- Duration: 1 year
- Mode: Full time
Why study this course
Pursue your passion for British, European and Mediterranean archaeology whilst developing key archaeological and historical skills, guided by our renowned specialists.
Depth and breadth
You'll receive training in research methods and skills, with wide option choice by region, period and method-base.
Get research ready
Gain dedicated training in research planning, vitally including its effective communication.
Our MA Archaeology programme is designed to develop proficiency in fundamental archaeological and historical skills and build your understanding of key periods of the human past.
Our optional modules provide the opportunity to deepen your understanding of British, European and Mediterranean archaeology. We give you the opportunity to work with archaeological artefacts to understand ancient technologies as part of our optional module range. Much more than this, you will build an understanding of the heritage profession, developing skills in the communication of heritage and its public benefit.
Studying in a supportive and nurturing environment, you join a community of researchers undertaking cutting-edge archaeological research where science, theory and practice converge to create a unique environment for exploring the past.
Building up research experience in our archaeological laboratories through opportunities to work closely with leading researchers on a range of projects, you will explore a topic of real interest to you in your own individual research project, supported by an experienced supervisor.
Ideal preparation for the next step at doctoral level, our well-established master’s degree will equip you to develop your career in professional archaeology, the heritage sector or connected fields.
Celebrating the centenary of Archaeology and Conservation in 2020, we’re ranked in the world top 150 (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021) while our research ranked 12th among archaeology departments in the UK (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
Where you'll study
Curious about the human experience across millennia and cultures, we are seeking to better understand our past, to illuminate our present and improve our future.
Typically, you will need to have either:
- a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as ancient history, archaeology, conservation, heritage, history, or an equivalent international degree
- a university-recognised equivalent academic qualification
- or relevant professional experience evidenced by a reference. The reference must be provided by your employer to evidence that you currently work in an area relevant to the programme. This should be signed, dated and less than six months old at the time you submit your application.
English Language requirements:
IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 6.0 in all subskills, or an accepted equivalent.
We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible.
We will review your application and if you meet the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.
Find out more about English language requirements.
Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.
If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
This is a full time course that takes one year to complete.
You will take two core modules (40 credits) and four optional modules (80 credits). The options you take will depend on the pathway you choose.
On successful completion of the taught course element you will go on to complete your dissertation (60 credits). This takes the form of an individual research project, resulting in a dissertation of around 15,000 words.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/24 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Postgraduate Skills in Archaeology and Conservation||HST500||20 credits|
|Skills and Methods for Postgraduate Study||HST900||20 credits|
|MA Archaeology Dissertation||HST590||60 credits|
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|The Archaeology of Death and Commemoration||HST060||20 credits|
|Heritage, Community Action and Public Engagement||HST078||20 credits|
|Later Prehistory of Britain||HST087||20 credits|
|Themes and Methods in Medieval Archaeology||HST090||20 credits|
|Collection Care in the Museum Environment||HST343||20 credits|
|Special Topic: The Ancient World||HST452||20 credits|
|Artefact Illustration||HST929||20 credits|
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.
Learning and assessment
How will I be taught?
You will be taught through a mix of seminars, lectures, tutorials and practicals in the archaeology laboratories.
As part of the programme, you will deliver presentations to your fellow MA students within our supportive community.
How will I be assessed?
Taught stage assessment is via essays, presentation and coursework.
On successful completion of the taught elements of the programme you progress to a dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a topic or theme of your choice (subject to the approval of your supervisor).
This self-regulated year of study is ideal preparation for progression to PhD.
How will I be supported?
You are assigned your own personal tutor.
We offer one-to-one time in set office hours during teaching weeks, and also welcome email contact. Additionally, you can make appointments to see your personal tutor or module leaders on a one-to-one basis about any issues. Our Professional Services team is also available for advice and support.
Discussion of assignments is offered and written feedback is provided on summative assessment. You are encouraged to discuss your ideas with module tutors both in seminars and one-to-one in office hours.
Your personal tutor is your contact point to discuss any problems arising from the course. Further queries should be addressed to the Course Director.
Feedback on coursework may be provided via written comments on work submitted, by provision of ‘model’ answers and/or through discussion in contact sessions.
What skills will I practise and develop?
- Intellectual skills, including the ability to critically evaluate evidence and its interpretation and to be tolerant of differing interpretations; to sustain a logical argument and reach a conclusion that can be defended; to synthesise and analyse information; to compare and contrast theoretical explanations and to integrate different methodologies.
- Communication skills, including the ability to communicate orally in an appropriate professional medium; to make presentations both as an individual and as part of a group; to write effectively at an advanced level.
- Numeracy skills, including the ability to display and present numerical data in appropriate formats; and to analyse numerical data and solve basic mathematical and statistical problems.
- Information technology skills, including the ability to produce and calculate values using a spreadsheet; to produce and query databases; to use e-mail, the Internet and the World Wide Web; to find, manage and utilise information and data.
- Personal skills, including the ability to manage workloads; to adapt and apply skills to new contexts; to assess and formulate priorities, constraints and goals and to adapt to changing circumstances.
Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Fees for home status
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Fees for island status
Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
Graduates of this and similar degree programmes have embarked on careers in a range of professions from archaeology, academia, the heritage sector, journalism and law to media, research (media, commercial, academic), teaching and publishing. A significant number choose to continue studies at PhD level.
Recent graduate destinations include Cadw, Church in Wales, Council for British Archaeology, Glamorgan Archives, Heritage Lottery Fund, National Trust, Tate Gallery, Welsh Assembly Government and a range of universities in the UK and overseas.
Other course options
HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.