About this course
On our humanities-focused maritime archaeology master’s degree you’ll explore the changing relationship people have had with the world’s oceans and seas. You’ll study the technologies of seafaring, histories of environmental change, and submerged landscapes. This subject incorporates elements of traditional archaeology, ethnography, maritime history and marine science.
You can apply to study our maritime archaeology master’s degree as either an MA or MSc at Southampton.
MA Maritime Archaeology offers the same course content as our MSc Maritime Archaeology but you’ll take a more humanities-based approach through your module choices and dissertation topic.
The course draws on the world-leading expertise of the Centre for Maritime Archaeology to offer an unparalleled breadth and depth of content. The course is designed to allow rapid development of the diverse academic knowledge and practical skills required to work in this field, including:
- the latest methods for data acquisition and integration
- academic research and dissemination
- archaeological fieldwork
This means you’ll cover all aspects of maritime archaeology, from those who wish to focus on field-based activities, both above and underwater archaeology, through to laboratory or library-based research.
If you prefer, you can apply to study this course as:
- a part-time master's - study the same course content over 2 or more years
Your modules and fees may vary if you choose a different study option.
Your course leader is Dr Helen Farr, Associate Professor in Maritime Archaeology. She has a special interest in the study of prehistoric submerged landscapes and early seafaring. Read Dr Helen Farr’s staff profile to find out more about his work.
This course is based at Avenue.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the Course Description Document
The Course Description Document details your course overview, your course structure and how your course is taught and assessed.
Changes due to COVID-19
Although the COVID-19 situation is improving, any future restrictions could mean we might have to change the way parts of our teaching and learning take place in 2022 to 2023. This means that some of the information on this course page may be subject to change.
Find out more on our COVID advice page.
A 2:1 degree in a one of the following subjects:
- another relevant subject
Find the equivalent international qualifications for your country.
English language requirements
If English isn't your first language, you'll need to complete an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to demonstrate your competence in English. You'll need all of the following scores as a minimum:
IELTS score requirements
- overall score
We accept other English language tests. Find out which English language tests we accept.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
The programme includes 5 taught modules and a dissertation.
You’ll take 2 modules covering the theory and methodology of maritime archaeology.
Over the course of the year you’ll take the equivalent of a 3-week field school. Our aim is to teach each technique in its best environment, providing the fastest possible learning curve.
Students also have the opportunity to participate in ongoing field projects run by members of staff and associated organisations.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
For entry in Academic Year 2022-23
Year 1 modules
You must study the following modules:
Applied Maritime Archaeology
This fifteen credit module will introduce you to the theoretical, ethical, logistic, technical and legislative issues that have to be addressed if the theory and practice of archaeology are to be successfully applied in the investigation of sites underwat...
Archaeology Masters Dissertation
The dissertation is a personal research project which is completed with guidance from a personal supervisor. It takes place primarily over the summer period and should involve original research and high-quality formal presentation of material. The word li...
Maritime Aspects of Culture
This module will introduce you to the key theoretical and technical concepts used in maritime archaeology, along with its evidence base. It has been designed to provide an accelerated learning curve for those who are new to the subject area, developing c...
You must also choose from the following modules:
Analysis of archaeological faunal remains
This module will cover the practical skills necessary to identify, record and interpret animal bones from archaeological sites as well as the techniques used for the study of animals in human life in the past. You will learn methods of identification of ...
Bioarchaeology of Human Remains
The first portion of the module comprises the learning of the basics of human osteology and palaeopathology. The second portion is more theoretically driven and integrates bioarchaeology with skeletal analysis, including topics such as age, gender, ethnic...
Contexts for Human Origins Research
The module will focus on the major questions which have been, and are being, asked of Palaeolithic data. These include such issues as language origins, global colonisation, population replacement, and hominin responses to palaeoclimatic and palaeoenviron...
Cultural Heritage within Environmental Impact Assessment
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process required in many countries to predict the consequences of proposed projects (e.g. construction) or policies (e.g. ground water management). This includes assessing the impact on cultural heritage assets. ...
Global Cultural Heritage
This module takes a global perspective and deals with the many varieties of cultural heritage from the tangible built environment to intangible heritage represented by a society’s traditional knowledge and customs. It will explore the reasons we do, or sh...
Maritime Museums and Heritage Management
As maritime archaeology becomes an increasingly mainstream part of the discipline of archaeology, public awareness of the importance of protecting, managing and disseminating maritime cultural heritage assumes a heightened importance. At the same time, cl...
Materials, Technology and Social Life
This module examines the central role of technology in archaeological constructions of social life. It integrates techniques for the investigation of materials in archaeological science with discussions of social theory. Case studies from a range of diffe...
Museums in the Modern World
This module examines the past, present and future of heritage communication. It will explore the ever-changing purposes and practices espoused by and employed by heritage bodies, including museums, with a primary but not exclusive focus on UK institutions...
The waters of the world have frequently served to connect rather than divide communities, leading to water transport becoming of vital importance to society. The remains of ships and boats thus constitute a key primary source for maritime archaeology. Th...
Palaeopathology in Context
The module comprises 2 sections; the first comprises seminars based upon current theoretical and methodological developments within palaeopathology and bioarchaeology, whereas the second portion comprises development of detailed skeletal and palaeopatholo...
Professional Placement in the Archaeological and Cultural Heritage Sector
A key component of higher archaeological practice is the development of archaeological vocational skills, and the application of what is learnt at university in the working environment. The archaeological methods and skills taught at university have diver...
This module is designed to equip students with the essential core skills to engage with higher-level archaeological practice within the UK and overseas. By this, we refer to activities beyond routine fieldwork procedures such as survey and excavation. The...
The Analysis of Palaeolithic Stone Tool Assemblages
This is a practical module in handling and interpreting stone tools and developing behavioural interpretations to explain the patterns seen. Stone tools remain the most significant part of the Palaeolithic cultural heritage. This course provides traini...
Learning and assessment
Activities are designed to enhance your intellectual and research skills. They include:
- tutor-led and student-led lectures
- group projects (both desk-based and in the field)
- oral presentations
- the design of your dissertation project
We’ll assess you knowledge and understanding of the course material through:
- written work
- project work
- formal oral presentations
Your masters tutor will give you regular and supportive advice, guidance and feedback on your progress.
You’ll need to complete a 25,000-word dissertation, requiring around 600 hours of preparation and writing time. Throughout this period we’ll provide tutorial support from a dedicated dissertation supervisor and the dissertation co-ordinator.
We’ll assign you a personal tutor, and you’ll have access to a senior tutor.
Graduates from this programme will be suited to work in a wide range of careers. Specifically they will be well suited to maritime archaeological posts in:
- academic, commercial, and cultural resource management
- non-governmental organisations (NGO)
More broadly the skills and knowledge developed are appropriate to work in offshore industries, the media and business settings.
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a thriving entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
- our dedicated start-up incubator, Futureworlds
- a wide variety of enterprise events run throughout the year
- our partnership in the world’s number 1 business incubator, SETsquared
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK students pay £9,250.
- EU and international students pay £22,136.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and any exams.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees.
Accommodation and living costs, such as travel and food, are not included in your tuition fees. Explore:
Southampton Humanities Postgraduate Global Talent Scholarship
Twenty scholarships of £5,000 are available to international students joining our postgraduate master’s courses at the School of Humanities in September 2023.
Find out more about the Southampton Humanities Postgraduate Global Talent Scholarship, including eligibility, deadlines and how to apply.
Southampton Arts and Humanities Deans Global Talent Scholarship
Ten scholarships of £10,000 each are available to international students studying for an undergraduate degree or a postgraduate master’s degree in Arts and Humanities.
Find out more about the Southampton Arts and Humanities Deans Global Talent Scholarship, including eligibility, deadlines and how to apply.
Other postgraduate funding options
A variety of additional funding options may be available to help you pay for your master’s study. Both from the University and other organisations.
Funding for EU and international students
Find out about funding you could get as an international student.
How to apply
- Use the 'apply for this course' button on this page to take you to our online application form.
- Search for the course you want to apply for.
- Complete the application form and upload any supporting documents.
- Submit your application.
The deadline for applying for your course for the 2023 year of entry depends on where you're domiciled (where your permanent home is and where you have the closest ties).
This is because:
- students from different countries tend to apply at different times of year
- we want a diverse and balanced mix of international students with exceptional academic ability
|Place of domicile||Deadline|
|China||29 March 2023|
|Everywhere else, including the UK||7 July 2023|
We must receive new applications by midday GMT.
The deadlines may still move to:
- an earlier date if we have already received enough applications before the deadline
- a later date if there are still places available on the deadline
We receive many high-quality applications, so places for many of our courses are very competitive.
Application assessment fee
We’ll ask you to pay a £50 application assessment fee if you’re applying for a postgraduate taught course.
This is an extra one-off charge which is separate to your tuition fees and is payable per application. It covers the work and time it takes us to assess your application. You’ll be prompted to pay when you submit your application which won’t progress until you've paid.
If you're a current or former University of Southampton student, or if you’re applying for certain scholarships, you will not need to pay the fee. PGCE applications through GOV.UK and Master of Research (MRes) degree applications are also exempt. Find out if you’re exempt on our terms and conditions page.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We'll assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We will aim to send you a decision 6-8 weeks after you have submitted your application.
If we offer you a place, you will need to accept the offer within 30 working days. If you do not meet this deadline, we will offer your place to another applicant.
Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be able to give you specific feedback on your application if you are unsuccessful.
We may invite you to an interview, which will take place by phone if you live abroad. You'll get an email from the admissions tutor if we'd like to talk to you before offering you a place.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
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