Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

Archaeological Practice

This Master's degree in archaeology 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 bridges the perceived divide between theory and practice in archaeological fieldwork and cultural resource management and aims to produce a new kind of professional: one who is theoretically aware but also grounded in the craft of archaeology. In doing so, the programme will develop your capacity for interdisciplinary and innovative research in the field, based on a more critical and integrated study of landscape, architecture and material culture. Context, and an engagement with material and historical conditions, is 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 learning through practical experience on field-trips and a tailor-made Birkbeck 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 the works of synthesis more popular in the academy. By the end of the programme, you will have developed your own research agenda in dealing with archaeological evidence. You will have confidence in your skills of reading and interpreting primary evidence, allowing you to break open the materials in archives, collections, excavation and the landscape. A crucial concern on this programme 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.

Entry requirements

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. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English: IELTS Academic Test score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course modules

Core module:

Themes and Concepts in Archaeology .

MA Archaeological Practice dissertation

Indicative option modules:

Archaeological Architecture;
Athens: Material Culture Approaches to the Classical City;
Between Words and Walls: Housing in the Graeco-Roman World;
Field school: Buried Humanities;
Frameworks for Archaeology: Curatorial Archaeology in England;
From temples to museums: post-classical encounters with classical antiquities;
Material Worlds;
The City of Rome: Ancient to Medieval;
The Edge of Empire: The Archaeology of Roman Frontiers .

Assessment methods

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

Qualifications

Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 7,950 per Year 1 (EU) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 7,950 per Year 1 (England) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 14,450 per Year 1 (International) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 7,950 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 7,950 per Year 1 (Scotland) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 7,950 per Year 1 (Wales) 1 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (EU) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (England) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 7,225 per Year 1 (International) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (Scotland) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (Wales) 2 years
MA Full-time October 2017 - 1 years
MA Part-time October 2017 - 2 years

Campus details

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

Get in touch

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Key information

Contact: 
Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Telephone number: 
020 7631 6268