MRes Archaeology

This versatile programme provides a basis both for doctoral study and for career development in archaeology and in heritage and cultural environment professions.

It comprises a major individual research project, supervised by a specialist in the field of study, and a taught component that develops research and analytical skills. Potential research projects can be on any archaeological subject, as agreed with the supervisor, and there is a wide range of choice for the taught component, enabling students to build their own unique programme of study.

Dr Henry Chapman

Dr Henry Chapman

“The MRes is a hybrid of taught and research elements. There's complete choice to catch up on topics you might want to reinforce or learn for the first time, as well as really supporting your research.”

The principal element of the programme, and of assessment, is the 20,000-word research thesis on a subject agreed by you and a member of staff with appropriate research interests.

This research project also forms the core of your application to study, and we recommend that you discuss your proposed research project with a potential supervisor in advance of applying. The thesis can be regarded as an independent piece of research or a foundation for doctoral-level study.

The potential areas for research are very diverse and include British and European prehistory, the archaeology of the Roman World, Late Antiquity and Greece, and thematic areas relevant to all periods and regions of archaeological study such as environment, landscape, material culture, death and burial, age and gender, warfare, ritual and religion, and archaeological theory and method.

Alongside the thesis, you take three taught modules to complement your research topic and your existing skills profile. Further information on available modules can be found below.

Why study this course

  • The MRes Archaeology programme provides a foundation for doctoral study, for developing research skills and capabilities applicable in all professional fields in Archaeology and Heritage, and for demonstrating expertise in chosen aspects of archaeological method and interpretation. Moreover, the course structure combines the advantages of training in technical and methodological areas, gaining in-depth knowledge of particular thematic, period-based and/or geographical fields of archaeological study, with the freedom to pursue your own research interests in a highly flexible and targeted manner. 
  • Birmingham's Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills. These include 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; confident oral presentation; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.
  • We have a vibrant and productive postgraduate community and students are encouraged to enter fully into the life of the Department and the University. We enable advanced research students to broaden their skills through appropriate training in teaching skills and, where possible, through offering the chance to gain experience in teaching.

Modules

The principal element of the programme, and of assessment, is the 20,000-word research thesis on a subject agreed by you and a member of staff with appropriate research interests.

Alongside the thesis, you take three taught modules to complement your research topic. Modules typically available include:

  • Archaeological Theory, Method and Interpretation
  • Archaeology of Greece
  • Byzantine Archaeology and Material Culture
  • Creating Europe: Complex Societies 1000 BC – AD 1000
  • Empire and Identity
  • Field Survey
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • GIS and Spatial Analysis
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Material Culture

For more information, see our Archaeology module descriptions.


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £6,030 full-time; £3,015 part-time
  • International: £17,040 full-time

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Fee status

Eligibility for UK/EU or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in the 2019-20 academic year will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2019-20 academic year will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

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

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent).

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

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

Application deadlines

International students requiring visas

Monday 1 July 2019 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2019 made after this date - a new application should be made for September 2020. Applications will reopen for 2020 entry in early October 2019.

UK/EU students

We would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by the end of July. However, we would encourage you to apply at the earliest opportunity, to allow adequate time to prepare for starting your studies once receiving a decision on your application.

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas, which includes detailed advice on research proposals and how to write them.

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

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

Apply now

MRes Archaeology students attend a wide range of seminars, lectures, and training classes as part of the taught components of their courses, potentially including computer suite-based classes, a survey field school, and study visits, depending on the modules selected. Thesis research is conducted independently, guided by a supervisory team (usually a lead supervisor and co-supervisor) selected for their expertise and experience relevant to the student's research project, with supervisory meetings taking place on a regular basis. The course benefits from excellent library resources for archaeological study, housed within the new University Library situated close to the department, and MRes students join the wider, dynamic community of Archaeology staff and students at the University with opportunities to attend seminar series, public lectures, social events, and potentially participate in departmental field projects. 

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively 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.

Research interests of staff

Academic staff in Archaeology are undertaking research in a variety of areas, from exploring the earliest settlements to unravelling the complex archaeology of modern industrial societies, utilising both traditional applied techniques and cutting edge technologies to reconstruct the past in imaginative and innovative ways.

Please contact a staff member working in your area of interest in the first instance. Research interests in archaeology include: 

Phenomenology of landscapes; battlefield archaeology; archaeological approaches to warfare and violence
Contact: Dr John Carman
Email: j.carman@bham.ac.uk 

Prehistoric landscape archaeology; digital archaeology; cultural heritage; GIS; remote sensing
Contact: Professor Henry Chapman
Email: h.chapman@bham.ac.uk

European prehistory; Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain; archaeology of ritual and religion; funerary archaeology; landscape archaeology
Contact: Paul Garwood
Email: p.j.garwood@bham.ac.uk

Environmental archaeology and palaeonentomology, use of insect remains to examine the development of the Holocene landscape of the Trent Valley and the Severn Estuary; insect faunas from both urban and rural human habitation sites and their use in the interpretation of archaeological contexts and ultimately human behaviour
Contact: Dr David Smith
Email: d.n.smith@bham.ac.uk

Classical archaeology; Greek prehistory; Bronze Age Macedonia; current research at Mycenae, Knossos, Assiros and Servia
Contact: Dr Ken Wardle
Email: k.a.wardle@bham.ac.uk

Late prehistoric, Romano-British and Dark Age British archaeology; industrial archaeology; research projects include the Wroxeter Hinterland Project
Contact: Dr Roger White
Email: r.h.white@bham.ac.uk

Byzantine archaeology; urban and rural economy
Contact: Dr Archie Dunn
Email: a.w.dunn@bham.ac.uk

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive 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.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

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.

Over the past three years, over 93% 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: AC archaeology; University of Birmingham; and the National Trust.

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

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.

Accommodation

We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

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.