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MA Medieval Archaeology

Explore the past from the European heartland of medieval archaeology

Year of entry: 2020

Length

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

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

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The historic buildings, landscapes and material culture of York and northern England offer unrivalled opportunities to immerse yourself in the hands-on study of medieval archaeology.

One of the first universities in the country to specialise in medieval archaeology, the Department of Archaeology at York is well established as a leading authority on the subject. The specialisms of our staff cover the whole medieval period.

The course focuses on the archaeology of medieval Britain and Western Europe, considering buildings, landscapes and artefacts within a range of social, cultural and environmental contexts. It covers the period from the end of the Roman Empire to the Reformation, and explores themes such as settlement, trade and economy, religion, social structure, ethnicity and identity, conquest and cultural contact, and methodological and theoretical approaches.

The flexible modular structure of the course means you can tailor your MA to suit your interests and goals. There is an opportunity to learn valuable practical skills, which are essential for a wide range of archaeological and associated careers.

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.

Royal recognition

We were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011 in recognition of our dynamic research community and teaching excellence.

Course content

You'll study a total of 180 credits over the course. You will study two core modules (worth a total of 40 credits) and six option modules, four of which will be shorter skills modules (worth a total of 20 credits, plus longer option modules worth a total of 40 credits). You will hone your research skills by producing a dissertation and presenting an assessed lecture on your chosen topic (80 credits).

Modules

Core modules

Option modules

You will study two further 20-credit modules and four 5-credit 'skills' modules from our full range of options. Examples include:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Dissertation

You'll also write a dissertation (80 credits) of 15-20,000 words and present an assessed lecture on your research topic. 

Some examples of past dissertation topics include:

  • Sites of kingship and their meanings in early medieval Ireland
  • An exploration of the landscape of Hadrian’s Wall in the post-Roman period
  • The effects of the Reformation on brass commemoration
  • An analysis and reinterpretation of settlement sites in the Crusader kingdoms
  • An archaeological assessment of the Danelaw boundary and its landscape
  • The creation of new typologies and interpretations of Cistercian metalwork
  • A theoretical assessment of Anglo-Saxon female saints’ cults
  • An analysis of the osteological material from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery

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 medieval 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 medieval period
  • Inform decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations by assessing and applying advanced, professionallevel theories and methodologies relating to medieval 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, and a clear contribution to the work of a disciplinary or interdisciplinary team
  • In conjunction with archaeological data, critically assess the scholarship and evidence generated by other related disciplines - including anthropology, history, art history, and medieval studies - in order to shed light on themes and questions in medieval archaeology
  • Apply theoretical interpretations and critical skills to the analysis of artefacts, landscapes and buildings in order to develop better understandings of the medieval period

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2020/21

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £8,040£18,240
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£4,020£9,120
Part-time (3 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£2,680£6,080

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

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.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

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

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

Home/EU students

International students

We have a variety of funding options available within the department.

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.

The Medieval Archaeology course at York provided me with countless opportunities and experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. The connections and friendships I made with my fellow students, including some students pursuing other degrees, exposed me to new and different ideas.
Heather, MA Medieval Archaeology

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

You'll be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and fieldwork.

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 within the Department, with a small amount taking place in various locations on Campus West.

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 opt to take, these could include: 

  • Essays
  • Oral presentations
  • Report writing
  • Dissertation
  • Or alternative assessment methods such as film-making, blogging or posters

Careers and skills

The course provides a solid foundation for a wide range of careers and further studies. Our students have gone on to research degrees, academic or teaching careers, museum positions and archaeology posts at local councils, regional authorities, field units, and heritage bodies such as English Heritage and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Find out more about what our students have gone on to do.

Transferable skills

  • Time management
  • The ability to investigate topics in depth
  • Research skills
  • Think critically
  • Work independently
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Presentation skills
Since finishing my MA, I have had so many wonderful opportunities within the heritage industry, which have been based on the strong archaeological foundations I gained at York. It has enabled me to develop the confidence to start my own business, as well as implement Viking Age projects with leading individuals in the field, both locally and internationally.
Emma, MA Medieval Archaeology

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in a relevant subject such as Archaeology, Anthropology, Classics, History, Art History, Geography and Medieval/Renaissance Studies
Other qualifications and experience If you don’t have conventional qualifications, but do have appropriate, relevant experience, you are encouraged to apply. We carefully consider each application on its merits.

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:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, minimum 6.5 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components
PTE Academic 61, minimum 61 in Writing and 55 in all other components
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 176 in Writing and 169 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.

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 IELTS 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

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Department of Archaeology

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