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MSc in Archaeological Science

Different course options

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MSc - Master of Science

Subject areas

Archaeological Sciences

Course type


Course Summary

About the course

The MSc in Archaeological Science provides a broad introductory education for those with a first degree in archaeology wishing to apply science-based research methods, or for those with a first degree in a science subject wishing to learn about specifically archaeological issues amenable to scientific methods.

The MSc in Archaeological Science is designed to give a broad but detailed grounding in the theory as well as practical experience in the major applications of science in archaeology. It is intended for archaeologists or scientists who wish to go on to undertake research in archaeological science, or archaeologists who intend to pursue a career in the management of archaeological projects or become policy makers in this area and would like to have a sound understanding of the potential of science to elucidate archaeological problems. The MSc also acts as preliminary training for doctoral research.

The MSc in Archaeological Science is based on the research strengths of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology. The MSc consists of three elements taught over two nine-week terms, comprising materials analysis and the study of technological change, molecular bioarchaeology, and principles and practice of scientific dating, plus a five month research project chosen in consultation with the supervisor. The pre-set essay(s) and research project provide opportunity for specialisation within these areas.

Most students study all three archaeological science options, but it is possible to replace one of these with an option from the MSt in Classical Archaeology run by the school.


The archaeological science options are assessed in early May by written examination, plus a 10,000-word extended essay. Options taken from other master's degrees in archaeology are examined by a pair of 5,000-word pre-set essays, and the remaining options in archaeological science require only one 5,000 word pre-set essay. Students submit a 15,000- to 20,000-word dissertation on their research project in mid September.

A viva voce examination may be held and students' workbooks may also be examined at the discretion of the examiners.

Graduate destinations

Many graduates from the MSc in Archaeological Science continue to further degree programmes in Archaeology, especially at Oxford, or to careers in archaeological project management or more generally in commercial archaeology, industry and heritage management.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications: a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in archaeology or a science subject¹. Under the UK system, applicants should have a minimum of 65% in their degree. However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree (> 70%) or the equivalent. For applicants with a degree from the USA in archaeology or a related subject, the minimum overall GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0. However, most successful applicants have an overall GPA of 3.7 or above.