Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Honours in Architectural History and Archaeology

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: n/a
Final award: MA Honours
Programme title: Architectural History and Archaeology
UCAS code: VVH4
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): History of Art, Architecture and Design; Archaeology
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: ECA Quality Assurance Director
Date of production/revision: July 2012

External summary

The MA Architectural History and Archaeology programme aims to equip students with an understanding of architecture’s formal qualities, theoretical frameworks and relationship to the wider cultural, social, economic and political circumstances in which works of art and architecture were created.

The 4-year Edinburgh degree is unique for a number of reasons:

  • Edinburgh is a capital city with national collections and archives. A World Heritage site, it has over 4,500 listed buildings, ranging from medieval to modern. Its rich heritage and continued excellence in architectural design is essential to teaching and students’ independent projects. Our ties with institutions including the National Galleries of Scotland, Historic Scotland and the National Library of Scotland as well as with the city’s thriving contemporary art galleries have been carefully forged and maintained.

The programme aims to equip students with:

  • a wide-ranging knowledge of the history of architecture from antiquity to present day.
  • an understanding of the methodologies as well as the historical, theoretical, and critical frameworks of architectural history and archaeology.
  • a familiarity with the roles of connoisseurship, collecting, criticism as well as materials, display, curating, heritage management and conservation.

Educational aims of programme

  • To introduce students to the art and architecture of many of the most significant periods of European culture, and to allow students to engage in a more specialised way with those periods and cultures that especially interest them, both through their selection of Honours courses and through focussed Project and Dissertation work. 
  • To give students an understanding of historical and archaeological methods and a sensitivity to issues of historical and cultural difference.
  • To provide students with skills of visual, material and textual analysis and interpretation and to develop their ability to communicate their conclusions effectively. 
  • To encourage students to develop intellectual and creative independence of mind, with the confidence to articulate their views. 
  • To equip those who wish to proceed to postgraduate study with the requisite knowledge and understanding of the history of architecture and archaeology.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

During the course of the four-year degree programme, we expect our students progressively to develop:

  • Knowledge of the architecture of a wide range of European and non-European cultures (Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern, Nineteenth-Century, Modern), and a detailed understanding of particular areas or aspects of the history of architecture.  
  • understanding of the relationship between the theory and practice of archaeology, and of the ethical, social and political issues which surround the practice of archaeology and the interpretation of archaeological data
  • An informed awareness of the variety of methods and theoretical frameworks that have informed the work of architectural historians and archaeologists, past and present.  
  • Experience in a substantial basis of training in field archaeological and architectural history techniques, or training in related areas of applied archaeology, and a capacity to place architecture and material culture artefacts in their appropriate historical contexts.
  • An ability to understand architecture and architectural and material remains as the outcome of a complex process of thought, which might be illuminated by documents, preparatory drawings, or physical evidence of changes of mind. 
  • A sophisticated grasp of specialised terminology current within the disciplines, including a capacity to describe the material, technical and formal features of a given work of architecture or of archaeological remains.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

  • Provide clear, well-organised arguments concerning the interpretation of works of architecture, and to identify, define and analyse archaeological problems, in the form of both oral and written presentations.
  • Make appropriate use of primary documentation and historical sources to illuminate works of architecture and archaeological artefacts and remains.
  • ability to extract key elements and meanings from complex data sets.
  • Employing the diverse resources that are available for obtaining information, ideas and images, such as books, journals, the internet, and slide and image libraries.
  • Take account of the fact that works of architecture will have been through processes of change that will have altered their original forms.
  • Collaborating with others in group work.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

By engaging with and completing the degree in Architectural History and Archaeology, graduates will be able to develop and demonstrate:

  • Openness to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking.
  • Appropriate intellectual scepticism, and a willingness to challenge received assumptions.
  • Ability to evaluate the different positions and arguments that arise in solving particular architectural-historical and archaeological problems.
  • Ability to read texts critically, with an awareness of the assumptions and attitudes that underlie them and underpin interpretation.
  • The ability to work independently, especially through project work and dissertations.
  • ability to test, modify and strengthen one’s own views through collaboration and debate.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

By engaging with and completing the degree in Architectural History and Archaeology, graduates will be able to develop and demonstrate that they can:

  • Communicate an approach to a particular issue in a concise, lucid and coherent form, both oral and written;
  • Communicate effectively with other people, using verbal and written means and through presentations;
  • Select the appropriate means and style of communication, in order to put ideas across effectively to differing audiences.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

By engaging with and completing the degree in History of Art and Architectural History, graduates will be able to develop and demonstrate:

  • Effective time management.
  • The capacity to respond positively and creatively to criticism and feedback, while maintaining confidence in their own abilities.
  • An understanding of the variety of contexts within which individual thought and practice operate, and the ability to work effectively with others, capitalising on diversities of thinking, experience and skills.
  • An awareness of personal strengths and areas for development.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

  • Students will be encouraged to learn to develop their visual memories 
  • Knowledge of how to use and construct bibliographies.
  • The use of information technology, including word-processing, e-mail and on-line resources.
  • A sophisticated grasp of specialised terminology current within the disciplines, including a capacity to describe the material, technical and formal features of a given work of architecture or archaeological problem.

Programme structure and features

PROGRAMME OF STUDY:

Year 1 COMPULSORY COURSES This year has 3 compulsory course(s).

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ARHI08005

Architectural History 1

As available

40

ARCA08004

Archaeology 1A

As available

20

ARCA08005

Archaeology 1B

As available

20

Note: Archaeology practical work requirement: all students registered for a single or joint honours degree in Archaeology normally undertake a minimum of three weeks fieldwork approved by the Head of Archaeology during the summer vacation of their first year of study.

COURSE OPTIONS This year has 1 set of course options with the following rules: Select exactly 40 credits from

Level 7 and 8 courses in Schedules A to Q, T and W, as available.

Year 2 COMPULSORY COURSES This year has 4 compulsory course(s).

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ARHI08002

Architectural History 2A

As available

20

ARHI08003

Architectural History 2B

As available

20

ARCA08013

Archaeology 2A: Scotland before History

As available

20

ARCA08012

Archaeology 2B: Archaeology in Action

As available

20

COURSE OPTIONS This year has 1 set of course options with the following rules: Select exactly 40 credits from

Level 7 and 8 courses in Schedules A to Q, T and W, as available.

Notes: Progression to Honours normally requires passes in all subjects taken in the first two years. A mean mark of 50% or above in the combination of Architectural History 2A and Architectural History 2B and the same mean mark in the combination of Archaeology 2A and Archaeology 2B must be achieved at the first examination diet.

Year 3 COMPULSORY COURSES This year has 3 compulsory courses

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ARHI10026

Texts and Theories in Western Architecture

As available

20

ARCA10065

Archaeology in Practice

As available

20

ARCA10064

Theoretical Archaeology

As available

20

COURSE OPTIONS This year has 2 sets of course options with the following rules: Select exactly 20 credits from the following list of courses, as available.

Year 4 This year has no compulsory courses

COURSE OPTIONS This year has 3 sets of course options with the following rules: Select exactly 40 credits from the following list of courses, as available.

Code

Course Name

Credits

ARHI10002

Architectural History Dissertation

40

ARCA10040

Archaeology Dissertation

40

AND Select exactly 40 credits from the following list of courses, as available.

Code

Course Name

Credits

ARCA10050

Animal and Human Remains in Archaeology

20

ARCA10014

Archaeological Illustration

20

ARCA10023

Etruscan Italy 1000-300 BC

20

ARCA10003

Human Origins

20

ARCA10063

The Hittites: The Archaeology of an Ancient Near Eastern Civilisation

20

ARCA10073

Rock Art and Archaeology: from Scotland to the Sahara

20

ARCA10016

The Archaeology of Gender

20

ARCA10030

The Iron Age of Western Temperate Europe until the 3rd Century BC

20

ARCA10035

The Scottish Lowlands: Archaeology and Landscape before the Normans

20

ECSH10031

Heritage in Britain since c.1750

20

CACA10021

Inscribed Objects: Roman Coins and Latin Inscriptions

20

CACA10023

The Roman Empire and its Neighbours

20

CACA10026

The Athenian Akropolis

20

ARCA10074

Late Hunter-Gatherers in Europe

20

AND Select exactly 40 credits from

Architecture and Landscape Architecture Level 10 courses, as available.

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and Learning strategies employed at the University of Edinburgh consist of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims. The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Teaching Methods: As the degree unfolds, there is gradually less emphasis in the teaching on formal lectures, and more on small group seminar teaching.   At each stage within the degree, courses and independent learning projects are conceived as progressively more challenging for students.

Teaching and Research: In the Honours years especially, students benefit from studying fields and topics in the history of architecture and archaeology which relate closely to the current research interests of members of staff. This can provide first-hand insight into the process of developing new approaches and knowledge, which students usually find very stimulating

Facilities: Students have access to the specialist collections held in the ECA Library, Evolution House and Art and Architecture library, Minto House, as well as to the other University libraries.  There are a range of other library facilities in the city, including the Fine Art department of Edinburgh City Library and the National Library of Scotland, situated very near ECA’s buildings.   Edinburgh’s many galleries and museums provide not only collections and exhibitions useful for teaching and personal research, but also an extensive range of educational events, from lectures to conferences.

Archaeology is fortunate in having a dedicated suite of laboratories for environmental archaeology and archaeological science

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 125750
Year 220800
Year 314797
Year 414860

Assessment methods and strategies

Assessment. The final degree is calculated on the basis of the results of the course work, examinations, project work and dissertation written in the third and fourth years.  Third and fourth year Honours courses are assessed by a combination of essay and examination (each weighted at 50%). 

Students in all years for the programme are encouraged to attend and participate in research seminars and the wide range of public lectures, exhibitions and cultural activities arranged by ECA and the University throughout academic year, and also with the many wider opportunities for engagement with the wider creative culture of Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond as they present themselves.

Teaching and Learning Activities

In All years

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials, including presentations
  • Source analyses
  • Practical reports
  • Personal research work via dissertation

Feedback: Written work is usually returned, and feedback provided, at individual tutorials.  Project Work is supported by supervision and group discussions, the Dissertation by the supervision of an individual member of staff who specialises in the area.

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 150743
Year 237360
Year 317083
Year 418082

Career opportunities

Graduates in Architectural History and Archeology have a variety of career options, such as conservation, land management, heritage or historical consultancyThe University Careers service offers effective help and advice.

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