Postgraduate study

Archaeology MScR

Awards: MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Archaeology

The MSc by Research in Archaeology is aimed at students who have a specific topic of interest into which they wish to conduct their own research.

We welcome applications from anyone keen to work in fields that overlap with or complement our academic staff interests. These include human osteoarchaeology, forensic anthropology and archaeology, isotopes and science-based methods of investigation, geographical information systems, early civilisations and urban societies in the Mediterranean and Europe, Egyptology, Roman archaeology, the Byzantine world and late antiquity, hunter-gatherers and the spread of farming in Europe, megalithic monuments, later European prehistory and the archaeology of Scotland. As part of your application, you must submit a viable research proposal which sets out your aims and plans, while demonstrating your knowledge of the chosen field: this will be scrutinised as part of our admissions process. Two supervisors will be appointed to work with you on the project. It is a good idea to consult with prospective supervisors in advance of an application.

The School of History, Classics & Archaeology, and our relationships with other subject areas and external organisations, such as the National Museums of Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland, allow us to arrange interdisciplinary study and supervision.

A long dissertation is the sole form of assessment, but you will also attend a prescribed training course and are encouraged to take other relevant courses.

You will be assigned two supervisors who will provide expert academic guidance on your chosen research topic. You will meet regularly to discuss your progress and research plans, as well as drafts of your thesis/dissertation chapters, conference papers and potential articles.

In addition to individual supervision, all our MSc by Research students pursue an individually tailored programme of research and professional skills training agreed with their supervisors.

Our building offers you exceptional, modern facilities, resources and study spaces, in a stunning location.

Our postgraduate students have access to:

  • A dedicated study and computing lab with printing, copying and scanning facilities, overlooking the Meadows, one of the city’s best-loved green spaces.
  • Two research rooms, shared with undergraduates, housing some of our impressive book collections and a small selection of computing facilities.
  • A large common room overlooking the Meadows, shared by students and staff.
  • A number of small-scale teaching rooms, well-equipped with facilities such as data projection and smart boards.
  • Exhibition areas, filled with artefacts and artwork from our collections.

All of our facilities are in addition to the multiple libraries and computer labs provided across the University’s estate. Many of our rooms overlook the Meadows.

Our location, right in the heart of Edinburgh, means you will be based close to the city’s cultural attractions and facilities, including a wealth of libraries, archives, museums and galleries, which provide uniquely rich support for the disciplines we teach.

Archaeology students benefit from our laboratories for artefact analysis, environmental archaeology, osteoarchaeology, bone chemistry and computing (with a wide range of software applications). There is an extensive reference collection of archaeological materials, such as pottery, metal, stone and glass artefacts, in the V Gordon Childe teaching collection.

Students can also benefit from the facilities, archives, collections and expertise of a range of heritage agencies and commercial archaeology units based in the city of Edinburgh.

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 your 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

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

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

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

  • PTE Academic: 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

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your tuition fee status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

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

You must submit a research proposal demonstrating your knowledge of your field of research, which will be closely scrutinised as part of our admissions process.

Two supervisors will be appointed to work with you on the project: it is a good idea to consult with prospective supervisors before applying.

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