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Research overview

If you are looking to prepare for a PhD in Archaeology, or for further career development in archaeology and heritage, this course is ideal.

You will gain an advanced understanding of specific areas of archaeology, from British and Mediterranean prehistory to medieval houses and castles. You can then enjoy the flexibility to follow your own specialist pathway, supported by our expert staff.

Our teaching is drawn from a diverse range of expertise, including:

  • Old-World Prehistory
  • The ancient Mediterranean and the Roman world
  • Medieval and Post-Medieval Europe
  • Bioarchaeology and archaeological materials

We work closely with the British Geological Survey, University Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre, and the University Museum, where you can benefit from using the specialist facilities and collections in your research.

You are also very welcome to join the activities and events held by our specialist research centres.

Course content

This course is made up of 180 credits.

  • Full-time students complete 180 credits in a year.
  • Part-time students complete 180 credits over two years. You will complete the taught component of the programme (the two core modules and one optional module, as above) in the first year of study. Part-time students are expected to complete the 25,000 word dissertation during the second year of their study.

You will take two Special Topic modules, one in each semester.

Two ‘Special Topic’ modules enable you to gain advanced knowledge and understanding of specific areas of archaeology by period or theme and/or archaeological science (as appropriate). You will choose your special topics in collaboration with the departmental Director of Postgraduate Studies, the departmental Postgraduate Admissions Tutor and your principal supervisor.

Topics will be taught individually or in small groups through seminars, tutorials or laboratory sessions, assessed through a combination of written essays and assignments, or practical lab tests and reports, as appropriate to the subject. They may be taught through participation in undergraduate lectures or practicals in addition to following a course of guided reading and study under the supervision of a member of academic staff.

Potential topics can include:

  • Aegean Prehistory
  • Mediterranean prehistory
  • Spartan archaeology and history
  • The Celts
  • Underwater and maritime archaeology
  • Greek and Roman painting
  • Roman Britain
  • Rome and the Mediterranean
  • Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean
  • Castles and Great Houses

Additional special topics can often be created to suit your individual needs and interests – please contact the department before making your application to discuss your specific requirements, and the topics that may be offered in any particular year. 

Each module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

You will also choose one of the following 20-credit faculty-wide optional modules:

This module has been developed to introduce you to a range of research techniques and methodologies. It will also help you develop a variety of valuable transferable skills for your future career.

You will achieve:

  • greater confidence in dealing with original research
  • a recognition of the huge range of approaches that can be used to address research questions.

We build on the research skills you have already developed during both your undergraduate degree and discipline-specific MA modules. The emphasis is on:

  • ensuring you are possessed of a range of practical ways to approach research
  • making you think about the nature of your discipline-specific approaches within a context of growing interdisciplinarity.

You will have the chance to consider topics as varied as:

  • academic publishing
  • digital transformations
  • use of illustrations in dissertations.

You will also have the opportunity to hear academics from across the Faculty talk about the problems they have confronted and how they overcame them.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Mastering the Arts introductory video 

We will help you to apply your arts MA across society to enhance your career and contribute to wider society.

We'll demonstrate how the arts can be used to:

  • transform society, politics and culture
  • enhance the careers of arts and humanities MA students.

You'll be able to explore, explain and then detail how your disciplinary skills can impact upon wider issues to emphasise the applicability of the arts and humanities. From the role of the scholar activist to understanding ‘knowledge transfer’ and ‘public engagement’, you'll develop professional skills in preparation for a career within academia or across a range of sectors.

You will:

  • harness the ways in which the arts and humanities enable us to think differently and to innovate
  • work on issues of research, networking, grant-writing and cultural exchange
  • learn how to engage, communicate and create.

This module is worth 20 credits.

 

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

You will complete a 120 credit dissertation:

You will complete a 120-credit, 25,000 word dissertation during the summer. This will include a major piece of original archaeological research and will be supervised by two academic members of staff with expertise in your chosen field.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

QualificationMRes
Undergraduate degree

2:1 (or international equivalent) in Archaeology.

Students with other relevant qualifications (i.e. History, Classics, Art History) or experience will be considered on an individual basis.

QualificationMRes
Undergraduate degree

2:1 (or international equivalent) in Archaeology.

Students with other relevant qualifications (ie History, Classics, Art History) or experience will be considered on an individual basis.

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

English language support

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

For presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.

Applying

Our areas of teaching and research expertise include:

Prehistoric archaeology

Our members of staff research and teach in many different fields of Old World prehistory, ranging from human evolution in Africa and Europe, to the development of more complex societies in later prehistory. Members of staff have particular strengths in early hominin palaeoecology, the study of Neolithic to Iron Age societies in the Mediterranean, and Iron Age communities in Atlantic Europe and Scandinavia.

Mediterranean Archaeology

You can study many different aspects of the archaeology of Mediterranean society. We have particular strengths in prehistoric Mediterranean archaeology, from prehistoric Italy (Neolithic to Iron Age), to Bronze Age Aegean (Minoan and Mycenaean archaeology) and the Early Iron Age of Greece. Specialists in this field work with landscape archaeology, burials, and material culture. Nottingham is also the world’s centre of excellence for the study of the archaeology and history of Sparta and the Peloponnese, Greece. We also have specialists in the archaeology of the classical Mediterranean and the Roman Empire, and the period of Late Antiquity and the transition to the early medieval world. Students will be able to study a range of different types of archaeological evidence including burials, monuments, landscapes, cities, forts and material culture.

Roman Archaeology

You can study many different aspects of the archaeology of the Roman World, from the Mediterranean world and the City of Rome, to Britain and the North-Western provinces, to the Balkans and the eastern Empire. Our teaching and research ranges from the high point of the Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd centuries, to the transformation of the late Roman Empire and the period of Late Antiquity. Students studying the City of Rome topic (20 credits) have the opportunity to apply to spend one semester at the British School in Rome.

Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology

Nottingham has one of the UK’s largest concentrations of specialists in medieval archaeology. We have members of staff researching and teaching in the periods of both early medieval (Anglo-Saxon and Viking) and later medieval and post-medieval (from the Norman Conquest to the Renaissance), and students can study topics across this range or choose to specialise in one period. We have expertise in the study of landscape and settlement archaeology, the archaeology of standing buildings, and medieval topics in bioarchaeology.

Social Bioarchaeology – People, Plants and Animals

Our department is a recognised centre of excellence in the innovative study of social bioarchaeology and the interaction of humans, plants and animals in their wider landscape and environmental context. Staff members specialise in palaeoanthropology and zooarchaeology across regions and time-periods ranging from the Palaeolithic to Roman to Post-Medieval Europe. You are provided with a practical, methodological and theoretical grounding in bioarchaeology, allowing you to develop core practical and analytical skills to enable you to undertake independent study of environmental evidence for their dissertation and to pursue a career as a specialist in the field.

Archaeological Materials

You have the opportunity to combine archaeology and science in the investigation of ancient materials and pyrotechnologies. You can study the archaeological, ethnographic and scientific aspects of materials – primarily glass – choosing to specialise in particular methods and techniques or taking a broader comparative approach. To undertake an independent research project in archaeological materials, you will be taught core practical and analytical skills to enable you to undertake primary scientific analysis using a wide range of techniques and approaches.

Visit the Department of Classics and Archaeology website to find out more about our research and teaching profile.

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area.

Details of academic staff.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply

Fees

QualificationMRes
Home / UK£4,496 (estimate)
International£19,000

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. The figures shown above match the limit for 2020 entry. We expect fees for 2021 entry to be confirmed in February 2021.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

Books

You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (i.e. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith).

Funding

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding your postgraduate degree.

Research funding

Support

Flexible study

As teaching is largely undertaken through individual tutorials or small groups, there is a great deal of flexibility to organise your time around existing commitments.

Every week you will attend lectures and participate in small group seminars. During the year, you will have regular meetings (at least 10 recorded ones) with your supervisors to discuss your dissertation.

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy supports all postgraduate researchers at the University.

You can develop your research skills through:

  • paid work placements
  • training courses
  • public engagement opportunities

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Where you will learn

Archaeology MRes – Study in our dedicated labs

Take advantage of our five research laboratories, the large collection of ancient coins and the in-house Digital Transformations Hub.

Careers

Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

This course will develop key transferable skills, including:

  • research
  • critical thinking and analysis
  • interpretation of evidence
  • application of theoretical and scientific principles to problems
  • communication

It is ideal preparation for a research career in Archaeology, following the suggested model of one year research training plus 3-year PhD favoured by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

See our career opportunities webpage for more.

78.4 % of postgraduates from the Faculty of Arts secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £23,045*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

This course allows you to develop advanced knowledge and understanding of specific areas of archaeology by following a personalised, individual study pathway. It offers systematic research training for students intending to pursue a PhD or a career in which an excellent understanding of research methods is essential.
Dr Chrysanthi Gallou, Director of PG Studies

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • 97% of research in Archaeology is rated of international standard
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 27 November 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.