Taught course


University of Cambridge · Division of Archaeology

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High 2:1 Honours Degree or its international equivalent.

Months of entry


Course content

Students may choose to specialise in any of the following options:

  • Archaeological Heritage and Museums
  • Archaeological Science
  • Archaeology of the Americas
  • Egyptian Archaeology
  • European Prehistory
  • Medieval Archaeology
  • Mesopotamian Archaeology
  • Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology
  • South Asian Archaeology.

All MPhil students in the Division of Archaeology take a Research Skills module and write a dissertation (15,000 words maximum). Students choosing Archaeology of the Americas, Egyptian Archaeology, European Archaeology, Medieval Archaeology, Mesopotamian Archaeology, Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology, or South Asian Archaeology take:

  • the Core Archaeology course
  • the appropriate area option course
  • any other module offered by the Division of Archaeology (in consultation with the supervisor and MPhil coordinator).

The Core Archaeology course introduces current debates in archaeological theory and the history of archaeological thought, as well as archaeological methods (ranging from the study of prehistoric exchange to bio-archaeological techniques to artefact studies, quantitative analyses and dating methods). Area option courses examine the archaeology of a particular region of the world (such as South Asia or Europe) in detail. Students are encouraged to choose a third module from the range of MPhil options on offer in the Division of Archaeology to complement their specific interests (eg heritage, science, material culture, etc). All module choices must have the approval of the module's instructor and the MPhil in Archaeology coordinator.

Students electing the Archaeological Heritage and Museums option will usually take the following three taught modules – although one can be substituted with an alternative offered by the Division of Archaeology and chosen in consultation with the supervisor and MPhil coordinator:

  • The Socio-politics of the Past
  • Museums: History, Theory, and Practice
  • Management of the Archaeological Heritage. This course concentrates on issues of differentiation of interpretation.

The topics are all of academic importance and the teaching focuses on a theoretical understanding of the issues involved, with practical examples used as case studies. The aim is to educate you within this expanding field and to activate further research.

Students choosing the Archaeological Science option will take:

  • Archaeological Science
  • Practical Application of Scientific Methods modules
  • One other module offered by the Division of Archaeology (chosen in consultation with the supervisor and MPhil Coordinator).

This course covers a broad range of scientific archaeological approaches with geo- and bioarchaeological foci, from theoretical, methodological and practical points of view. A series of recurrent case studies is used to introduce the questions, techniques and ideas applicable in each archaeological situation. In addition, this MPhil equips students with analytical skills in archaeological science.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil
    full time
    11 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details