Taught course

Archaeological and Heritage Practice

Royal Agricultural University · Royal Agricultural University

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Entry requirements

Applicants should usually possess a degree in subject areas related to heritage, archaeology, history, land management, planning or geography at Lower Second (2.2) or higher. If you have no formal qualifications it may also be possible to join the programme based on extensive relevant work experience corresponding in level to a relevant undergraduate honours degree. In all cases entry is subject to a satisfactory interview either in person or via Skype/Zoom or similar platforms.

Months of entry


Course content

Our past is all around us. This dynamic programme is about the discovery, investigation, recording and interpretation of that past. The course is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills to work effectively in applied Archaeology and Heritage across the commercial, charitable and governmental heritage sector.

Designed in collaboration with professional archaeologists and heritage managers, and with tutors drawn from across industry and academia, this course provides a distinctive and balanced insight into the operation of the heritage sector while helping you identify and gain the knowledge and transferable skills which will boost your career.

You will benefit from a programme that critically considers contemporary issues, challenges and developments in archaeology and heritage, providing you with a robust philosophical, theoretical and ethical framework. You will gain a toolbox of skills from project management to remote sensing to the recording and analysis of historic buildings. This will help you to engage with the practice of archaeology in the UK and Internationally and adapt to rapid social, economic and environmental change.

Overall the programme will prepare you for, or further develop, a career in archaeology and applied heritage through reflective practice, the growth of intellectual skills and an ethos of life-long learning. You will be able to demonstrate adaptability, initiative and originality alongside accountability, integrity and ethical judgement.

This programme is delivered by a blend of intensive tuition in Swindon interspersed with online learning, tutorials and the opportunity to collaborate with tutors and other students. It is a highly flexible programme designed to fit around your working life.
The CHI emphasises an exciting hands-on collaborative learning style where you are encouraged and enabled to contribute to knowledge generation and communication. The goal is to grow confidence and support your transition to a professional role.
There will be plenty of academic support with face-to-face live lectures, seminars and studio sessions where you will discuss, challenge and create. The tutors are all heritage professionals with considerable experience in both academia and the heritage sector. You will also work with, and be mentored by, our Professional Fellows who are embedded in archaeological and heritage organisations.
Course structure
The programme consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation or professional product.
The taught modules include four which are a compulsory core and four selected from a further eight options. Students have the choice of replacing one option module with a work-based learning project which has an agreed outcome or product. Assessments are very varied but all involve different forms of course work.
In addition to the taught modules you will produce either an academic dissertation focusing on a particular research topic of interest to you or a professional product of comparable standard and complexity such as a site report, landscape study or a conservation management plan. In either case your dissertation allows you to showcase the skills acquired and can provide springboard to further research or employment.
You will be encouraged to take a wide, contextual, view of Archaeological and Heritage Practice and will be aware of a wide range of pervasive issues which are expected to re-occur throughout the programme. These include sustainability, diversity, innovation, creativity, enterprise, knowledge management and risk management.
Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and societies activities.
  • 4701 Archaeological Landscape Investigation, Survey & Recording
  • 4702 The Practice of Archaeology
  • 4703 Cultural Heritage Research: Design, Methodology & Management
  • 4704 Survey, Recording and Analysis of Historic Buildings
  • 4705 Exploring Artefacts and Materialities
  • 4710 The Challenge of Change: Context, Significance, Planning Policy & Law
  • 4711 Management & Leadership for Cultural Heritage
  • 4712 Archaeological Excavation: From Planning to Publication
  • 4700 Dissertation

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details

Dr Geraint Coles