The Masters of Archaeological Science allows you to apply cutting-edge scientific methods to answer questions about the lives of people in the past. What did climate change mean to people living at the end of the last ice age? What can the chemical composition of human bones tell us about changes in diet during the medieval period? Studying for the Master of Science in Archaeology will allow you to gain valuable understanding of the defining events of the past, recognise their impact upon the present, and develop an insight into the future – using scientific methods and approaches.
The initial undergraduate grounding (following the framework of the BSc in Archaeology) will provide you with a grounding in the basics of scientific analyses in archaeology & anthropology. The final year enables you to really develop your own interests in specialist fields. This degree programme enables you to target the career path you wish to follow after graduation, such as by developing forensic or bioarchaeological studies, geophysical survey or underwater archaeology. As a student you will have access to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and the option to take complementary units in geography, geophysics, bioengineering, oceanography, geology and life sciences. The BSc Archaeology also provides you with opportunities to take practical placements both in the UK or abroad, such as in Hungary, Sweden, Crete and the Caribbean.
This programme covers a wide range of world archaeology, from the first appearance of humans two million years ago. Focussing on scientific approaches, you will learn more about the methods used to find out about the past. The programme normally is studied over four years full-time, but may also be taken on a part-time basis. The programme is divided into modules.
In your first year, you will take core modules on the development of archaeological & anthropological thought, analysis of archaeological artefacts & materials, and archaeological methods for fieldwork & analysis. You will also select modules from options ranging from human origins to the foundations of the modern world. Period-based and practical modules introduce the breadth of the subject in year one, with more specialised modules and research being developed in the second and final years.
You will also attend a weeklong field school at the end of your first year, and then participate in a minimum of three weeks of scientific fieldwork as part of an active research project. This is undertaken usually during the summer vacation of your first or second year of study, and may be in the UK or overseas. Throughout your degree, there are further opportunities to undertaking more fieldwork, including in overseas research projects.
In your second year, you will develop your knowledge of quantitative and analytical methods, and increase your understanding of the relevance of archaeology to the modern world and choose modules from a wide range of approaches and periods (including Maritime archaeology & seafaring; Bones, bodies & burials; Critical chronologies and archaeological dating).
During your third year, you will undertake a detailed piece of research within archaeological science and write it up as a dissertation. This may focus on forensic anthropology, radiocarbon dating, human evolution and hominid dispersals or on ship construction. You will also take 6 modules from across a wide range of topics, both scientific and more humanities oriented in nature, covering topics as diverse as Ancient Egypt, Museums, Molecular Archaeology or Anglo-Saxon England.
In your final year (the integrated Masters year), you will develop your own specialist interest with a dissertation on a research topic of your choice, and will take a further 6 modules from a wide range of options. These 6 modules may work together to form a particular focus, such as on bioarchaeology or maritime archaeology, or you may choose to maintain a wide series of academic interests.
At all stages in your degree, you can add breadth to your studies and pursue other varied interests by taking the option to complete 25 per cent of your programme in another subject (such as in modern languages, ancient history or engineering). Details of modules can be found at http://www.southampton.ac.uk/cip/interdisciplinary/index.page
Archaeology at Southampton was rated third in the UK for the impact of its archaeology research (2014 Research Excellence Framework), with its focus on theoretically informed archaeological science being particularly praised.
We benefit from being located in a £3m purpose-built archaeology building, with excellent laboratory facilities and a large dedicated undergraduate teaching lab. We also have access to very high-end equipment across the university, such as to enable isotope geochemistry, and CT-scanning.
Wessex Archaeology is one of the largest archaeological units in the UK. Through their Student Bursary scheme, which they operate exclusively with the University of Southampton, they offer a six-month contract as a Project Assistant to one of our third year students. The post is a means of providing an important first step for recent graduates interested in a field-based career by giving an opportunity to gain skills and experience and to advance their careers by working in a professional environment.
Archaeology students can choose to go abroad for part or all of a year. Students can choose to study in Europe or beyond. In Europe, our Erasmus partners include Prague (Czech Republic); Crete and Thessaly (Greece); Cyprus; Malta; Wroclaw (Poland); Barcelona (Spain). Our non-European partners for Study Abroad are based in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. More details on these destinations can be found on http://www.southampton.ac.uk/uni-life/exchanges.page
The interdisciplinary and varied nature of Archaeology means that a range of further special modules and features are available to you. Depending on the optional modules you choose, you can gain experience of laboratory work, additional archaeological fieldwork, fieldtrips and/or take part in study tours.
The course includes three weeks' fieldwork in the UK or abroad and there are opportunities for more fieldwork or placements. Many of the fieldwork projects, which are a required element of the degree course, are overseas. Current research-based field projects include Szazhalombatta (Hungary), Portus (Italy), Andalucia (Spain) and Cruz de Cepos (Portugal).
Typical entry requirements
ABB to BBB from three A levels including B in a science subject.
We accept all A levels except General Studies.
Studying for a degree later in life can be extremely rewarding and mature students are often among our most successful.
If you are over 21 and feel you would benefit from degree-level studies, we can be more flexible about our entry requirements. For full-time courses, selectors will expect you to demonstrate your commitment by means of some recent serious study, for example, one or two A level passes, successful completion of an Open University foundation course or an appropriate Access course. Your application will be considered on individual merit and you may be asked to attend an interview.
More information on the entry requirements for Integrated Master of Science in Archaeology (MSci Archaeology) can be found on the Archaeology webpage
For further information, please contact our Admissions Team
Selection is normally based on actual or predicted grades plus the reference and personal statement on your UCAS application. Applicants will be interviewed before an offer is made.
This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about
entry requirements and qualifications for your country.
View the full list of course fees
Course fees for 2017/18 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically
£9,250 per year.
Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most
part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.
Explore funding opportunities
Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your
Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or
your country of origin.
These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.
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.
There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the
|Stationery||You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationary items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.|
|Books||Where 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.|
|Equipment||All laboratory equipment and materials are provided.|
|Fieldwork||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, 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). |
|Other||Students are expected to provide their own portable data storage device.
All software is provided.
It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.|
|Printing and copying||Where possible, coursework such as essays; projects; 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:
The University Print Centre also offers a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. |
|Placements||Students on placement programmes can expect to cover costs for health and travel insurance, accommodation and living expenses; travel costs; visa costs. This will vary depending on which country you are travelling to. Specific details on what additional costs there will be are detailed in the individual module profiles which can be found under the modules tab of the programmes details of your programme.|
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 www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.
Within the integrated masters programme there is the option to further focus your study on a particular specialism via well-defined curriculum pathways. These pathways include:
1. Ancient Civilization
2. Maritime Archaeology
3. Human Origins
4. Later European Prehistory
These pathways will allow you to develop the enhanced skills and knowledge that may be required for entering specific workplace settings. All route ways, including the more general Integrated Masters in Archaeology (with no defined sub-specialty) will provide appropriate skills for progression onto a research degree and transfer out into the wider job market.