MA Archaeology

Duration Full time 1 year
Part time 2 years
  • Archaeology
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September


If you choose to study our MA in Archaeology then you will be joining a vibrant, active Postgraduate community in a setting surrounded by sites of archaeological interest. We are lucky in the West Country to have prehistoric Dartmoor on our doorstep, where the recent Whitehorse Hill burial was uncovered. Exeter itself is a city built on Roman foundations and the nearby Ipplepen dig is shedding further light on Romano-British history. The Anglo-Saxons too were active in our part of the world and we have excellent interdisciplinary ties with the History Department and Centre for Medieval Studies. In the past there have been opportunities for Exeter students to participate in fieldwork and outreach activities in as diverse locations as Argentina, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, South Dakota and Texas. In some cases, fieldwork may consist of archaeological work in a museum rather than excavation.

The MA Archaeology programme is flexible, so you can choose the modules that interest you – including those on Experimental Archaeology, Human Osteoarchaeology and Zooarchaeology. If you’re interested in going on to doctoral study then our MA will give you the right training and our academic staff will be happy to support you through the process of funding applications.

If you choose to join us, as an active member of our Postgraduate community, you will become part of a world leading research department among a great archaeological landscape.

Programme structure

You may take optional modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.  

Your programme includes 135 credits of compulsory modules: 30 credits of research methods, 45 credits of specialist modules and 60 credits of dissertation.

You must also choose 45 credits of optional modules from those available from other Masters programmes within the department of Archaeology, or other Masters programmes within the University, or from Level 3 undergraduate modules in Archaeology (as appropriate and subject to the agreement of the programme director.)

It is also possible to take an extended dissertation module, for 90 credits, in place of ARCM004.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

Most of our teaching is done collaboratively in small groups because we feel this is the best way to help you develop. Your classes will be a mix of lectures, seminars and workshops where you will learn the methodology and practical skills you need. We have a range of specialist equipment and excellent facilities including laboratories, kiln room, and spaces for experimental archaeology.

The MA in Archaeology is a flexible programme that allows you to tailor your modules to fit your own interests across the first two terms. Your progress on your modules will be assessed through the coursework you produce which might include written reports, essays and presentations. In the third and final term you will work exclusively on your dissertation, an original piece of research on a topic of your choice.


Many of our MA students go on to study at PhD level, and the MA in Archaeology serves as excellent preparation. Your tutors and the Archaeology academic staff will help you put together applications for funding and develop a research proposal if you should choose to take this path.

Of course doctoral study is not the only option available to you, you will graduate with a full range of skills that will make you competitive in the job market. Some of our recent graduates have gone on to work directly in Archaeology or the wider Heritage Sector, with careers such as:

  • Archaeological Assistant
  • Experimental Archaeologist
  • Field Archaeologist
  • Museum Curator
  • Time Team Archaeologist/Community Archaeologist

Careers and employment support

While studying at Exeter you can also access a range of activities, advice and practical help to give you the best chance of following your chosen career path. For more information visit our Careers pages.

Research areas

Our research at Exeter is world-leading and all our academic staff are actively engaged in both Britain and further afield. We are regular attendees at conferences, symposia and workshops and this active engagement with the wider research community allows us to offer top quality teaching by key experts in different specialisms.

We are particularly unique for our expertise in the fields of Bioarchaeology and Experimental Archaeology. Our interests run from early prehistory through to the post-medieval period. Our geographic specialisations include the Americas, the British Isles, Europe, South Asia and North Africa.

Interdisciplinary work is an increasingly important part of funded research and we regularly work with colleagues from across the College of Humanities and wider University. We have particular crossover with the History, Classics and Ancient History, and Theology Departments.


As a member of the Archaeology Department and key part of our Postgraduate community you will have full access to our exceptional, modern facilities. We have dedicated Experimental Archaeology laboratories and workshop spaces. We have a clean lab with fume cupboards for chemical work. We have a kiln room, a landscape archaeology project office with a giant scanner for maps and plans, and a microscope room equipped with high specification microscopes and image processing facilities. We have wet labs for sample processing and we have state of the art surveying equipment which includes resistivity equipment, magnetometers, differential and hand-held GPS, and a total station theodolite.

On top of all that we also have extensive reference collections of artefacts, animal bones and plant remains. So whatever your specific interests within archaeology we have the kit for it.

And of course you will have access to the wider resources of the University too, including the Library and Special Collections.

Entry requirements 2017

Entry requirements

An appropriate degree in Archaeology or a related subject (for example, Archaeology, Geography, Anthropology, Environmental Science, History, Ancient History or Classics.), normally at 2:1 level or above. Applicants with non-standard qualifications should contact the College of Humanities Postgraduate Administrator to discuss admission.

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements. 

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2017/18

  • UK/EU: £7,500 full-time; £3,750 part-time
  • International: £16,500 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

UK government postgraduate loan scheme

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for Masters degrees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Scholarships and other funding

Find out about funding opportunities available to students on our taught Masters programmes in Archaeology.

Contact us

College of Humanities
Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306

Department of Archaeology
Phone: +44 (0) 1392 724350

Apply online

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Fieldwork at Ipplepen

In 2010 the University of Exeter, the British Museum and Devon County Council started a survey and excavation that aimed to explore the nature of this Roman and early medieval British site. In this short video, Danielle Wootton explains the origins of the dig, and the unique features of Ipplepen.