You will study three core modules:
- Archaeological Theory, Method and Interpretation
- Material Culture
- Funerary Archaeology
In addition, MA and Diploma students choose three optional modules from a wide range of subjects including landscape archaeology, late prehistoric Europe, Greek archaeology, ancient Egyptian society, empire and identity in the Roman world, Byzantine archaeology, GIS and spatial analysis, and field survey.
Research training is provided for all postgraduate students, and MA students put this into practice by researching a topic of your own choice for a supervised 15,000 word dissertation.
You will study three core modules:
Archaeological Theory, Method and Interpretation
This module delivers a generic disciplinary introduction to the MA Archaeology programme. It focuses on key areas of theory, method and interpretation, embracing a range of cultural, landscape, professional, heritage and environment themes and how these are integrated. It is also designed to develop and enhance key practical and research skills, especially in oral presentation, teamwork and essay-writing.
This module provides an introduction to material culture studies and artefact analysis in Archaeology, drawing on the wide range of approaches to material culture in related disciplines such as Anthropology. It serves to create a foundation in material culture theory, analysis and interpretation that underpins the overall approach to investigation and interpretation followed by the pathway as a whole. Key themes include classification and typology, technology, functionalism, symbolism, contextual analysis, agency theory and signification, aesthetics, and the material analysis and representation of artefacts in both research and popular media. The module comprises lectures, seminar classes, and hands-on analysis of material culture in class exercises and other contexts.
This module presents a critical review of theoretical approaches and interpretative themes in contemporary funerary archaeology, and examines the central significance of this field of study in current debates in world archaeology. As a core module for the Cultural Archaeology pathway, it uses this evidence-rich field of study to explore the relationships between cultural ideals, values, social agency and symbolic representation. There will be particular focus on a range of interpretative themes, including social interpretation, cultural identity and personhood, ritual practice, and past belief systems. It will draw widely on cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary case studies in archaeology and cognate disciplines such as anthropology and history.
MA and Diploma students also choose three optional modules from a range which includes:
This module aims to introduce you to the subject of landscape archaeology and themes in the documentation and analysis of landscapes. You will receive a broad introduction to landscapes through a series of thematic sessions covering field methodology and application to landscape types from townscape to islands. You will be able to develop an appreciation of a range of landscape types, the theoretical issues and present interpretative trends in landscape studies, as well as an appreciation of the techniques used by archaeologists to record and classify landscapes. You will also acquire knowledge of remote sensing techniques in landscape studies including the role of aerial photography and satellite sensing and the application of these in data collection.
Empire and Identity: The City in the Roman West
This module is in two parts, both linked by questions of how contact with the Roman empire changed peoples’ perceptions of themselves and how this was represented in particular through their material culture. The first part considers the ‘Romanisation’ debate of the last hundred years, from the ‘top-down’ view of Haverfield and his successors, who brought to bear their own experiences of European colonialism and imperialism, through to more recent ‘bottom-up’ analyses employing post-colonial and related analyses, to the current position where the term can be seen as counter-productive. The second part looks at the construction of ‘barbarian’ identities in the later Roman period (mainly the 4th and 5th centuries). It considers the construction of ‘ethnicity’ in the 20th century, from Kossinna on, and its relationship to material culture (if there is any). The recent discussions of the construction of ‘identity’ rather than just ‘ethnicity’ are considered. Particular use is made of the rich textual and archaeological evidence for the (Visi-)Goths.
Late Roman and Byzantine Archaeology and Material Culture I
This module is based on the largest source of fresh evidence for the Late Roman-to- early medieval Eastern Mediterranean world (including southeastern Europe), namely archaeology. It is designed to accustom interested students to using archaeological materials in the discussion of historians’ ideas about economic, social, cultural, and even political changes. The module will deal with this by exploring the history of archaeological practice as it concerns the post-Roman East. We will then focus on the new debates which archaeology stimulates about important aspects of history from ca. 300 to ca. 800 AD. These concern the multiple impacts of invaders and invasions, Christianisation, demographic changes, the transformation of urban culture, and changes in rural settlement, agriculture, and artisanal production. By the end of this module you should be able to recognise key aspects of the Late Roman and Transitional (‘Dark-Age’) archaeological record, understand the problems and value of different archaeological strategies, and use the burgeoning archaeological literature to discuss some of the major long-term changes that characterise the period ca. 300-800 beyond western and northern Europe.
Late Roman and Byzantine Archaeology and Material Culture II
This module is based on the burgeoning archaeology of the medieval eastern Mediterranean and SE Europe and has the same general aims and themes as Late Roman and Byzantine Archaeology I. However, taking account of the rise and spread of Islam, the Slavs, and eventually the Crusades, and the divisions which these brought to the geographical space concerned, the module concentrates on the Christian world in the Balkans, Greece, Cyprus and Anatolia. At the same time the survival of local archives from the 9th c. onwards creates new possibilities for an historical archaeology of regions and sub-regions. By the end of this module you should be able to recognise key aspects of the medieval Byzantine and Crusader (‘Frankish’) archaeological record, use the archaeological literature to question some of the grand narratives of historians, and see ‘dramatic’ short-term historical changes from new perspectives.
GIS and Spatial Analysis
This course aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice of computational landscape analysis using GIS. The course will introduce you to advanced concepts of GIS and spatial analysis and the application of GIS to landscape studies, covering concepts such as the development of data models for landscape archaeology, airborne/satellite remote sensing and issues relating to the deployment of GIS for both research and curatorial purposes.
This module introduces you to the theory and practice of recording the archaeological and environmental elements of ancient landscapes, from a scale of individual structures and monuments to integrated surveys of past cultural and natural landscapes. The module will include an introduction to the fundamentals of geodetic survey and students will receive practical training in basic measured survey using a variety of equipment and learn to work with survey data in both conventional and digital formats. The module will also explore the potential of survey data for analysis through assessment by a group project using data through work generated through the course Field School. The Field School will take place at an appropriate site or landscape selected by the staff.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are as follows:
- Home/EU: £6,210 full-time; £3,105 part-time
- Overseas: £14,140 full-time
- Home/EU: £4,140 full-time; £2,070 part-time
- Overseas: £14,140 full-time
- Home/EU: £2,070 full-time or part-time
- Overseas: £7,070 full-time
For part-time students studying an MA or Diploma, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in year two of your programme.
Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.
Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
Birmingham Masters Scholarship Scheme
For 2015 entry the University has 224 new £10,000 scholarships available for Masters students from under-represented groups. These scholarships have been jointly funded by the British Government; the allocation of the awards, which is the fourth highest in the UK, further cements Birmingham?s place amongst the very best higher education institutions for postgraduate study. The application deadline is 31 July 2015.