Archaeology MA / Diploma / Certificate Landscape Archaeology pathway

The Archaeology MA: Landscape Archaeology pathway will allow you to develop a thorough knowledge of current approaches to the investigation and interpretation of past landscapes.

There are opportunities to specialise in a range of practical techniques, digital landscape studies, and interpretative approaches in thematic and period/area landscape studies. This pathway is ideal for research preparation and as a basis for career development in archaeology and heritage.

We offer the flexibility to upgrade from Certificate to Diploma level and from Diploma to Masters level during your programme as you develop your postgraduate studies. We also offer a Cultural Archaeology pathway on the Archaeology MA.

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham has been ranked among the top five Russell Group departments of Classics in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

You will study three core modules:

  • Archaeological Theory, Method and Interpretation
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • GIS and spatial analysis

In addition, MA and Diploma students select three optional modules from a wide range of choices. These can include field survey, virtual landscapes, digital cultures, funerary archaeology, material culture, and cultural studies ranging from European prehistory and Egyptology to Classical and Byzantine archaeology.

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.

Why study this course

  1. Exceptional learning resources – you will have access to a range of learning resources including environmental and material culture teaching collections; the Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology Museum, the Eton Myers Collection at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts; and the Danford Collection of African art and artefacts.

  2. Taught by experts – you will study alongside some of the finest minds at Birmingham. Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham has been ranked among the top five Russell Group departments of Classics in the Research Excellence Framework.

  3. Be a part of an exciting department – you will join a lively postgraduate community with many opportunities to enhance your learning from events, research seminars and conferences; there is always something happening in the Department.

  4. Access to a wide range of services – as a postgraduate student within the College of Arts and Law you will have access to services such as the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Bank of Assessed Work. You will be supported throughout your time at Birmingham – if that be aiding your transition from undergraduate to postgraduate level, or back into academia after a time away and making sure you develop as an academic writer.


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.

Landscape Archaeology

This module aims to introduce you to the subject of landscape archaeology and themes in the analysis and interpretation of past landscapes. You will receive a broad introduction to theoretical approaches in landscape archaeology, and how different kinds of landscapes and extensive forms of landscape organisation, social practice and perception have been recognised, investigated and interpreted archaeologically. Methodologies of landscape-scale study will be reviewed and evaluated in the light of theoretical frameworks, research agendas, and the impacts of current and future investigative techniques, including remote sensing and geophysical survey. The course is delivered in both class contexts and through a field study visit to explore the design and application of fieldwork methodologies in a specific landscape setting, interpretations of the past cultural landscapes revealed, and their modern representation and construction.

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.

MA and Diploma students also choose three optional modules from a range which includes:

Field Survey

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.

Digital Cultures

Digital Cultures offers a platform for students to engage with the subject matter of their own disciplines through the application of digital technologies. This module introduces the range of technologies that are available, providing practical experience with a range of them and opportunities for students to work on material relevant to their own field of study. The course also examines different cultures of engagement with digital technologies, focusing on the breaking down of barriers to learning and engagement with cultural information in both practical and theoretical ways, and gives students the chance to develop their own digital content and to demonstrate its value within their own disciplines and beyond.

Funerary Archaeology

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.

Material Culture

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 analysis of material culture in class exercises and other contexts.

Creating Europe: complex societies 1000 BC – AD 1000

This module explores the nature of complex societies in Europe from the late Bronze Age to the early medieval period, and their interactions with the state-organised societies of the Mediterranean. The module is organised thematically and chronologically, exploring the theorisation and interpretation of complex societies, large-scale economic and political systems, ethnicity, elite culture, chiefdom social structures, state formation, empire, urbanism, coinage, and long-term change. Case studies are drawn from a wide range of cultural contexts, focussing on diverse kinds of archaeological evidence from north-west and central Europe, and how these relate to historical sources. A key theme addressed throughout the module is the extent to which social forms and transformations in Europe can be explained in terms of indigenous cultural, economic and political processes or in terms of inter-regional Mediterranean/temperate European influences and dependencies.

Archaeology of Greece

This module provides an advanced overview of approaches to the archaeology of Greece from prehistory to the Roman period. Students will be introduced to contemporary developments in the theory and practice of archaeology, and will gain expertise in using and interpreting a variety of evidence including site reports, artefacts and iconography in addressing archaeological questions, and in relating archaeological evidence to textual evidence where available. The module will include a series of case studies of important archaeological sites across a range of periods.

Empire and Identity

This module is in two parts, linked by questions of how contact with the Roman empire changed peoples’ perceptions of themselves and how this was represented 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 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-5th centuries). It considers the construction of ‘ethnicity’ and its relationship to material culture (if there is any), including recent discussions of the construction of ‘identity’ rather than just ‘ethnicity’. Particular use is made of the rich textual and archaeological evidence for the (Visi-)Goths.

Late Roman and Byzantine Archaeology and Material Culture

This module is based on the largest source of fresh evidence for the Late Roman to early medieval eastern Mediterranean world (including south-east Europe), namely archaeology. It is designed to accustom students to use archaeological materials to evaluate historians’ ideas about economic, social, cultural and political changes. The module will survey the history of archaeological practice as it concerns the post-Roman East, and will explore key aspects of the Late Roman and Transitional (‘Dark-Age’) archaeological record, different archaeological strategies, and how archaeological literature can be used to understand some of the major long-term changes that characterise the period AD 300-800. It will focus in particular on interpretative themes such as Christianisation, invasions, demographic changes, the transformation of urban culture, and changes in rural settlement, agriculture and artisanal production.

Related staff

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:


  • Home / EU: £6,570 full-time; £3,285 part-time
  • Overseas: £14,850 full-time


  • Home / EU: £4,380 full-time; £2,190 part-time
  • Overseas: £14,850 full-time


  • Home / EU: £2,190 full-time or part-time
  • Overseas: £7,425 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.

Entry requirements

  • For the MA programmes, we normally require a 2:1 degree, or equivalent, in a discipline relevant to the selected pathway
  • For the PG Diploma/PG Certificate programmes, we normally require a 2:2 degree, or equivalent, in a discipline relevant to the selected pathway

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

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When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

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You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

In addition, the global edition of The New York Times has ranked the University 60th in the world and 9th in UK for post-qualification employability. The rankings illustrate the top 150 universities most frequently selected by global employers and are the result of a survey by French consulting firm Emerging and German consulting firm Trendence.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

University of the Year for employability

Birmingham's Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

In 2013, over 92% of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many of our postgraduates enter roles for which their programme has especially prepared them, such as museum and heritage activities and archaeological posts. Elsewhere, a range of professions are undertaken by our graduates, from librarianship and teaching to accountancy. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: AOC Archaeology Group; Blakesley Hall Museum; City and Borough Councils; English Heritage; KPMG; National Trust; and Sotheby's.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.


Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.