Archaeology of the North, MSc

Archaeology of the North, MSc


The only degree of its kind in the world, reflecting the unique research focus of the Department of Archaeology at Aberdeen.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January

Developing the research skills required to investigate the material culture and heritage of the far northern hemisphere, a region that includes Scotland, the North Atlantic, Scandinavia and Baltic Europe, northern Russia and the circumpolar region through Siberia, the North Pacific and high-latitude North America.

With an emphasis on colonisation and culture contact, lifeways and world-views, every graduate is provided with a thorough knowledge of the theory and practice specific to northern archaeology, together with the foundation for further study or professional employment.

In addition, every graduate will have acquired detailed competence in a specialist regional or chronological field, chosen from a range of options across the entire northern world.

The degree can be taken as preparation for higher research, as a professional qualification or purely for interest.

Available Programmes of Study

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.

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.


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.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

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

Assessment Methods

Assessment for each 30-credit taught module is on the basis of one 3000-word essay and one project on topics relevant to the course, chosen in consultation with the course coordinator. The nature of the project may vary from course to course and include reports, exercises and presentations.

Following successful completion of the taught modules, students are allowed to advance to the dissertation, which involves in depth original research on a topic chosen in consultation with the advisor.

Why Study Archaeology of the North?

  • Archaeology at Aberdeen has a special high-latitude focus that is found nowhere 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • The University of Aberdeen Department of Archaeology, in partnership with the village corporation Qanirtuuq, Inc. and the Yup’ik 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.
  • Field trips play a major part in the teaching of the programme. These vary each year and in the past we have taken students to the Moray Coast on Pictish-focused field trips.
  • Hands-on learning with various approaches to teaching, including research-led lectures and seminars, where you will investigate what characterises the Archaeology of the North from environmental, socio-cultural, and ideological aspects. Also, student-led seminars where we study past Northern Peoples and Cultures through key topical debates, characteristic for different cultural regions and time periods.
  • Student numbers on the programme are small enough to allow for a strong level of teaching interaction and relationship building amongst students.
  • We have our own Facebook group which we would encourage you to become part of. This is your opportunity to engage with previous graduates.
  • Find out more about the extensive range of facilities you will have access to as a student.

Entry Requirements


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


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

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 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.

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


Graduates from the programme move into a variety of careers. Many also choose to further their academic careers by undertaking PhD's.

What our Alumni Say

Carly Ameen

Carly Ameen

Carly Ameen

Job Details
PhD Student
Graduated 2014

The unique focus on high latitude archaeology and the specific challenges associated with research in northern climates provides a great foundation for any research connected to these extreme environments.

Stuart Munro

Stuart Munro

Stuart Munro

Job Details
Site Assistant
Graduated 2021

Aberdeen was one of the only places to offer a huge number of fieldwork opportunities at exciting sites as well as completing world leading archaeological research. Studying archaeology at Aberdeen was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The course required hard work and commitment but for anyone with a passion for the past I'd thoroughly recommend it.

Euan Wallace

Euan Wallace

Euan Wallace

Graduated 2020

You will learn the real building blocks of archaeological science and archaeological theory--and then some. If you want to be an archaeologist, join this programme. I learned about the archaeological sciences (isotopes, ancient DNA) and further developed critical thinking skills with regard to archaeological theory. I participated in the excavations at Craig Rock, an Early Medieval Pictish site located near modern-day Leven, Fife, Scotland.

Our Experts

Deputy Programme Coordinator
Dr Kate Britton
Other Expert
Dr Gordon Noble
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.


Facilities available within Archaeology and the Colleges of Physical and Life Sciences

  • Petrographic and stereomicroscopes
  • Palynology laboratory
  • Hydrology laboratory
  • Dirty and clean sedimentary laboratories
  • Soil chemistry laboratory
  • Bioarchaeology laboratory and faunal reference collection
  • Archaeological Chemistry laboratory
  • Trace Element Speciation Laboratory
Image for Department Field work Projects
Department Field work Projects

Department Field work Projects

Staff and Research Students at University of Aberdeen are involved in a range of excavations and field projects, including both those directed by University of Aberdeen staff and in collaboration with other individuals and institutions.

Find out more
Image for Department Research
Department Research

Department Research

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.

Find out more
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

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