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HumanitiesPostgraduate study

V400 MSc Archaeological Computing (Virtual Pasts) - 1 yr(s)

Computers and information technology are increasingly important tools for both researching and managing archaeological materials. Taught within the internationally known research environment of the Southampton Archaeological Computing Research Group, in common with the MSc Archaeological Computing (GIS and Survey), this course will provide instruction in a wide range of computing skills that are used within archaeology including multimedia technologies, databases, WWW and electronic publication.

Introducing your degree

Relive the past and create realistic models to help examine ancient mysteries. Through technologies such as virtual reality, bring history to the present. During the Masters in Archaeological Computing degree course, you can construct true-to-life imagery and computer generated models to help unlock secrets of bygone eras through ‘virtual archaeology’.  A feature of this programme is that we encourage research projects that are built in partnership with experts from across the discipline, across the institution and/or from external organisations.

Programme Overview

As archaeologists and other heritage professionals have become increasingly involved in the construction and presentation of increasingly complex and influential 'virtual pasts' so the need for qualified researchers and practitioners has increased. This course, in addition to providing a broad range of transferable skills, offers a means to obtain 'virtual archaeology' skills. In addition it concentrates on the theory and practice of generating three-dimensional computer graphic models based on archaeological data, the theoretical implications of archaeological visualisations, computer aided design principles for three-dimensional design, architecture, animation and visualisation and emerging technologies including virtual reality. All are dealt with in terms both of their use in computer systems and their role in archaeology, and build on the expertise and hardware, and the specialist CGI, GIS and other software of the Archaeological Computing Research Group.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

To apply for a postgraduate course please visit the How to Apply page or click on the apply button below.

Application process and required supporting documents

  • University online application including a personal statement
  • Transcript
  • 2 references
  • English language (if relevant)

If you have a question or would like further information, contact our admissions team:
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 8062

Programme Structure

This programme is divided into 180 credits. 120 credits are obtained from taught modules with the remaining 60 credits relating to the dissertation.

Key Facts

Duration: 1 year (full time); 2 years (part time)

Start date: October

Funding: AHRC Block Grant; Humanities studentships may be available

Closing date: 1st September

Dissertation Length: 25,000 words

International students

The Southampton pre-Masters can be taken if you have qualifications or grades that do not meet University of Southampton direct entry criteria but meet the minimum entry criteria for the pre-Masters further details). You will be guaranteed a place on your chosen masters degree programme subject to successfully completing the pre-Masters. Visit our pre-Masters Programme to find out more about these degree programmes.

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Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements


First- or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in archaeology, anthropology, history or a cognate discipline

English Language

IELTS 6.5 overall, with minimum of 6.5 in reading and writing, 6.0 in listening and speaking, or equivalent in other approved English language test.

Selection process

Intake: 8-15

Average applications per place: 3

Academic entry requirements: First or upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in archaeology, anthropology, history or a cognate discipline.

English language entry requirements:   IELTS 6.5 overall, with minimum of 6.5 in reading and writing, 6.0 in listening and speaking, or equivalent in other approved English language test.

Selection process: Online application

Interview may be required on a case by case basis to assess suitability of course

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The programme comprises six taught modules (one core module, three compulsory modules and two options) as well as a dissertation. Full-time students will take all taught modules during two semesters and complete their dissertation by the following September. Part-time students will take taught modules during four semesters, and complete their dissertation by the September of year two.

Year 1

Students may consider taking a 'free elective' as an option in both S1 and S2 - they should contact the MA Convenor if they wish to take a non-Archaeology module.

Subject to approval by the programme convenor, students with a strong interest in a particular research area may elect to take an Individually Negotiated Topic ARCH6123 in either semester 1 or semester 2 worth 15 credits, and/or ARCH6108 in semester 1 worth 30 credits

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Learning & Assessment


Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this programme typically also have to pay for:

Printing and copyingWhere possible, coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. The University printing costs are currently: A4 - 5p per side (black and white) or 25p per side (colour) A3 - 10p per side (black and white) or 50p per side (colour). Please note: Paper sizes not recognised by the printing devices will prompt you to select the size and then charge a minimum of 50p per black and white copy and a maximum of £1 per colour copy. You can pay for your printing by using the money loaders or by using print copy payment service by going to Please remember that we are unable to refund any credit that has not been used by the end of your course, so please consider this when topping up your printing/copy account. You will be given a printing allowance of £1 per 7.5 ECTS ARCH towards the costs of printing lecture handouts and/or practical scripts. The University Print Centre also offers a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. Current printing and copying costs can be found here: They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. Details of current costs can be found here: £0.05-1.00

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentLaboratory equipment and materials: All laboratory equipment and materials are provided.
FieldworkEquipment and materials: During your degree you are likely to go on a number of fieldtrips and to take part in fieldwork. The exact number and nature of these trips will depend on your module and fieldwork choices. However, wherever and whatever you do you are likely to need access to waterproofs, sturdy shoes or boots, a sun hat and a small rucksack. For some sites you may be asked to have steel toed boots. For those qualified to do so, you may become involved in diving projects. In these circumstances you would normally be required to bring/hire your own mask, fins, snorkel, knife, exposure suit and dive watch (and if possible, dive computer).
EquipmentIT: Computer discs or USB drives Students are expected to provide their own portable data storage device.
EquipmentIT: Software licenses All software is provided.
EquipmentIT: Hardware It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Study locations

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