University of York

University of York

Early Prehistory

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in human origins, human evolution and what defines us as a species. Most students taking the course have a degree in archaeology or a related subject. However, people with relevant experience or a passionate interest in the subject may also be admitted to the course. If you are interested in what it means to be human, where we came from and how humans developed and adapted, the MSC in Early Prehistory is for you. You will work alongside the UK's foremost academics in early prehistory to delve into the origins of humanity and explore the evolution of cultures, customs, religions, art and technology. The flexible nature of the course enables you to pursue your own particular interests. The archaeology of human origins is a fascinating and dynamic area of research, with new evidence and theories constantly changing our interpretation of who we are.

Entry requirements

A good Honours degree (upper 2nd or 1st Class) or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution in archaeology, anthropology or a related field. Mature students or those with less conventional qualifications but with relevant experience in this field will be considered. If you're a non-native English speaking applicant you must provide evidence of your English language ability. You need to show enough fluency in all aspects of English (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to the required level of the course you're applying to.

Course modules

Modules include: Becoming human (evolving minds and societies); hunting and gathering societies; research for dissertation and an assessed lecture on the dissertation topic. Students study 2 further 20-credit modules: Narrating our pasts; bone and bones; human evolutionary anatomy; primate ecology and evolution; the archaeology of human bones; concepts of landscape; mesolithic theory and interpretation; analysis and visualisation; ancient biomolecules; zooarchaeology in context. Students also choose 4 shorter 'skills' modules: Bone taphonomy; artefacts; working on the web; database design and implementation; geoarchaeology; zooarchaeology (exploring the assemblage); human bone practical skills 1; human bone practical skills 2.

Sponsorship information

A range of scholarships and studentships are available at postgraduate level. Some scholarships are funded by the University (such as the York Master's Opportunity Scholarship) and some are funded by Research Councils, alumni, businesses and charities. Please check with the provider for details.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MSc Full-time September 2016 - 1 years
MSc Part-time September 2016 - 2 years
PgCert Part-time September 2016 - 1 years
PgCert Full-time September 2016 - 1 years
PgDip Full-time September 2016 - 1 years
PgDip Part-time September 2016 - 2 years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
University of York York YO10 5DD Yorkshire and the Humber

Key information

Postgraduate Administrator
Telephone number: 
01904 323963