Join the UK's only dedicated course in the archaeological study of animals.
Any consideration of the human past is incomplete without examining the essential roles that animals have played in our economies and societies. On this course you will study archaeological animal remains on a macro and micro scale to investigate what they tell us about how humans and other species have co-existed over the millennia.
The scope of the course is global, equipping you with the knowledge and techniques to study the roles of animals in human societies from the Palaeolithic to the present and around the world. You will have the opportunity to select modules taught by leading academics in both traditional and biomolecular zooarchaeology, and options led by dedicated specialists in evolutionary anatomy, enabling you to master the latest analytical techniques and examine skeletal anatomy.
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 were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011 in recognition of our dynamic research community and teaching excellence.
This course covers the practical skills, analytical techniques, and interpretative frameworks necessary to study the roles of animals in past societies from the bones and other remains that we find on archaeological sites.
Core modules and laboratory classes will provide you with a solid grounding in the essential tools of the zooarchaeologist's trade, while the option modules and dissertation allow you to explore and potentially specialise in a unique range of biomolecular and anatomical approaches.
You will undertake a total of 180 credits. These will be made up of four core modules and four option modules. You will then hone your research skills by producing a dissertation and presenting an assessed lecture on your dissertation topic.
You will choose two 20-credit option modules from a wide variety available within the department, including:
You will also be able to choose from certain modules from Hull York Medical School (HYMS) (eg Functional and Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Hard Tissue Biology). Please contact us if you have specific requirements.
You will also select two further 5-credit skills modules from a wide range including:
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
You will undertake a dissertation (80 credits) of 15-20,000 words and assessed lecture as part of the course. You will have a supervisor throughout this time who will be able to help and guide you through the process.
Examples of previous dissertations 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.
The modules offered are diverse and cover all aspects zooarchaeological practice and techniques. Furthermore, optional modules allow freedom to study topics of interest such as field archaeology and artefacts. Through this structure I learnt many new skills whilst developing existing ones.Ewan, MSc Zooarchaeology
|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.
|Part-time (3 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
Students on a 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).
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.
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.
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.
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. Each core module also features a dedicated workshop day, including the innovative Yok Höyük simulation in which you’ll recreate the entire process of bioarchaeological and zooarchaeological research at a prehistoric site, from sample design and costing through to analysis and interpretation. The core skills modules are hands-on, practical classes, lasting four hours each. These are taught in small groups of 12-16, so there is plenty of one-on-one guidance with staff.
You'll have access to specialist laboratories for ancient DNA analysis, proteomics, microscopy and isotope geoscience, and to the expertise of evolutionary anatomists from the Hull York Medical School, with their suite of 3D scanning, modelling and Geometric Morphometrics (GMM) capabilities.
You'll be based in BioArCh, York's world-leading centre for research into ancient biomolecules, housed within the Department of Environment and Geography on Campus West. The majority of your teaching will take place in the adjacent PalaeoHub, a facility that brings Archaeology together with the functional and comparative anatomists from the Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences, part of the Hull York Medical School.
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:
Many of our Zooarchaeology students go on to conduct further research at PhD level. Others progress into careers with archaeological units, museum services, conservation bodies and a range of other organisations.
The MSc also provides a solid foundation for the two doctoral training programmes on offer at York:
Recent graduates have gone on to positions within the following fields and roles:
Completing York’s Zooarchaeology programme has not only allowed me to become an effective researcher who is well versed in current zooarchaeological and bioarchaeological methodologies, but also an asset in the field where my zooarchaeological expertise is a valuable commodity.Erin, MSc Zooarchaeology
|Undergraduate degree||2:1 or equivalent in Archaeology, Anthropology or a related field.|
|Other qualifications and experience||Graduates in a biological subject will also be considered, as will mature students or those with less conventional qualifications but with relevant experience.|
|Other international qualifications||Equivalent qualifications from your country|
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|
|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.
We recognise the difficulties in taking English language tests due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have taken the decision to relax the English language requirements published above by 0.5 IELTS (or equivalent).
We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves and are considering further options to support offer-holders in meeting their English language conditions. Further information about our responses to COVID-19.
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.
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.
Get in touch if you have any questions
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