MSc In Archaeology


The 11-month Master of Science Degree in Archaeology provides an opportunity for students to build on their knowledge from undergraduate studies and to specialise in a particular area of archaeology, while also offering an excellent foundation for those wishing to continue towards research at doctoral level. It also offers transferable skills which are beneficial to a range of professional roles.


During this taught Master's degree you will specialise in a particular area of archaeology, and will follow one of a number of subject streams:


The MSc in Archaeology allows subject specialisation through the choice of a subject stream, but also flexibility, by combining core modules with your option module, and topics chosen for your dissertation and summative essays. The dissertation allows you to develop a larger piece of research in which you can more fully explore a topic. It will allow you to develop your research skills and undertake self-directed and independent research that is a necessary basis for future doctoral research, and highly desirable in non-academic employment. 

Each stream comprises four modules and a dissertation.

The core module ‘Archaeological Principles: Data and Theory’, which all students take in the first term, is designed to prepare you with necessary archaeological knowledge, research and practical skills to support your other modules and dissertation.

You will take two core modules offered within your stream, one list A taught in the first term, and the other from List B taught in the second term. The fourth module is your option module (also from List B), also taught in the second term; this is chosen from all available List B modules in any stream, or a module from the MSt in Classical Archaeology. In some circumstances a subject taught in the MSc in Archaeological Science may be taken as your option module, however this is taught over two terms.

You will complete a dissertation of 15,000 words on an approved topic relevant to your stream subject, chosen in consultation with a supervisor. Most of the dissertation research and writing takes place in the third term and into the summer.

Summative assessments take the form of: 

  • A portfolio of work ('Archaeological Principles')
  • Three 2,000-word (max) take-home essays submitted in the second term (Subject stream core module - List A)
  • Two 5,000-word (max) extended essays submitted in the third term (Subject stream core module- List B).
  • Two 5,000-word (max) extended essays submitted in the third term (Option module).
  • The dissertation of 15,000 words (max) submitted in late August.

The degree is a very intensive course, and you will be expected to treat the University vacations as integral parts of your academic work time.


Please read the application material carefully, and be sure to explicitly state your stream of interest in your personal statement.

School of Archaeology Awards

Typically, five awards of £7,000 each are available for each academic year. 

To be eligible you need to apply to the MSc in Archaeology programme through the usual application system in the preceding November or January application round. There is no separate application form for the award. If you are offered a place on the programme you will be automatically considered for shortlisting for one of the awards.  

All Home/EU and Overseas status applicants are eligible. 

Awards will be offered to the strongest applicants who demonstrate: 

  • motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study, 
  • sound reasons for applying to the School of Archaeology, the MSc in Archaeology and your chosen stream, and 
  • evidence that your academic ability and focus are suited to the demands and nature of the degree. 

Applicants will normally be notified if they have been successful by the start of April. At this point an acceptance of the award is expected within a couple of weeks. 

Successful applicants are asked to inform the School of Archaeology of any other offers of financial support for the purpose of their studies at Oxford. Adjustments to the value of the award may be made to take account of these.

For more information about other funds, see the School of Archaeology Funding Page, and the University Graduate Funding pages. ​​​​​​​

Please note that the modules and streams listed on this website are indicative of the typical offerings and are subject to review each year. Whilst every effort is made to offer the full variety of modules/streams this is not possible to do every year. This is due to the fact that some modules/streams are dependent on student numbers to ensure an appropriate quality of education; timetable clashes; staff availability; etc. We aim to keep the website as up-to-date as possible but we recommend that you seek specific advice from on module/stream availability.