Archaeological Science at University of Cambridge - UCAS

Course summary

Cutting-edge developments in science are increasingly applied to help answer questions at the heart of archaeology. How can we reconstruct ancient diets and climate using isotopes? What can materials analysis tell us about the ancient trade and exchange systems? How can genetics help us understand ancient and modern societies? The MPhil in Archaeological Science is a relatively new programme, admitting students for October. Exceptional in its breadth and interdisciplinary crossovers, it will allow you to learn theories and methods within the fields of materials analysis, geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, archaeobotany, proteomics, genomics, computational archaeology, and isotopic and molecular archaeology. Supported by our world-class expertise and facilities, this programme will train you in the research skills necessary to design and carry out your own independent research projects incorporating the latest scientific methods. Themes This MPhil programme allows you to acquire experience of an unparalleled range of themes and analytical methods. Unusually for programmes of this kind, it promotes connections between environmental archaeology and material culture studies. Some cross-cutting themes that link the different analytical approaches include: palaeodiet and palaeoclimate reconstructions ancient trade and exchange life-histories of landscapes, people and things the roles of ancient and modern archaeogenetic studies the potential for ancient proteins in archaeology and cultural heritage identity, knowledge transfer and mobility in society and material culture craft organisation and technological innovations food procurement, the origins and spread of agriculture and animal herding taphonomy and site formation These themes can be explored by variously integrating different approaches, including: the isotopic analyses of human and animal tissue; microscopic, chemical and isotopic analyses of artefacts and other material remains; protein and DNA analyses of biogenic samples; zooarchaeological and archaeobotanical investigations; the application of soil micromorphology to palaeosols and archaeological settlements; spatial and temporal analysis of settlement distribution.


This ten-month programme allows you to design a curriculum that is tailored to your own interests. It is possible to combine modules in archaeological science with modules on particular theories, periods or regions. You take two term-long core modules: Principles of Archaeological Science and Applications of Archaeological Science. These provide you with training in the general foundations, applications and practice of the most established techniques in archaeological science, using examples of a wide range of materials, methods, regions, periods and problems. You then choose at least two term-long archaeological science modules from a list that includes: Biomolecular Archaeology Archaeological Materials and Technologies Environmental Archaeology Geoarchaeology Computational Archaeology Human Osteology. In addition, you can choose two further modules from the list above or you can choose any other year-long module or two term-long modules from our Archaeology MPhil programmes. You also take a Research Skills module and write a dissertation. For your dissertation, you will complete intensive, self-driven and original research on an archaeological science project under the supervision of leading specialists.

Entry requirements

We look for postgraduates in archaeology, science, or any other cognate discipline who are ready to learn new things in different ways, to apply their critical skills and to share their own knowledge. We actively encourage diversity and tailor our training to challenge you and build on your own strengths.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

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Additional fee information

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Archaeological Science at University of Cambridge - UCAS