There are 180 credits in the MA by Research. All masters students take the same pathway of core modules:
‘Research Project’ (full year: 120 credits)
This core module includes a series of compulsory ‘Research skills’ sessions that run throughout the year, culminating in a 25,000-word thesis (120 credits).
Taught through a series of group workshops in the Autumn and Spring semesters, this module provides you with essential discipline-specific and key transferable skills including research design, project management and planning, data collection and analysis, written, oral and visual communication of research, and key IT skills. It is assessed by means of a ‘Research Portfolio’ which you build up through the year, as preparation for your independent research project. The course culminates in our annual Postgraduate Archaeology Conference, which is organised by our MSc and MA students (with staff support), where you will present your research to a wide and supportive audience.
The 25,000-word thesis will be on an archaeological topic of your choice, where you will undertake advanced research using primary scientific analysis of environmental or material archaeological evidence, and critical appreciation of the wider scholarship in your field. You will be provided with guidance and supervision from one or more members of staff, and your thesis will also be assessed by an independent external examiner.
‘Special Topic in Archaeology’ 1 and 2
The ‘Special Topic’ modules enable you to gain advanced knowledge and understanding of specific areas of archaeology by period or theme. You will choose your special topics in collaboration with the Postgraduate Admissions Tutor and supervisor. Topics will be taught individually or in small groups through seminars, tutorials and 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 staff.
Some potential topics are shown below, but special topics can often be created to suit students’ 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.
This is a small selection of the special topics modules that the Department of Classics and Archaeology offers at MA/MSc level. The themes discussed in each of these special topics are tailored to the interests of the participating students.
Britain and West Francia from the Carolingians to the Crusades, AD 600 - 1200
This “special topic” is structured on a thematic basis to enable detailed comparative analysis and study of the development of societies in Britain and West Francia (France and Belgium), between AD 600 and AD 1200. It examines the differences and similarities between the material culture of societies on both sides of the English Channel, and the range of responses to the same social forces between the period of Carolingian western European dominance to the time of the Angevin/Plantagenet empire, covering England, Wales and much of modern-day France. This period saw the transformation of Late Antique forms of government, the emergence of new elites and kingdoms, the political unification (for a short period) of Continental western Europe, the creation of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Kingdoms of England and France. It also witnessed profound changes in rural and urban settlement patterns, and social and economic transformation.
This “special topic” deals with the prehistory of Italy, from the Mesolithic to the first millennium BC. Teaching is by weekly seminar and subjects covered are tailored to the interests of students taking the topic.
Perspectives in Underwater Archaeology
This “special topic” deals with current methods & practice of Underwater Archaeology. It focuses on themes such as lake dwellings, shipwrecks, submerged cities and sunken harbours. Case studies range in space from Scandinavia to Australia and in time from 1500 BC to the last century. Among the issues tackled will be: methods and techniques of underwater excavation, post-excavation processing of underwater material, problems of conservation and wet finds processing, shipwrecks from 1200 BC: the ship as a symbol, sunken harbours, cities and processes of submergence, lake dwelling & freshwater archaeology, and cultural resource management vs. treasure hunting.
Perspectives in Aegean Archaeology
This "special topic" deals in-depth with the prehistory of the Aegean region from the end of the Neolithic period to the end of the Late Bronze Age. During the modules a wide range of issues will be discussed including (but not limited to) social, political and economic organisation, material culture, trade and exchange, the archaeologies of politics and ideology, cult and death, and the study of material data through textual evidence. Teaching is by weekly seminars and subjects covered are tailored to the interests of students taking the topic.
The City of Rome
This "special topic" aims to develop your research skills in the study of ancient Rome. You will be required to attend the British School at Rome's 'City of Rome' postgraduate course over eight weeks in April and May, dependent on successful application made the previous autumn. You will be expected to attend appropriate classes in the module 'The Ancient City', which will provide you with basic skills in urban topography, archaeology and visual culture. In Rome, half the time is spent visiting sites and half on a pre-agreed individual study. In addition, you will have individual meetings with staff at the British School at Rome, as well as weekly lectures from guest speakers.
Archaeology of Medieval Buildings
This "special topic" explores the development of building types in medieval England (c.1100-1500). We will examine the houses of lords, peasants and townspeople, churches and monasteries, exploring topics such as construction, function and the social use of space. Students will also gain wider knowledge of the discipline of buildings archaeology and practical skills in building recording and observation. Please see the MSc listing for more information on scientific topics.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.