What makes us ‘human’? How did early human societies work? How different were Neanderthals from ourselves and why did they die out? What was life like in the Ice Age?
Debate these questions and many others within a lively research environment as you build up your knowledge and experience of early prehistoric societies from three million to 5,000 years ago.
The archaeology of human origins is a fascinating and dynamic area of research, with new evidence and theories constantly changing our interpretation of who we are.
On this course you'll explore the archaeology and approaches to human origins while working alongside internationally renowned specialists in early prehistoric archaeology and human evolution. You'll have the opportunity to work on pioneering studies with the potential for significant media exposure and gain ‘hands on’ experience of museum collections at the York Museum. You'll be able to select modules to allow you to explore your own research interests and have the chance to visit Upper Palaeolithic rock art on a field trip to Creswell Crags.
This course is also available as an MA Early Prehistory with Human Origins.
I found my MSc a valuable asset to my career after university and truly feel I wouldn’t be in the position I am now without it. The skills and experience I gained while at York, from time management and research skills to the personal confidence gained in areas such as public speaking and presentation, have been invaluable.Holly, MSc Early Prehistory and Human Origins
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.
We're proud to announce that we've been shortlisted for two prestigious University of the Year awards.
You will study 180 credits over the duration of your course. You'll study a variety of modules and then hone your research skills by producing a dissertation and presenting an assessed lecture on your dissertation topic.
Your core modules will cover topics such as:
You'll choose from a range of option modules. Examples may 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 dissertation of 15-20,000 words and a related assessed lecture on your research. The subject of your research will determine whether you graduate with an MA or MSc.
You will have regular meetings with your supervisor who will offer support, guidance and encouragement throughout the dissertation writing process.
Previous dissertation topics have included:
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.
This course will take you on a voyage of discovery, and the teaching is second to none. You will be encouraged to rethink many of your assumptions and your ideas will be challenged. This course is essential for anyone interested in the antiquity of humankind with its diverse cultures, customs, religions, art and technologies.Elle, MA Early Prehistory and Human Origins
|Study mode||UK (home)||International and EU|
|Full-time (1 year)||£9,290||£19,950|
|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.
Field trips are funded by the Department.
Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2022/23 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.
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.
You will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, with an emphasis on student led-discussion and presentations.
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 occasional 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:
This course offers a broad range of essential skills and expertise, specialist knowledge and insight, which are relevant to a wide variety of careers or further study. Many of our students go on to pursue research at PhD level while others have taken up careers in heritage, conservation, the archaeology sector and academia.
This course pushes you to re-evaluate concepts of human development and to explore and create your own ideas and explanations. With teaching staff who are at the forefront of this area of study, you are encouraged to challenge accepted theories with calculated debate and discourse.Robert, MA Early Prehistory and Human Origins
|Undergraduate degree||2:1 or equivalent in Archaeology, Anthropology or a related field. We also consider applicants who have a 2:2 degree and relevant work experience.|
|Other qualifications and experience||Mature students or those with less conventional qualifications but with relevant experience in 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|
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|
|LanguageCert||B2 Communicator High Pass with 33/50 in each component|
|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
Our new app, Visit UoY, allows you to take a self-guided tour of campus narrated by our current students. You can either visit us in-person and explore the campus for yourself or get the campus tour experience from the comfort of your own home.
Find out more about using the Visit UoY app.
We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.
Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.
Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.
Find out more about York. Chat to staff and students and take the tour, on campus or online.