V400 MSc Archaeological Computing (Virtual Pasts) (1 yrs)

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.

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. 105 credits are obtained from taught modules with the remaining 75 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.

Useful downloads

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements


First- or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in Archaeology, Anthropology, or related subject.

English Language

IELTS 6.5, or equivalent in other approved English language test.

Selection process:

Intake: 8-15
Average applicants 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.

Selection process: Online application

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

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.


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 and teaching

A postgraduate degree from Humanities at Southampton offers you the wide and varied learning experience you should expect from a leading research university. We are committed to providing a relevant, modern and above all enjoyable experience which will ensure you graduate with the additional skills and understanding you need to start a career in any number of areas or to go on to further research.

How will you learn?

On a postgraduate taught programme teaching is led by academic staff, allowing you to engage with, and contribute to, the world-leading research carried out in Humanities at Southampton. You will complete a core programme of research skills development in tandem with a series of modules which you select according to your personal aims and objectives. Each programme offers a wide and fascinating range of modules related to our specialisms led by academics who are experts in their chosen fields of research and who wish to engage you with their experience.

You will develop your knowledge and understanding through a combination of research seminars, lectures, practical classes, staff and student presentations and personal study. Learning is tailored to the general and specific research needs of masters students studying archaeological computing, in addition to wider research needs. This includes introductions and tours of library, IT, online and other facilities, and allocated contact time with teaching and other research staff. In addition, you will visit institutions and have lectures by individuals involved in the areas covered by the programme. You will find yourself challenged intellectually and exposed to new ideas, approaches and perspectives.


Your knowledge and understanding will be tested through written work, practical exercises and formal oral presentations. Feedback will be provided to identify your progress and additional areas to consider, develop and concentrate upon. You will also manage a large independent research project: the masters dissertation. The dissertation is a core element in establishing the acquisition of appropriate skills and the application of research techniques. Your masters tutor will be available to provide regular and supportive advice, guidance and feedback on your progress.

Professional development

A masters degree will enable you to further develop the key skills employers seek such as: time management; problem solving; team work; deadline and project management; cultural awareness; working independently; using your initiative; relationship-building; critical thinking and research analysis. Above all, you will learn to communicate your ideas and enthusiasm to a wide range of audiences.

Career Opportunities