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MA Early Prehistory and Human Origins

MA Early Prehistory and Human Origins

Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas


Course type


Course Summary

The archaeology of human origins is a fascinating and dynamic area of research, with new evidence and theories constantly changing our interpretation of who we are.

On this course you'll explore the archaeology and approaches to human origins whilst working alongside internationally renowned specialists in early prehistoric archaeology and human evolution. You'll have the opportunity to work on pioneering studies with the potential for significant media exposure and gain ‘hands on’ experience of museum collections at the York Museum. You'll be able to select modules to allow you to explore your own research interests and have the chance to visit Upper Palaeolithic rock art on a field trip to Creswell Crags.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Careers and skills

This course offers a broad range of essential skills and expertise, specialist knowledge and insight, which are relevant to a wide variety of careers or further study. Many of our students go on to pursue research at PhD level while others have taken up careers in heritage, conservation, the archaeology sector and academia.

Different course options

Full time | University of York | 1 year | 28-SEP-20

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date



In this course we consider the fascinating question of what it means to be human. We ask is if there are critical characteristics of humans which mark us as different from other species, and how, when and where we might identify them in the archaeological record. We address human societies from those of our common ancestor with chimpanzees, to early human activities 2 million years ago in East Africa, Homo ergaster and Homo heidelbergensis and lastly Neanderthals. We question the key changes taking place in each period and in each consider what defining patterns of humanity we might identify emerging within the archaeological record. We aim to provide a broad understanding of the key phases in the evolution of 'humanity' and a critical awareness of how the evidence is interpreted.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Undergraduate degree: 2:1 or equivalent in Archaeology, Anthropology or a related field; Other qualifications and experience: Mature students or those with less conventional qualifications but with relevant experience in this field will be considered.