research on a subject of your choice. You'll apply the research and study skills you've learned, closely guided by one or more of our academic staff with relevant expertise.

The York approach

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.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an applied, systematic, in-depth understanding of essential disciplinary knowledge of the field of Iron Age and Celtic archaeology, and awareness of its breadth and its relevant academic, professional and socio-economic contexts.
  • Engage critically with current debates and advanced scholarship in local and international research and field practice in order to evaluate archaeological work on the Iron Age.
  • Inform decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations by assessing and applying advanced, professional-level theories and methodologies relating to Iron Age archaeology to diverse problems or forms of data.
  • Confidently synthesise research findings and key scholarly debates, and communicate (through a variety of forms and media) to peers, public or professional audiences in such a way that demonstrates an ability to consider and adapt to their respective needs.
  • Demonstrate originality in rigorous and imaginative independent inquiry, using advanced research skills.
  • In conjunction with archaeological data, critically assess the scholarship and evidence generated by other related disciplines - including anthropology, ancient history and art history - in order to shed light on themes and questions in Iron Age archaeology.
  • Apply theoretical interpretations and critical skills to the analysis of artefacts, landscapes and buildings in order to develop better understandings of the Iron Age.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £9,990£22,250
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£4,995£11,125
Part-time (3 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£3,330£7,417

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.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

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.

Additional costs

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.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Departmental funding

Living costs

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.

Teaching and assessment

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.

Teaching format

For core modules, you'll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and discussion groups, based on particular readings. There are opportunities for fieldwork and lab-based practicals, depending on the modules you choose.

Teaching location

The Department of Archaeology is based in King's Manor, in York city centre. The majority of your teaching will take place there.

About our campus

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.

Assessment and feedback

You will be assessed by a variety of methods. Depending on which modules you take, these could include:

  • Essays
  • Oral presentations
  • Film-making, blogging or posters
  • Report writing
  • Dissertation

Careers and skills

Many of the Department's graduates secure funding for PhD research projects and go on to pursue careers in academia. The course will also equip you for a range of careers from commercial archaeology to heritage and museum work. You will gain a broad range of transferable skills, applicable to areas beyond the archaeology and heritage sectors.

Career opportunities

  • Academic researcher
  • Archaeologist
  • Heritage manager
  • Museum/gallery curator
  • Tourism officer
  • Social researcher

Transferable skills

  • Critical thinking and evaluation
  • Analysis
  • Decision-making
  • Communication and presentation
  • Independent research

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
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 120, minimum 120 in production and 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
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.

If you've not met our 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.

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Helen Chan, Student Services Administrator
Professor Ian Armit, Course Director

Learn more

Department of Archaeology

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