MA Research in Archaeology

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  • Objectives
    Our flexible MA Research in Archaeology is designed to give you the advanced skills and the knowledge you need for doctoral research or professional development, in a friendly, world-class research environment.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry requirements First or good second class Honours degree or equivalent in Archaeology or other relevant fields. Students with little or no background in archaeological theory are required to take a module in this subject.
  • Academic title
    MA Research in Archaeology
  • Course description
    This new MA offers you the opportunity to develop your personal
    research interests under the guidance of supervisors of your choice.
    Through tutorials with leading archaeologists in the field, you will
    be taught in a friendly, vibrant 5* Department with an international
    reputation for excellence in teaching and research, and state-of-theart

    You will be supervised by highly successful and research-active staff
    who are internationally renowned in their subject areas, including
    Professors Bradley, Fulford, Gilchrist and Mithen. We are committed
    to student-centred learning, and the Department has recently been
    designated as a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
    This flexible programme is taught primarily by individual tutorials,
    supported by seminars and classes that enable you to develop wider
    understanding of current methods and theories in archaeology. For
    those currently employed, this module can be studied on a parttime

    You will write three essays and a dissertation and take part in seminars,
    dissertation workshops and a Masters’ Conference. Through these
    you will develop subject-specific and transferable skills in: research
    design and management; critical analytical writing and argument;
    evaluation of complex data, issues and concepts; preparing a paper
    for publication; conference presentation and continuing professional
    development. ICT skills may be gained through additional courses.
    You can develop interdisciplinary research directions by combining
    topics for essay modules and the dissertation, with guidance and
    supervision by one or more staff members.

    Periods & topics

    Our particular areas of expertise lie
    in periods and regions including:

    • Palaeolithic
    • Mesolithic
    • Neolithic
    • Bronze Age
    • Iron Age
    • Classical
    • Roman
    • Medieval
    • Post-Medieval
    • Britain and
    • Ireland
    • Europe
    • Mediterranean
    • Near East
    • Americas

    These are some of the themes and
    topics that you can study:

    • evolution of the human mind
    and language
    • origins of agriculture
    • ritual, religion and belief
    • social identity, gender, life cycle
    • burial archaeology
    • palaeopathology
    • dietary analysis
    • migration
    • material culture
    • buildings, settlement, urbanism
    • social complexity
    • environment and landscape
    • geoarchaeology
    • archaeological prospection
    • archaeological chronology
    • forensic anthropology
    • forensic geoscience


    The programme can be followed full-time (one year) or part-time (two years).
    It consists of six modules across three categories.

    Essay modules

    Essay module 1
    (Autumn: 20 credits)
    This module enables you to gain indepth
    knowledge and understanding
    of issues and approaches in a particular
    archaeological subject. You will
    research and write an extended
    essay on a topic of your choice, with
    guidance, discussion and tutorials
    from staff who are experts in the
    subject area.
    Essay module 2
    (Spring: 20 credits)
    Essay module 3
    (Spring: 20 credits)
    You will be able to develop and to
    progress in your research skills through
    writing two further essays on topics
    of your choice, with the benefit of indepth
    feedback from your tutors on
    each essay.

    Seminar module

    Seminar presentation
    (Autumn and Spring: 10 credits)
    This module aims to develop key
    skills in oral presentation and debate
    in seminars on a range of topics, like
    those on the opposite page. You will
    give an oral presentation on a topic
    of your choice, with guidance and
    supervision from staff in tutorials.
    The seminar discussion group will
    comprise students and staff.
    In addition to this module, you will
    be a member of at least one of the
    Department’s research groups
    (Prehistory; Historic Archaeology;
    and Archaeological Science), and
    expected to participate in their
    reading groups as well as the main
    Departmental research seminars.

    Dissertation module

    Dissertation workshops
    and dissertation

    (Workshops Spring: 10 credits;
    Dissertation Summer: 100 credits)
    The dissertation workshops in the
    Spring term provide you with
    advanced skills for independent
    research and writing of a dissertation
    in the Summer Term and Summer

    The workshops develop subjectspecific
    and transferable skills in:
    research design and management;
    writing proposals; critical analysis;
    cogent argument; preparing a paper
    for publication; and continuing
    professional development. ICT skills
    may be gained through additional

    The Masters’ Conference is an
    important opportunity for you to
    present your dissertation research
    and to receive feedback on it. It also
    enables you to see the breadth and
    depth of Masters’ research at Reading.
    The dissertation is on an
    archaeological topic of your choice,
    with guidance and supervision from
    staff with internationally recognised
    expertise in the subject.

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