Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

Archaeological Practice

This MA will introduce you to the major techniques, principal bodies of evidence, and central research themes and concepts deployed in archaeological practice. From this, you will develop a critical understanding of how contemporary archaeologists think, draw and write about material evidence. The programme aims to produce a new kind of professional - one who is theoretically aware but also grounded in the craft of archaeology - and will develop your capacity for interdisciplinary and innovative research in the field, based on critical and integrated study of landscape, architecture and material culture. Context, and an engagement with material and historical conditions, are crucial to this work-based training. London is key to the history of archaeology in Britain and this programme explores that history, from public demand for archaeological intervention when bomb damage from the Second World War was cleared, to modern developer-funded archaeology. Practice-based teaching will focus on the archives of the Museum of London and the British Museum's collections. You will further your practical experience on field trips and a tailor-made excavation programme, 'Buried Humanities'. The curriculum of this module is linked directly to the prehistoric past and will extend outwards from the city in order to compare and contrast the detailed accounts of the Thames Valley with the archaeology of the East Anglian fens. You will examine the different types of knowledge of prehistory found in site reports, the regional knowledge found in monographs and popular works of synthesis. By the end of the programme, you will have developed your own research agenda in dealing with archaeological evidence, and the confidence to read and interpret primary evidence in archives, collections, excavation and the landscape. A crucial concern is the value of archaeology in the world and the kinds of community that participate in its practice, and you will graduate with the ability to implement creative archaeological projects within the communities that now live in the landscapes archaeologists study. **HIGHLIGHTS** - Arts and humanities at Birkbeck are ranked fifth best in London, 18th in the UK and 87th globally in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject. - In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), History at Birkbeck was ranked sixth in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. Of our eligible staff, 94% submitted research, and we achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research. - Our Department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. - We are also at the heart of academic London with access to world-class research resources. We are five minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, and the Institute of Historical Research - with its internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend - is nearby. The Museum of London is a short tube ride away. - The Eric Hobsbawm Postgraduate Scholarship fund offers a full fee-waiver for Home, EU and Overseas Master's students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology (part-time awards are pro-rata). - Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

Entry requirements

MA: Applicants are expected to have achieved a second-class honours BA. We also offer a 1-year Graduate Certificate in History, which can be used as a conversion course if you want to study at postgraduate level, but have a degree in a significantly different discipline.

Course modules

For information about course structure and the modules you will be studying, please visit Birkbeck's online prospectus.

Assessment methods

Entirely by coursework: a 5000-5500-word essay for each option module and a 15,000-16,000-word dissertation.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2019 8,350 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 8,350 per Year 1 (Wales) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 15,200 per Year 1 (International) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 8,350 per Year 1 (England) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 8,350 per Year 1 (EU) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 8,350 per Year 1 (Scotland) 1 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 4,175 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 4,175 per Year 1 (EU) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 7,600 per Year 1 (International) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 4,175 per Year 1 (England) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 4,175 per Year 1 (Wales) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 4,175 per Year 1 (Scotland) 2 Years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Bloomsbury Campus WC1E 7HX London

Get in touch

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Key information

Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
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