Introduction

Do you love looking at artefacts, museums and world heritage sites, or your local folk museum? Are you intrigued by how we lived and designed homes, and the decorative and functional items in them, throughout ages, countries and cultures to survive and flourish? Combine the study of Archaeology with Art History to understand in detail artefacts and art history throughout major ages.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
FV43
Pathway Programme Available
Undergraduate Foundation Programme
Degree marketing image

The MA Archaeology route focuses on the humanities and social science side of archaeology. Courses in Archaeology will cover subjects such as the origins of modern humans, colonisation of the north, history and theory of archaeology, Scottish archaeology and excavation and research skills.

The Art History programme at the University of Aberdeen provides students with an extensive specialised knowledge of the history of painting, sculpture, architecture and the decorative arts in Europe and North America from the Middle Ages to the present day.

You could work around the world in galleries, archaeology sites, teaching and communicating knowledge globally.

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses
Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

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Archaeology in Action (AY1003)

15 Credit Points

This course provides an introduction to how archaeological discoveries are made, the types of questions we can ask about past human societies using the evidence of their material remains, and the range of methods that archaeologists can draw on to try to answer the questions that excite them. By visiting archaeological sites, focussing on some of the world's most spectacular archaeological discoveries, and discussing some of the department's own original research projects, we will explore what the discipline of archaeology adds to our understanding of the human past and present, and what tools and techniques archaeologists employ in different environments.

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Introduction to Art History (HA1004)

15 Credit Points

This course investigates key episodes in the history of art in the western world from antiquity to the nineteenth century. Students will be introduced to the artistic production of distinct historical periods, with reference to their social, political, religious and cultural contexts.

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Caves to Kingdoms: an Introduction to Prehistoric Archaeology (AY1503)

15 Credit Points

This course provides a romping introduction to the deep human past, from our earliest hominin origins in Africa to the emergence of the first Early Medieval Kingdoms in Northern Europe. Along the way we will discover the key stages in the evolution of our species and what it means to be 'human', from our use of symbols to express thoughts, ritualistic behaviours to our domestication of plants and animals and militarized empires. The archaeological evidence for these fundamental transitions in human societies provides us with powerful insights into some of the world's most fascinating civilizations,

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Modern Art (HA1508)

30 Credit Points

This course discusses key works and movements in the history of art from c. 1800 to today. It serves as an introduction to one of the most dynamic and multifaceted chapters in art history. Topics to be discussed may range from the Pre-Raphaelites and the rise of abstraction to contemporary performance art. The course will also consider the global intersections of Western art, aiming to de-centre our understanding of what counts as 'modern'

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Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

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Optional Courses

Select a further 45 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses
Prehistoric Britain: from Boxgrove to Bede (AY2009)

15 Credit Points

Britain has been inhabited by humans for more than half a million years. This course provides an introduction to the peoples and societies that have occupied this island from the first pioneer populations to the dawn of history.

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Test Tubes and Trowels: an Introduction to Archaeological Science (AY2006)

15 Credit Points

Ever wondered how Archaeologists know what Neandertals ate, or what killed Ötzi the Iceman? Test Tubes & Trowels provides an accessible overview of the key scientific approaches used in modern archaeology to better understand archaeological sites and materials and to reconstruct past lives. Using a combination of lectures and practical workshops, the course will cover scientific methods of dating, artefact provenancing and ancient technologies, methods used for the study of diet, health, and movements of humans and animals in the past, and the identification of the environmental impacts of past human activities.

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Past Lives (AY2508)

15 Credit Points

Archaeology is ultimately the study of human social lives. This course provides students with a detailed introduction to archaeological approaches to the study of human society. Through case studies and key texts we will investigate how archaeology can generate detailed insights into the richness and diversity of the diverse human communities and individuals of the past.

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The Archaeology of The North: Lifeways & Cultural Change (AY2505)

15 Credit Points

This course is a detailed introduction to the ecological, economic and spiritual dimensions to the archaeology of the northern world. Lectures will draw on a series of case-studies to examine the human adaptations to northern landscapes, ritual and spirituality, and finally the impact of colonisation and contact upon northern cultures. Practicals in the course will include hands-on introduction to traditional skills such as flint knapping, tool manufacture and use of an atlatl.

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Object Lessons: Ten Works in Context (HA2012)

30 Credit Points

This course focuses on ten art objects, mapping the wealth and diversity of art historical research: from iconic 'masterpieces' to popular imagery, votive objects and craft. Works discussed may range from the Parthenon marbles and Velazquez' 'Las Meninas' to wax penises and pub signs.

Each case study introduces different questions and approaches for discussing art objects: a series of lessons in critical interpretation.

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Art Matters: Materials and Techniques (HA2511)

30 Credit Points

This course focuses on how artworks are made. Students will be introduced to a wide range of materials, techniques and processes over the centuries relating to paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, photography and more. Each method and material will be examined using case-study examples, with discussion opening out to issues of the agency of materials and media and their cultural logics. In doing so, students will learn how artistic intentions are shaped and determined by material qualities.

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Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses
Professional Archaeology i: Field Methods (AY3010)

15 Credit Points

We only have three days to find out! Excavation and field survey in modern archaeology can lead to spectacular discoveries regarding our past. This course, built around a short fieldschool and follow-up practicals and classes, will introduce and develop key skills in field archaeology, including excavation, field survey and sampling. Students will go through the whole process of designing, carrying out and reporting on a site and landscape in a course that will provide invaluable professional development.

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Professional Archaeology II: Post - Excavation Analysis and Employment (AY3514)

15 Credit Points

Lectures and laboratory practicals will provide experience in the techniques used to process and analyse archaeological artefacts and samples. We will introduce analytical basics for lithic, ceramic, faunal and historic artefact analysis as well as techniques for conserving, cataloguing and curating archaeological collections. This course also introduces practical skills required to obtain employment and placement in an archaeological workplace through practical exercises in writing CVs, job cover letters and job interview skills.

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Critical Perspectives in Art History (HA3079)

30 Credit Points

This course offers an introduction to some of the key methodologies, concepts and critical debates that inform art-historical interpretation. The course surveys a range of approaches and debates relevant to the state of the field, and provides an introduction to the methodological and thematic concerns of current art historical research.

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Optional Courses

NOTE: If you intend to take your dissertation in Archaeology you must take AY 3512 Archaeological Research Project Part I in level 3.

Select further credit points from level 3 course(s) in Archaeology to gain a total of 60 credits in the discipline, plus 30 credit points from level 3 courses in Art History.

Archaeological Research Project Part 1 (AY3512)

15 Credit Points

This course is the first stage in producing an archaeological dissertation, which is completed in Level 4. Lectures and practical training sessions introduce the theory and practice of archaeological research design. As the course progresses the student puts this into practice through the development of their own original research project, its presentation at a research seminar, and the submission of a full research proposal, which they subsequently take forward as their dissertation. A personal supervisor is identified and provides support, in addition to the other lecturers involved in delivering the lectures and skills training.

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Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses
Fieldwork 2 (HA408A)

30 Credit Points

In Fieldwork 2, you will continue your study of works of art and architecture in situ and/or online. If feasible, you will endeavour to undertake some independent or small group visits although these will be subject to your location, and the extent of the easing of Coronavirus restrictions. You will complete your Flogs with reflections on any summer activities, real-world or virtual, and begin selecting material for your Fieldwork ePortfolio. Although the Flogs will be included, the rest of the ePortfolio will be written in an academic style and offer you the opportunity to reflect on how your thoughts and ideas as an art historian have developed throughout the course.

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Optional Courses

Select one of the following options:

  • Current Issues in Archaeology (AY4510) AND History of Art Dissertation (HA4588)
  • Archaeological Research Project Part II (AY4002) (with AY3512 as pre-requisite)

Plus select further credit points from Level 4 Archaeology and History of Art courses to gain 60 credits in each discipline.

Archaeological Research Project Part 2 (AY4002)

30 Credit Points

Building directly on the skills learnt in AY3512, the student undertakes an original research project, under the guidance of their personal supervisor and course co-ordinator, and at the end of the course submits an archaeological dissertation. The session begins with a research seminar when students present how their research has progressed over the summer and what they will now be doing to complete it.

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Current Issues in Archaeology (AY4510)

30 Credit Points

Archaeology is a contemporary discipline and the focus in archaeological questions, subject areas and theoretical debates constantly change with time. In this course we focus on some of the topics that are important for the ongoing research within our department, from domestication and climate change to community archaeology and relating to death. The different issues are discussed in text-based seminars, where the students themselves are responsible for presenting the topic and leading the seminars. The course aims to explore and challenge current trends in the archaeological discourse.

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History of Art Dissertation (HA4588)

30 Credit Points

Your dissertation is intended to give you the opportunity to carry out a piece of sustained research on a topic of your own choice and to demonstrate to the examiners your ability to present the results of such research in a proper, scholarly manner. Your research may be of various kinds. It may address works of art (or a single work of art) directly, through first-hand study in galleries, museums, or private collections, or it may be of a more literary kind, addressing critical or theoretical problems. Or it might involve both.

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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

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Archaeology and Art History?

  • Archaeology at Aberdeen has a northern focus unique in the UK, covering the heritage of Scotland, Scandinavia, northern Europe, the North Atlantic and the northern latitudes of Asia and North America.
  • Aberdeen is at the heart of a region that is among the richest in the UK in terms of sites of outstanding archaeological interest and is in close proximity to the World Heritage sites in Orkney.
  • Research active staff among the world leaders in their fields.
  • Aberdeen is an excellent location in which to study Art History, with the city possessing a wide range of galleries and museums.
  • The Department believes in first-hand experience, so field trips take place at each level to visit major galleries and architecture. Destinations include Edinburgh, London and Paris. Third year students attend a Reading Party at a country house in Kincardineshire where they are coached in visual and presentation skills.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

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


General Entry Requirements

2020 Entry
2021 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above).

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate 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 - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

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

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

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

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

International Applicants who do not meet the Entry Requirements

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers preparation programmes for international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements for undergraduate study. Discover your foundation pathway here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2021/22
EU / International students £18,000
Students Admitted in 2021/22
Home Students £1,820
Students Admitted in 2021/22

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • 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.

Undergraduate EU Scholarship

The Aberdeen Global Undergraduate Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is an £8,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Undergraduate students who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Undergraduate EU Scholarship

Careers

There are many career options open to you within Archaeology and Art History. An archaeology degree could lead you to work for the civil service globally, specific heritage attractions or to teach and provide research. By studying Art History you have a rich knowledge base to inform and advise about specific artefacts and their historical relevance, working in heritage and museum sectors and education. You could choose to utilise your art history knowledge to specialise in conservation and provenance. Apart from specialist careers there are a rich and varied amount of professions you can choose from.

Our Experts

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.

Discover Uni

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Get in Touch

Contact Details

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