MA in Cultural Archaeology

General

Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The University is monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and its impact, and doing all we can to make safe and reassure prospective students. For more detailed information we are regularly updating our FAQs for future students to include the most up to date advice.

This programme focuses on cultural interpretation in archaeology, both in relation to specific cultures/periods and current research themes.

There are opportunities to specialise in a range of subjects, including material culture studies, funerary archaeology, British and European prehistory, Greek and Roman archaeology, and thematic areas relevant to all periods and regions of archaeological study such as environment, landscape, material culture, death and burial, age and gender, warfare, ritual and religion, and archaeological theory and method.

It is an ideal foundation for doctoral research in all fields of cultural archaeology, as well as training in practical and research skills for careers in archaeology and heritage.

The course structure combines the advantages of training in technical and methodological areas, gaining in-depth knowledge of particular thematic, period-based and/or geographical fields of archaeological study, with the freedom to pursue your own research interests through your Master's dissertation project.

Why Study this Course?

The programme benefits from outstanding learning resources and the wider context of postgraduate study within the department and university, notably:

  • Exceptional learning resources – you will have access to a range of learning resources including environmental and material culture teaching collections, the Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology Museum, and the Danford Collection of African art and artefacts.
  • Extensive library collections – the University Library holds excellent Archaeology collections covering an extremely wide range of archaeological themes, subjects, periods and geographical areas.
  • Be a part of an exciting department – you will join a lively postgraduate community with many opportunities to enhance your learning from events, research seminars and conferences; there is always something happening in the Department.
  • Access to academic support services – as a postgraduate student you will have access to services such as the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Bank of Assessed Work which will aid your transition from undergraduate to postgraduate level, or back into academia after a time away.

Modules

Core modules

You will study three core modules:

  • Archaeological Theory, Method and Interpretation
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Material Culture

Optional modules

  • Archaeology of Greece
  • Byzantine Archaeology and Material Culture
  • Creating Europe: Complex Societies 1000 BC-AD 1000
  • Empire and Identity
  • Field Survey
  • Heritage Conservation Management

Dissertation

In addition to your taught modules, MA students will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a supervisor, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.

Assessment

Students are encouraged to develop a broad range of transferable skills during the course. These include familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the ability to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; analytical rigour; confident oral presentation; and the capacity for critical argument and debate. Research training is also provided for all postgraduate students.

Modules are typically assessed by written assignment, with the exception of Archaeological Theory, Method and Interpretation which also requires a presentation. MA students also complete a supervised 15,000-word dissertation.

Teaching and Assessment

Cultural Archaeology students attend a wide range of seminars, lectures, and classes as part of their taught modules, potentially including computer suite-based classes, a survey field school, and study visits, depending on the modules selected.

Course delivery

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation.

Dissertation research is conducted independently, guided by a supervisor selected for their expertise and experience relevant to your project, with supervisory meetings taking place on a regular basis.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £9,250 full-time; £4,625 part-time
  • International: £19,170 full-time

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to the financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course.

How To Apply

Application deadlines

The deadline for international students to apply is Wednesday 1 July 2020. The deadline for UK/EU students is Thursday 10 September 2020.

Our Standard Requirements

We normally require a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) for the MA programme or a 2:2 degree (or equivalent) for the Diploma and Certificate programmes, in Archaeology or a related discipline.

International/EU students

  • Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.
  • English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - Minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

Birmingham's Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Many of our postgraduates enter roles for which their programme has especially prepared them, such as a museum, heritage and archaeological posts. Elsewhere, a range of professions is undertaken by our graduates, including fundraising, publishing, teaching and accountancy. Over the past 5 years, 82% of Arts and Law postgraduates were in work and/or further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE 2012 - 2017).

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

Our College of Arts and Law Graduate School is a vibrant international community of over 1500 postgraduate students. We benefit from excellent research resources and a supportive environment that allo ... Read More

Our College of Arts and Law Graduate School is a vibrant international community of over 1500 postgraduate students. We benefit from excellent research resources and a supportive environment that allows your research to flourish. Located in the Arts building at the main Edgbaston campus, our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice whenever you need it. Read less