Applicants are expected to have achieved a second-class honours BA. We also offer a 1-year Graduate Certificate in History, which can be used as a conversion course if you want to study at postgraduate level, but have a degree in a significantly different discipline.
Months of entry
This Master's degree in archaeology will introduce you to the major techniques, principal bodies of evidence, and central research themes and concepts deployed in archaeological practice. From this, you will develop a critical understanding of how contemporary archaeologists think, draw and write about material evidence. The programme bridges the perceived divide between theory and practice in archaeological fieldwork and cultural resource management and aims to produce a new kind of professional: one who is theoretically aware but also grounded in the craft of archaeology. In doing so, the programme will develop your capacity for interdisciplinary and innovative research in the field, based on a more critical and integrated study of landscape, architecture and material culture. Context, and an engagement with material and historical conditions, is crucial to this work-based training.
London is key to the history of archaeology in Britain and this programme explores that history, from public demand for archaeological intervention when bomb damage from the Second World War was cleared, to modern developer-funded archaeology. Practice-based teaching will focus on the archives of the Museum of London and the British Museum’s collections. You will further your learning through practical experience on field-trips and a tailor-made Birkbeck excavation programme, 'Buried Humanities'. The curriculum of this module is linked directly to the prehistoric past and will extend outwards from the city in order to compare and contrast the detailed accounts of the Thames Valley with the archaeology of the East Anglian fens. You will examine the different types of knowledge of prehistory found in site reports, the regional knowledge found in monographs and the works of synthesis more popular in the academy.
By the end of the programme, you will have developed your own research agenda in dealing with archaeological evidence. You will have confidence in your skills of reading and interpreting primary evidence, allowing you to break open the materials in archives, collections, excavation and the landscape. A crucial concern on this programme is the value of archaeology in the world and the kinds of community that participate in its practice and you will graduate with the ability to implement creative archaeological projects within the communities that now live in the landscapes archaeologists study.
Information for international students
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
Fees and funding
The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.
Named in memory of Birkbeck’s former President, and one of the greatest historians of the twentieth century, the Eric Hobsbawm Postgraduate Scholarship fund offers a full fee-waiver for Home, EU and Overseas Master’s students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology (part-time awards are pro-rata).
Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- Student Advice Service
- +44(0) 20 3907 0700