Archaeology at Durham University - UCAS

Course options

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

Course summary

Drawing on the wealth of expertise and experience within the department, the MA in Archaeology offers you the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge you will need to build a fascinating and challenging career in commercial archaeology or in research. The course is available as a full-time option over one year or part-time over two years and features specialist modules, taught classes and workshops alongside dissertation research. You will also have the opportunity to engage with the broader student community within the department by participating in shared research, presentation and practical skills learning, and through discussions and events. An exceptionally wide scope of research expertise exists within Durham’s Department of Archaeology, and you can draw on this expert knowledge to advance your own area of archaeological interest. Subjects offered include the Palaeolithic period of western Europe, through Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age Europe to the Classical archaeology of the Greek and Roman worlds, through Egyptology, the archaeology of the ancient and Islamic Near East and Arabia to Buddhism in South Asia and trade in the Indian Ocean, as well as the archaeology of the medieval, post-medieval and historic periods. During the course, you will also develop your abilities and experience in areas such as the collection, management and analysis of archaeological data and materials, current archaeological approaches, methods and practice and the presentation of archaeological research. Our MA in Archaeology will undoubtedly equip you for a wide range of careers in archaeology, cultural heritage management, research in the academic world, cultural research and journalism, as well as many other careers that have a cultural or heritage focus. Course Structure Core module Research and Study Skills in Social Archaeology provides you with an understanding of the latest tools, skills and methods for learning, research and presentation in archaeology. You will be shown how to think critically about source material, how to use bibliographic research and resources such as libraries, databases, online sources as well as other sources including archives, grey literature and maps. You will be introduced to compiling and using databases, and the use of visual presentations, tools and conventions. Your dissertation will challenge you to practise, develop and demonstrate your research skills involving published literature and the compiling of new data on a specific research topic. The Dissertation is an opportunity for you to carry out in depth research on a particular area of the course of your choice. Under the guidance of your assigned dissertation supervisor, you will familiarise yourself with published literature on your chosen topic, develop a research design, collect data and draw your own conclusions.


The remainder of the course will be made up of optional modules, including one from: Practical Research and Study Skills; A credit-bearing language module; And two from: Research Topics in Archaeology (choose either a single of double module); Guided Study; Modules from other available Level 4 options offered within the Department of Archaeology (subject to approval); Modules offered by another department (subject to approval).

Assessment method

The MA in Archaeology offers a highly effective mix of taught lectures, seminars, workshops and practical classes that you will find stimulating and an ideal learning process. In the first two terms, you will attend around four hours of lectures, workshops or practical classes, and two one-hour seminars each week. Practical work will complement the desk-based analytical skills activity. Over the second and third terms, we aim to develop your abilities as an independent researcher with the lectures and workshops introducing you to archaeological research methods in specific fields of study and allowing you to practise them. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among archaeologists on a particular theme. Seminars then provide opportunities for smaller groups to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge gained through lectures and through reading. Practical classes and workshops allow you to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in archaeology. You will be expected to submit three or four pieces of assessed work per term, consisting of essays of 2,000 or 3,000 words as well as practical projects such as poster presentations. Importantly, you will also be required to produce a 20,000-word dissertation completed after you have carried out independent study activity into a particular theme, area or research problem. This dissertation is regarded as the key feature of the MA and will be produced under the supervision of a specialist member of the academic team.

How to apply

International applicants

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Entry requirements

Typically applicants will have: ideally a degree in archaeology or a related subject entailing experience in historical, material culture and/or visual culture (e.g. Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Art History and Theory, History, Classics, Oriental Studies), although a wider range of backgrounds is acceptable, with 2.1 honours or higher for UK degrees, or international equivalent (please consult the department on international equivalents). For mature students, relevant employment experience or other qualifications are taken into consideration (again, you are welcome to consult with the department on this). Prior knowledge of specialist areas is not mandatory, but an ability to prove previous interest or experience would be an advantage. Reference Requirements: One satisfactory reference is required, a further may be requested.

English language requirements

Durham University welcomes applications from all students irrespective of background. We encourage the recruitment of academically well-qualified and highly motivated students, who are non-native speakers of English, whose full potential can be realised with a limited amount of English Language training either prior to entry or through pre-sessional and/or in-sessional courses. It is the normal expectation that candidates for admission should be able to demonstrate satisfactory English proficiency before the start of a programme of study, whether via the submission of an appropriate English language qualification or by attendance on an appropriate pre-sessional course. Acceptable evidence and levels required can be viewed by following the link provided.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £6600 Year 1
Northern Ireland £6600 Year 1
Scotland £6600 Year 1
Wales £6600 Year 1
Channel Islands £6600 Year 1
EU £14600 Year 1
International £14600 Year 1
Republic of Ireland £14600 Year 1

Tuition fee status depends on a number of criteria and varies according to where in the UK you will study. For further guidance on the criteria for home or overseas tuition fees, please refer to the UKCISA website .

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.

Sponsorship information

For further information see the course listing.

Archaeology at Durham University - UCAS