A general MSc programme with significant opportunity to pursue specific subjects.
Established in 2007, we are the UK's youngest archaeology department, located at one of Europe's oldest universities. As befits the 'Global University of the North', Archaeology at Aberdeen has a special high-latitude focus that is not found anywhere else.
Reflecting this, our staff are prominent researchers and fieldworkers in Northern Europe, Scandinavia, the North Atlantic and the circumpolar region from Siberia to the Canadian arctic. Closer to home, the archaeology of Scotland is a natural priority.
This new taught MSc in Archaeology aims to provide an ‘umbrella’ programme to appeal to archaeology students from a range of backgrounds interested in pursuing specific archaeological subjects under the banner of a broad degree designation.
Key Programme Information
At a Glance
- Learning Mode
- On Campus Learning
- Degree Qualification
- 1 Year / 2 Years
- Study Mode
- Full Time or Part Time
- Start Month
What You'll Study
The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning MSc programme which runs in September.
- Semester 1
- Theory and Method in Research (AY5002) - Credits: 30
In this course students will follow the development of archaeological thought from its roots in the scientific revolution of the 17th century through to the post-modern thinkers and finally discovering where the current theoretical debates stand. Students will explore the links between the theoretical development of archaeological research and the general developments in the history of science and philosophy. Students also explore different methodologies central to archaeological research, discuss what constitute archaeological data, and how to design a research project. Students will also discuss research ethics, and scientific agendas. These issues are explored through a series of lectures and seminars.
In addition students will take further 30 credit points from the following courses.
- Northern Worlds (AY5001) - Credits: 30
In a series of research-led lectures and seminars, students investigate what characterises the Archaeology of the North from environmental, socio-cultural, and ideological aspects. We examine several inter-locking themes, from the first colonisations of the North tracing how these earlier populations established the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity that define later periods. Students will be introduced to the ecological characteristics of higher latitudes, and examine the diverse ways in which communities have made the Northern World their home. We also examine how human communities have responded to climate changes in the past, resilience and adaptation, technology, and spirituality amongst Northern peoples
- Viking Archaeology (AY5005) - Credits: 30
In their brief 300-year heyday, the peoples of Viking-Age Scandinavia transformed the northern world, and themselves. This course explores the Vikings at home, abroad, and in their new homes overseas in the developing colonies of the diaspora that stretched from the coasts of North America to the Asian steppe. In lectures and seminars, with hands-on classes looking at the finds, students will consider themes such as settlement and social structure, urbanism and commerce, pagan and Christian religion, and the political process that created the modern nation states of Norway, Sweden and Denmark
- GIS Tools and Techniques i (GG5050) - Credits: 15
This module will introduce students to a number of introductory and fundamental geospatial tools and techniques for displaying and analysing geospatial data. This will include: navigation, measurement, spatial queries, geocoding, scripting, buffering, digitsing, and overlay analysis. A number of ‘real world’ examples will be used to illustrate the application of the tools for data exploration, data capture, simple spatial analysis, mapping and visualisation. Emphasis will be placed on obtaining a sound understanding of the principles of each technique, as well as the importance of selecting the correct approach to a problem, analysing the data, and interpretation of the results.
- The Museum Idea (AT5026) - Credits: 30
‘The Museum Idea’ course introduces Museum Studies, focusing on the history and philosophy of museums and collecting, relating this to contemporary museum practice. It is a taught by a team of academic staff in disciplines such as Anthropology, Archaeology, Education and History of Art, and the professional staff of the University’s museums. Many class meetings will be held in the University’s museums, including display areas, conservation laboratory and reserve collections and reserve collections, with a field trip to museums in another city in Scotland.
- Understanding People and Environment (Extended) (AT5035) - Credits: 30
This is a course in environmental anthropology, which explores theoretical ideas and major research areas in the field. It is an excellent option for students taking an MRes in anthropology who have an interest in environmental themes. It is also a great choice for students from other disciplines whose work is concerned with human-environment relations.
- Semester 2
- Advanced Archaeological Approaches (AY5504) - Credits: 30
As an advanced engagement with current trends and approaches in Northern Archaeology students examine current cutting edge debates associated with new theories and methodologies in archaeological research. Students will encounter the versatility of methodological and theoretical approaches in Northern research through four different themes central to the Archaeology of the North; Body and Death, Heritage and Memory, Social Space and Structures, Human and Environment. Each theme is explored through series of research led seminars and a practical, approaching the theme from different theoretical/methodological angels. The main assessment of the course is an Internal Masters Conference on these four themes.
In addition students will take further 30 credit points from the courses below.
For those look looking to explore the Viking Age, we are delighted to offer Viking Archaeology as an optional module in semester 1 and The World of Vikings as an optional module in semester 2. The Viking Age is categorised as the last centuries of the Scandinavian Iron Age (c. 750-1050) and seen as a dynamic era in which Norse peoples made a lasting impression on Northern European, and indeed world history.
- Northern Peoples and Cultures (AY5501) - Credits: 30
In a series of text based student-led seminars we study past Northern Peoples and Cultures through key topical debates, characteristic for different cultural regions and time periods. In the seminars students examine a range of northern contexts, from prehistory to more recent times all over the Circumpolar North. Students encounter topics as versatile as animal domestication in Northern Eurasia, Scandinavian Vikings, and Colonial North America illustrating the diversity of life and thought in Northern communities. Each seminar will also explore how particular key issues have become central to the ‘identity’ of archaeological research in the respective areas
- GIS Tools and Techniques i (GG5550) - Credits: 15
This module will introduce students to a number of introductory and fundamental geospatial tools and techniques for displaying and analysing geospatial data. This will include: navigation, measurement, spatial queries, geocoding, scripting, buffering, digitising, and overlay analysis. A number of ‘real world’ examples will be used to illustrate the application of the tools for data exploration, data capture, simple spatial analysis, mapping and visualisation. Emphasis will be placed on obtaining a sound understanding of the principles of each technique, as well as the importance of selecting the correct approach to a problem, analysing the data, and interpretation of the results.
- Fundamentals of GIS & Spatial Analysis (GG5539) - Credits: 15
Central to the application of Geographical Information (GI) in the 'real world' is the acquisition of a fundamental knowledge and understanding of the 'data into information’ pathway using GIS and the geospatial information technologies. This module introduces students to a number of examples of both theory and application of geographical data and information, and the relationships to remote sensing, cartography. visualisation, multimedia, global positioning systems (GPS), mobile GIS, and the Internet. A practical study of mobile GIS and Smartphone Apps for field data collection is included. A practical introduction to the Idrisi GIS software is used for the course.
- Current Applications of GIS (GG5540) - Credits: 15
This module will examine some of the many different applications of the geospatial technologies. It comprises two sections: 1) invited lectures from external guest speakers on a selection of current GIS applications embracing academic, commercial and research topics on e.g. physical and human geography, planning, archaeology, geology, computer science, and specialist applications from amongst others: the renewable energy sector, oil and gas industry, offshore surveying, marine spatial planning, precision agriculture, environmental management, local authorities, and the business sector; 2) the execution of a practical-based mini GIS project chosen from a list of topics of specific interest to the student.
- Reading Environmental Ethnography (AT5509) - Credits: 15
This is a reading course with fortnightly meetings for students with an interest in how anthropologists write about environmental themes.
- Developing A Theory of Practice: Learning and Museums (ED553E) - Credits: 30
This course will focus on the theoretical and professional issues relating to learning and museums, including informal and formal learning, professional identity, regulatory and curriculum contexts, relationships between community and professional providers and social inclusion. Alongside seminars, normally held in the University’s museums, tutor-directed activities will include visits and observation of learning activities in local museums and similar organisations.The course is intended to enable participants to reflect on current provision and practice in relation to learning in museums through critical consideration of current constructions and understandings of the ways in which museums are sites of learning for visitors.
- The World of The Vikings (AY5505) - Credits: 30
The last centuries of the Scandinavian Iron Age, c. 750-1050, is the dynamic era in which Norse peoples made a lasting impression on Northern European and indeed world history. We call it the Viking Age. It was characterised by a society in transition – between Pagan beliefs and Christianity, Iron Age Chiefdoms and Medieval States, Thing and Law. In this course we explore the impacts that the Vikings had on Northern European society through the ancient artefacts and places they left behind. In addition to biweekly seminars, this course lets you meet the Vikings in their World through a week-long field trip where we will explore how society, landscape, economy and worldview was radically changed by the Viking Age.
We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
How You'll Study
- Field Trips
- Field Work
- Group Projects
- Individual Projects
Classes are taught through lectures, small group tutorials and seminars. A main focus of the MSc is development of individual research skills through dissertation work.
Assessment for each 30-credit taught module is on the basis of one 3000-word essay and one 3000-word project on topics relevant to the course. The nature of the project may vary from course to course and include reports, exercises and oral presentations.
Why Study Archaeology?
- Geographically, we are ideally suited to access some of the countries most interesting archaeological sites.
- You will be taught by a dedicated team of Archaeologists with a broad range of expertise and teaching experience.
- The University of Aberdeen Department of Archaeology, in partnership with the village corporation Qanirtuuq, Inc. and the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Quinhagak, Alaska, is working to record archaeological sites threatened by rising sea levels along the Bering Sea. This is something you could volunteer to be part of.
- Archaeological research at Aberdeen spans the the arts and humanities, physical and biological sciences, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the Archaeology and the collaborative ethos within the University.
Student numbers on the programme are small enough to allow for a strong level of teaching interaction and relationship building amongst students.
Find out more about the extensive range of facilities you will have access to as a student.
2:1 (upper second class) UK Honours degree, or an Honours degree from a non-UK institution which is judged by the University to be of equivalent worth in Archaeology or a related discipline.
2:2 in Archaeology or related discipline plus related professional experience.
English Language Requirements
All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.
Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Physical Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.
If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.
Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempt from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.
You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme.
- an up-to-date CV/Resumé
- Degree Certificate
- a degree certificate showing your qualifications
- Degree Transcript
- a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
- Personal Statement
- a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
Fees and Funding
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
|Home / EU / RUK Students||£6,000|
|Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year|
|Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year In addition to the tuition fees, students will be required to pay an offsite training fee of £500.|
International non-EU Applicants
- In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
- For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.
Our Funding Database
View all funding options in our Funding Database.
An Archaeology degree can be the gateway to many other professions, and the training in analytical and communication skills acquired by our graduates make them employable in a wide variety of fields including industry, commerce and research.
The broad-based nature of the discipline enables graduates to compete strongly in the employment market place. Today Archaeologists in the UK work in an increasingly wide range of professions. A significant percentage of graduates are employed in private or university-based archaeological units and consultancies. These professionals are responsible for mitigating the impact to archaeological sites in relation to different forms of development. Typically, such posts involve a good deal of fieldwork and the production of high quality scientific reports.
Others graduates go on to research, teaching and curatorial posts in universities, museums and private institutions and work in a range of areas from interpreting ancient environments to communicating archaeology to the public. In addition to more traditional occupations, a growing number of Archaeologists are now employed by a range of governmental and non-governmental heritage organizations.
Careers in this area are primarily involved in making decisions about the management and conservation of archaeological resources at local, national and international levels. Archaeologists and individuals with archaeological training also work in a growing number of non-traditional careers where archaeological knowledge is central. These positions range widely, from jobs with engineering firms, where knowledge of archaeological principals can be crucial to project planning, to careers which engage the public's appreciation of the past.
- Programme Coordinator
- Dr Charlotta Hillerdal
Information About Staff Changes
You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
College of Physical Sciences Graduate School
University of Aberdeen
Fraser Noble Building