MSc in Archaeology


Program Description

The taught MSc in Archaeology offers a wide range of course options, which can be tailored to suit your particular interests and requirements.

You will acquire an in-depth understanding of the subject, particularly its history and development, and its links with historical, social and natural sciences. The flexibility of the programme structure allows you to tailor your studies to take full advantage of the wide range of specialist fields and periods of study that our staff can offer. You will explore contemporary theoretical perspectives and develop your academic and practical skills using current methodologies and practices in order to prepare for a professional role in archaeology or further studies at the doctoral level.

Studying in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology you will benefit from small-group seminars and individual supervision from nationally- and internationally-renowned scholars.

Breadth of expertise

We have a very wide range of expertise covering different areas, time periods and themes, including European and Mediterranean prehistory; Near Eastern archaeology and Egyptology; Byzantine archaeology; human and animal osteoarchaeology; scientific methods in archaeology; human evolution; Geographical Information Systems.

Programme structure

The programme comprises two semesters of weekly classes followed by a period of individual research leading to a dissertation.

The MSc lasts for 12 months from September to the end of August in the following year. To be awarded the MSc degree you must also complete a dissertation. A diploma option is also available, which requires completion of the taught courses alone.

The taught courses are worth a total of 120 credit points and are assessed by coursework. Provided you achieve the required standard, you will proceed to a period of individual research from May to August, resulting in a final dissertation worth a further 60 credits.

Taught courses

You will normally take six courses across two semesters of teaching, including three compulsory courses and a range of optional courses.

Research dissertation

You will undertake a research project and produce a dissertation which is submitted on an assigned date in mid-August.

Entry requirements

Find out about the admission criteria and required qualifications for the MSc in Archaeology.

You will need a UK 2:1 honours degree, US GPA 3.4 or another international equivalent, in a subject related to this programme, preferably Archaeology or Classical Archaeology, or another degree or combined degree in which Archaeology figures prominently (such as Anthropology in the case of applicants from the USA). We will also consider honours degrees in some other subjects such as History, Classics, Ancient History and Geography if your personal statement demonstrates how you are equipped to undertake the programme.

Relevant experience or professional or other qualifications will also be considered.

Equivalency of international qualifications

Guidance on the equivalency of international qualifications is provided by the International Office. If you are unsure of the equivalency of your degree, the International Office provides information by country.

English language requirements

If you do not come from a majority English-speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English.

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Alternatively, we may also be able to accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country for entry (as defined by UK Visas & Immigration), provided the degree is no more three years old at the beginning of your degree programme. In such cases, we may additionally require you to take the University’s Test of English at Matriculation (TEAM). This test is designed to highlight any weaknesses you may have with your English and tuition will be provided for you free of charge.


The programme equips you to go on to advanced study, and also provides a solid foundation for a career.

You will gain practical as well as academic experience, teamworking and analytical skills, and will be able to work in a variety of contexts.

Examples of career paths available to archaeology graduates (although some may require additional training) include higher education, heritage management and agencies, commercial archaeology, environmental assessment, schools (if combined with another subject), tourism/travel.

An archaeology degree does not, of course, restrict you to a career in archaeology. You may develop your own career pathway in unusual ways or branch into related fields while maintaining a lifelong interest and involvement in archaeological work and research.

Last updated Nov 2018

About the School

The School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh is one of the great world centres for the study of the human past. The School comprises the three subject areas of Histor ... Read More

The School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh is one of the great world centres for the study of the human past. The School comprises the three subject areas of History, Classics and Archaeology, together with the Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict, the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies and the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Read less