Postgraduate study

Archaeology

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Archaeology

This programme is taught by experts and specialists in fields such as European, Mediterranean, science-based, and theoretical archaeology. It offers a range of courses and allows you to tailor your studies to suit your interests and take advantage of the experience of our staff, and those in related programmes in history, classics and geography. You will develop an in-depth understanding of archaeology and its links with the historical, social and natural sciences, as well as the practice of archaeology within and outside an academic setting, incorporating skills and training.

The programme prepares you for a professional role in archaeology or further study at doctoral level. We have excellent facilities: dedicated study space, archaeological and computing laboratories, and teaching and reference collections. Edinburgh is ideal for archaeological study and research, allowing you to benefit from the presence of national and local institutions and heritage agencies, such as the excellent archaeological collections of the National Museum, the archival and bibliographic resources of Historic Environment Scotland, and the expertise and practical advice of staff in several commercial archaeology companies.

Our wide-ranging programme encompasses theory, methodology and practice. You will undertake a varied schedule of learning, including lectures, seminars, practicals, and individual supervisions. You will complete three compulsory courses and select a further three options from a wide range on offer. We will help you to develop your research interests and choose a suitable dissertation topic.

The compulsory courses are:

  • Frontiers in Archaeology: Research Seminars
  • Research Sources and Strategies in Archaeology
  • Theoretical Archaeology

Option courses previously offered include those listed below. Option courses change from year to year and those available when you start your studies may be different from those shown in the list:

  • Archaeological Illustration
  • Bronze Age Civilisations of the Near East and Greece
  • Byzantine Archaeology: The archaeology of the Byzantine empire and its neighbours AD 500-850.
  • Principles of GIS for Archaeologists
  • Space, Place and Time: the archaeology of built environments
  • Archaeology of the Roman Economy
  • Etruscan Italy, 1000 - 300 BC
  • From Foraging to Farming: the Beginnings of Agriculture in the Mediterranean and Europe
  • Gallia from the Third Century BC to Augustus
  • Human Evolution
  • Ritual and Monumentality in North-West Europe: Mid-6th to Mid-3rd Millennium BC
  • Conflict archaeology: materialities of violence
  • Constantinople: The History of a Medieval Megalopolis from Constantine the Great to Suleyman the Magnificent.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScArchaeology1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2018/19
MScArchaeology2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2018/19

You will acquire:

  • a good understanding of the distinctive nature of archaeology and its contribution to a critical and informed understanding of the past
  • a good understanding of theoretical and methodological debates within archaeology
  • familiarity with a number of important fieldwork studies
  • a broad knowledge of archaeological methods, techniques and practices in current use

The programme will help you to develop potential research interests and to explore these with a view to progressing to further research. You will also acquire a range of transferable intellectual and practical skills.

Archaeology graduates can follow a variety of career options. The programme equips you to go on to advanced study, and also provides a solid foundation for a career. You will gain practical as well as academic experience, teamworking and analytical skills, and will be able to work in a variety of contexts.

Examples of career paths available to archaeology graduates (although some may require additional training) include: higher education, heritage management and agencies, commercial archaeology, teaching, tourism industry, broadcasting and the police. An archaeology degree does not restrict you to a career in archaeology.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, US GPA 3.4 or other international equivalent, in a subject related to this programme, preferably Archaeology or Classical Archaeology, or another degree in which Archaeology figures prominently (such as Anthropology in the case of applicants from the USA).

We will also consider an undergraduate degree in some other subjects such as History, Classics, Ancient History, and Geography if your personal statement demonstrates how you are equipped to undertake the programme.

Relevant experience, or professional or other qualifications will also be considered.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a reference with your application.

Please read the application guidance for more information:

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG