Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

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.

Research topics

We welcome applications from anyone keen to work in fields that overlap with or complement our academic staff interests. These include:

  • human osteoarchaeology
  • isotopes and science-based methods of investigation
  • early civilisations and urban societies in the Mediterranean and Europe
  • Egyptology
  • Roman archaeology
  • the Byzantine world and late antiquity
  • costal and marine heritage
  • megalithic monuments
  • later European prehistory
  • the archaeology of Scotland

Breadth of expertise

We have a  wide range of expertise covering different areas, time periods and themes, including:

  • Bioarchaeology and isotope studies
  • Egyptology
  • Roman and ‘Celtic’ archaeology
  • The Byzantine World and Late Antiquity  
  • Megalithic monuments
  • Prehistory of Europe, the Mediterranean and North-East Africa
  • Early civilisations and urban societies
  • The archaeology of Scotland
  • Cultural heritage and sustainability
  • Digital heritage and heritage policy
  • Archaeomaterials analysis  
  • Human evolution
  • Conflict archaeology
  • Medieval archaeology
  • Computational archaeology
  • Marine and coastal archaeology
  • Buildings archaeology
  • Archaeological survey - Landscape Archaeology

Focal areas of research include:

  • Bioarchaeology/ Human Osteoarchaeology/ Biological Anthropology
  • Human–environment interactions
  • The transition from hunter-gatherer to farming communities
  • The development of complex societies
  • Cultural heritage perspectives on the past, present, and future

Research community

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.

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
MScRArchaeology1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2023/24
MScRArchaeology2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2023/24

You will have at least two supervisors who will provide expert academic guidance on your chosen research topic.

Each student will have a primary supervisor and an assisting supervisor(s), who will be appointed by the primary supervisor (please see the entry requirements below on how to identify and contact a supervisor at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology before applying).

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 a range of facilities, resources and study spaces, in a stunning location.

Our postgraduate students have access to:

  • a dedicated study space 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 graduate 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.

You will benefit from our laboratories for:

  • artefact analysis
  • environmental archaeology
  • osteoarchaeology
  • bone chemistry
  • 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.

You will also have access to 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, team-working 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

An archaeology degree does not restrict you to a career in archaeology.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

We require the following (with further details below):

  • Provisional supervision agreement between you and a primary supervisor, in writing
  • Research proposal
  • Qualifications at undergraduate level
  • References
  • Entry interview
  • Evidence of English language competency

Provisional supervision agreement

You must name a member of staff who has provisionally agreed, in writing, to supervise you in order for your application to be taken forward. Please ensure that the relevant correspondence is uploaded to your admissions application. This statement of support is provisional, pending assessment of your application and your performance at an interview. If you haven’t approached a member of our academic staff yet, please use the following staff list to help you find a supervisor in the subject area of your interest.

Research proposal

You must submit a research proposal (in a Word or PDF document) demonstrating your knowledge of your field of research. This will be closely scrutinised as part of the decision making process. Guidance on writing a research proposal can be found online:

Qualifications

A UK 2:1 honours degree, a minimum US 3.25 GPA or international equivalent, in a subject related to your programme.

We may also consider your application if you have relevant professional experience; please check with your potential supervisor before you apply.

You will need to submit your undergraduate degree certificates and transcripts in order to be considered for MSc by Research admission. For instructions on how to upload any additional documents after you have submitted your application, please follow the support guidance:

References

You must submit two references with your application.

Entry interview

If you have met all of the entry requirements, you will need to attend an online interview with potential supervisors. The interview should last 20-30 minutes. Please note that an offer to study is subject to a successful interview.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, 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 (non-MESC).

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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScRArchaeology1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScRArchaeology2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

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 government loan schemes.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Please note that the funding applications have their own separate timelines and you will need to be conscious of this when applying for funding.

When you submit your MScR study application in the application portal a deadline is generated automatically. This deadline will differ from any funding deadlines. Scholarship application deadlines should be followed if applying for funding.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 1 August 2024

If you are applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

You must submit a research proposal demonstrating your knowledge of your field of research as outlined under the entry requirements.

Two supervisors (sometimes more) will be appointed to work with you on the project. You must contact a prospective primary supervisor before applying: they will be required to provide a brief statement of provisional support, which should be included with your documents.

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

Further information

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