Taught course


Durham University · Department of Archaeology

Entry requirements

Typically applicants will have: ideally a degree in archaeology or a related subject entailing experience in historical, material culture and/or visual culture (e.g. Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Art History and Theory, History, Classics, Oriental Studies), although a wider range of backgrounds is acceptable, with 2.1 honours or higher for UK degrees, or international equivalent (please consult the department on international equivalents).

For mature students, relevant employment experience or other qualifications are taken into consideration (again, you are welcome to consult with the department on this). Prior knowledge of specialist areas is not mandatory, but an ability to prove previous interest or experience would be an advantage.

Reference Requirements: One satisfactory reference is required, a further may be requested.

Months of entry


Course content

Drawing on the wealth of expertise and experience within the department, the MA in Archaeology offers you the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge you will need to build a fascinating and challenging career in commercial archaeology or in research.

The course is available as a full-time option over one year or part-time over two years and features specialist modules, taught classes and workshops alongside dissertation research. You will also have the opportunity to engage with the broader student community within the department by participating in shared research, presentation and practical skills learning, and through discussions and events.

An exceptionally wide scope of research expertise exists within Durham’s Department of Archaeology, and you can draw on this expert knowledge to advance your own area of archaeological interest. Subjects offered include the Palaeolithic period of western Europe, through Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age Europe to the Classical archaeology of the Greek and Roman worlds, through Egyptology, the archaeology of the ancient and Islamic Near East and Arabia to Buddhism in South Asia and trade in the Indian Ocean, as well as the archaeology of the medieval, post-medieval and historic periods.

During the course, you will also develop your abilities and experience in areas such as the collection, management and analysis of archaeological data and materials, current archaeological approaches, methods and practice and the presentation of archaeological research.

Our MA in Archaeology will undoubtedly equip you for a wide range of careers in archaeology, cultural heritage management, research in the academic world, cultural research and journalism, as well as many other careers that have a cultural or heritage focus.

Core module

Research and Study Skills in Social Archaeology provides you with an understanding of the latest tools, skills and methods for learning, research and presentation in archaeology. You will be shown how to think critically about source material, how to use bibliographic research and resources such as libraries, databases, online sources as well as other sources including archives, grey literature and maps. You will be introduced to compiling and using databases, and the use of visual presentations, tools and conventions. Your dissertation will challenge you to practise, develop and demonstrate your research skills involving published literature and the compiling of new data on a specific research topic.

The Dissertation is an opportunity for you to carry out in depth research on a particular area of the course of your choice. Under the guidance of your assigned dissertation supervisor, you will familiarise yourself with published literature on your chosen topic, develop a research design, collect data and draw your own conclusions.

The remainder of the course will be made up of optional modules, including one from:

  • Practical Research and Study Skills
  • A credit-bearing language module

And two from:

  • Research Topics in Archaeology (choose either a single of double module)
  • Guided Study
  • Modules from other available Level 4 options offered within the Department of Archaeology (subject to approval)
  • Modules offered by another department (subject to approval)

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

All self-financing overseas students are required to pay a £1000 tuition fee deposit if an offer from the Department of Archaeology is accepted. The tuition fee deposit is paid before the University issues a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) number, which is required in order to apply for a visa.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Recruitment and Admissions