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MSc Digital Archaeology

Master the digital systems that will help you to analyse archaeological data and visualise the past

Year of entry: 2024 (September)

Length

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

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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in the UK for archaeology

QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2023

in the world for archaeology

QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2023

Digital archives are a rich resource for knowledge preservation, exchange and dissemination. Digital technologies offer us new ways to understand, interpret and model the past. 

This course provides practical experience and a broad foundation in computing applications that is highly valued in the heritage sector. You'll have access to a full suite of research computing hardware and software and develop knowledge of internet applications, database design and management, Graphics Information System (GIS) technology, CAD and computer modelling systems.

At York, we've been at the forefront of researching and developing archaeological computing applications since the early days of digital practice in the field. We host Internet Archaeology, the first online peer-reviewed e-journal for archaeology, as well as the Archaeological Data Service, the largest and oldest repository for archaeological data in the world.

Many of our graduates go on to careers in archaeological computing, working in contract units or county-based records organisations. Others apply their computing skills in more mainstream archaeological work, in museums, or in a variety of other fields.

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I chose to study Archaeology because I have a deep and abiding fascination with the past. The University of York offers an outstanding programme and location. The assessed lecture and the opportunity to work with professional researchers as peers were most rewarding. York is an amazing heritage city and there is no end to the joys and rewards of living in North Yorkshire.
Ash, MSc Archaeological Information Systems (now Digital Archaeology)

Computer Modelling & SQL Server Applications
Tucson, Arizona, USA

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.

World-class archaeology

With historic buildings and significant remains from the Roman, Viking and Medieval periods, York has an impressive concentration of archaeology.

Course content

  • Semester 1 - one core and two option modules
  • Semester 2 - three option modules
  • Summer Semester - 60 credit dissertation

Modules

Core modules

Option modules

You'll study five option modules. Examples may include:

You'll also have the opportunity to choose options from our full module catalogue. Examples may include:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Dissertation

You'll complete an 8,000-word dissertation on your research.

You will receive support, advice and guidance from your dissertation supervisor throughout your project. The range of expertise of our staff means we can provide you with guidance on a wide range of topics. You will have one-to-one meetings with supervisors across the Summer Semester.

Examples of previous dissertations include:

  • A study of the Wilberforce Memorial School for the Blind using soundscapes
  • Proposal of an archaeological and heritage role-playing video-game of the ancient Roman city of York (Eboracum)
  • Improving the discoverability of zooarchaeological data with the help of natural language processing
  • The use of unmanned aerial vehicles to create 3D landscape models of deserted medieval villages

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 Digital Archaeology, and awareness of their breadth and relevant academic, professional and socio-economic contexts
  • Engage critically with current debates and advanced scholarship in local and international research and practice around Digital Archaeology in order to evaluate the field of practice
  • Inform decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations by assessing and applying advanced, professional-level Digital Archaeology theories and methodologies 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 and 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 team
  • Engage in critically self-aware and ethically-informed decision-making in order to develop impactful projects in the field of Digital Archaeology which respond to the requirements of specific professional or academic environments
  • Demonstrate professional-level competence with a variety of technologies used to publish, archive, analyse, visualise and interpret archaeological and heritage information
  • Apply leading edge theoretical and methodological developments in Digital Archaeology to managing the constraints of a workplace in the archaeological sector or in relation to serving specific local communities and real-world stakeholders
A must for anyone wishing to pursue a career in any aspect of digital archaeology. The blend of practical application and theory, together with superb teaching and facilities, equips you with the skills needed to embark upon a successful career both academically and commercially.
Geoff, MSc Archaeological Information Systems (now Digital Archaeology)

Director, Heritage Technology Ltd

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£5,295£11,950
Part-time (3 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£3,530£7,967

Students on a Student 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.

Field trips are funded by the Department.

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 2024/25 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

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.

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 will be taught through a combination of lectures, workshops, practicals and seminars.

Facilities

There are two dedicated computer labs at King’s Manor with a range of imaging software, including 3D Studio Max, Agisoft Metashape, Blender, Davinci Resolve, Unity, ArcGIS, and AutoCAD.

The department has equipment available for student use including total stations, handheld and differential GPS, drones, 360 camera, Leica RTC360  laser scanner, Go-Pro cameras, gradiometers, ground penetrating radar, resistance meters, video-ready DSLR cameras, microphones, an RTI dome and other photography kit.

Teaching location

The Department of Archaeology is based in King's Manor, in York city centre. Your teaching will take place across both King's Manor and Campus West, depending on your chosen option modules.

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
  • Alternative assessment methods such as film-making, blogging or posters
Students doing group work on laptops in the Library.
Students in a seminary

Careers and skills

This course offers practical, career-focused training for many essential roles in the professional world of archaeology. The digital knowledge you'll develop, including transferable skills such as database design, will leave you well prepared for a wide range of technology-focused careers in archaeology, the heritage sector and beyond.

Career opportunities

  • Higher education teaching and research
  • Consultancy
  • Digital archive manager
  • Social media manager
  • Local government and development officer
  • Digital data manager

Transferable skills

  • High levels of digital literacy, including digital archiving and imaging
  • Data collection and management
  • Critical thinking through and with digital technologies
  • High level of written and oral skills
  • Project management
  • Time management
The degree has propelled my career and on my return to the USA has opened the door to many opportunities where GIS is integral to the position. In my current role, my GIS background has allowed me to change the way we work by streamlining our efforts for more effective disaster support.
Eric, MSc Archaeological Information Systems (now Digital Archaeology)

Historic Preservation Specialist, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent.
Other qualifications and experience Mature students or those with less conventional qualifications but with relevant professional experience and enthusiasm for this field will be considered. To find out if your professional experience or qualifications are appropriate, please contact the Course Director.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

You will need to submit examples of written work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting written work.

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 (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, minimum 6.5 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 176, with a minimum of 176 in Writing and no less than 169 in all other components
Oxford ELLT 7, minimum of 7 in writing and no less than 6 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
LanguageCert Academic 70 with a minimum of 70 in Writing and no less than 65 in all other components
KITE 459-494, with 459-494 in writing and 426-458 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Merit in writing and Pass with Merit 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.

If you haven't 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 online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Peter Schauer

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Department of Archaeology

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