Introduction

The University of Aberdeen is following Scottish Government Guidelines in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes adhering to physical distancing measures to support a safe environment for our staff and students. Therefore, the programme structure and delivery method for September 2020 may differ slightly from that listed on this page. Find out more about September 2020 study with us.

This one year Master’s programme provides students from a range of academic backgrounds with a broad-based postgraduate qualification in Archaeology, but with the option of pursuing specific archaeological specialisms, including Viking Archaeology, Museum Studies, Bioarchaeology, Osteoarchaeology and Palaeopathology.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MSc
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
January or September
Location of Study
Aberdeen

This MSc in Archaeology provides 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.

Teaching is research-led and ties into current projects run by the staff at the department, who are prominent researchers and fieldworkers in Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Northeast Asia, the North Atlantic and the circumpolar region from Siberia to the Canadian Arctic.

You will learn about theory and method in archaeological research. The flexibility of our offering means you can choose courses based on your interests, such as Northern Worlds or Viking Archaeology. You can also learn key Geographical Information System (GIS) tools and techniques used in archaeology, and develop practical skills in cartography and geo-visualisation.

The University’s extensive museum collections also present unique opportunities to explore contemporary issues around the preservation and communication of archaeological finds, particularly in relation to osteoarchaeology.

This programme can be taken as preparation for higher research, as a professional qualification, or purely out of interest. This programme is also appropriate as a conversion course for students new to archaeology but with a background in a cognate discipline.

Available Programmes of Study

Archaeology

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses
Theory and Method in Research (AY5002)

30 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

In addition students will take further 30 credit points from the following courses.

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 (from January 2019). 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 Worlds (AY5001)

30 Credit Points

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

View detailed information about this course
Viking Archaeology (AY5005)

30 Credit Points

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

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to GIS Tools, Techniques, Cartography and Geovisualisation (GG5065)

15 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Understanding People and Environment (Extended) (AT5035)

30 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
The Museum Idea (AT5046)
Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
Advanced Archaeological Approaches (AY5504)

30 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

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 (from January 2019). 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)

30 Credit Points

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

View detailed information about this course
The World of The Vikings (AY5505)

30 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to GIS Tools, Techniques, Cartography and Geovisualisation (GG5565)

15 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Advanced Spatial Analysis and Programming (GG5567)

15 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Current Applications of GIS (GG5540)

15 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Reading Environmental Ethnography (AT5509)

15 Credit Points

This is a reading course with fortnightly meetings for students with an interest in how anthropologists write about environmental themes.

View detailed information about this course
Developing A Theory of Practice: Learning and Museums (ED553E)

30 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation Stage (MSc)

Dissertation in Archaeology of the North (AY5902)

60 Credit Points

This course let the students build on the skills and knowledge they acquired in the other courses of the MSc in Archaeology of the North, as they design and conduct their own research project. The student conduct independent studies on a topic of their own choice within the northern theme. All students will receive staff supervision in identifying a suitable topic and in completing an original research project. The course also includes a number of research seminars, and in addition to their written dissertation students are expected to produce a short popular piece presenting their research to a non-academic audience.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £8,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
International Students £18,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year In addition to the tuition fees, students will be required to pay an offsite training fee of £500.
MSc 12 months On Campus Learning Full Time January Aberdeen View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses
Advanced Archaeological Approaches (AY5504)

30 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

In addition students will take further 30 credit points from the courses below.

Northern Peoples and Cultures (AY5501)

30 Credit Points

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

View detailed information about this course
The World of The Vikings (AY5505)

30 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to GIS Tools, Techniques, Cartography and Geovisualisation (GG5565)

15 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Current Applications of GIS (GG5540)

15 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Reading Environmental Ethnography (AT5509)

15 Credit Points

This is a reading course with fortnightly meetings for students with an interest in how anthropologists write about environmental themes.

View detailed information about this course
Developing A Theory of Practice: Learning and Museums (ED553E)

30 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Advanced Spatial Analysis and Programming (GG5568)

15 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
Theory and Method in Research (AY5002)

30 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

In addition students will take further 30 credit points from the following courses.

Northern Worlds (AY5001)

30 Credit Points

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

View detailed information about this course
Viking Archaeology (AY5005)

30 Credit Points

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

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to GIS Tools, Techniques, Cartography and Geovisualisation (GG5065)

15 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Understanding People and Environment (Extended) (AT5035)

30 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
The Museum Idea (AT5047)

30 Credit Points

Why do human beings collect and what is the purpose of museums? ‘The Museum Idea’ examines these questions by focusing on the history and philosophy of museums and relating these to contemporary museum practice. The course will examine the role of museums in society through case studies of exhibitions and other museum projects in a variety of settings, including art, history and ethnographic museums.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
Dissertation in Archaeology of the North (AY5902)

60 Credit Points

This course let the students build on the skills and knowledge they acquired in the other courses of the MSc in Archaeology of the North, as they design and conduct their own research project. The student conduct independent studies on a topic of their own choice within the northern theme. All students will receive staff supervision in identifying a suitable topic and in completing an original research project. The course also includes a number of research seminars, and in addition to their written dissertation students are expected to produce a short popular piece presenting their research to a non-academic audience.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £8,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
International Students £18,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year In addition to the tuition fees, students will be required to pay an offsite training fee of £500.

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

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Field Work
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

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?

  • Our location means we are ideally suited to access some of the country’s 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’s 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 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.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

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.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

CV
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

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • 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.

Scholarships

Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

Postgraduate Open Day

Register to attend our Virtual Open Day on and speak live with academics.
Find out about life at the University of Aberdeen with a live Q&A with current students.

Register Now

Careers

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.

Our Experts

Other Expert
Dr Jeff Oliver
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.

Features

Image for Nunalleq Project and Archaeological Field School in Quinhagak, Alaska
Nunalleq Project and Archaeological Field School in Quinhagak, Alaska

Nunalleq Project and Archaeological Field School in Quinhagak, Alaska

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.

Find out more

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX