|1 year full time
2 years part time
- Exposure to core methods and issues in contemporary archaeology
- Flexibility to choose subjects around your own interests through a range of options
- You will achieve a respected standalone qualification or training for a PhD degree in line with UK Research Council requirements
- Our location is surrounded by sites of archaeological interest and you may also have opportunities for international fieldwork
Top 100 in world subject rankings for Archaeology
QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
Top 10 in the UK for Archaeology
7th in the Complete University Guide 2024, 9th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024
4th in the UK for internationally excellent Archaeology research
Research Excellence Framework 2021
We are looking for graduates with a 2:2 Honours degree with 53% or above in their first degree in archaeology, history, ancient history, anthropology, biology, geography, geology, chemistry, heritage, or similar. While we normally only accept applicants who meet these criteria, if you are coming from a different academic background which is equivalent to degree level, or have relevant work experience, we would welcome your application.
You are welcome to make informal approaches to the Programme Director (see above) for advice in advance of your formal application.
Entry requirements for international students
English language requirements
International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.
The programme is divided into units of study called modules which are assigned 'credits'. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.
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.
UK fees per year:
£12,000 full-time; £6,000 part-time
International fees per year:
£24,300 full-time; £12,150 part-time
We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students. This includes over £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*.
For more information on scholarships, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.
*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.
Teaching and research
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.
All members of staff are actively engaged in research, both in Britain and abroad, and regularly attend conferences, symposia and workshops. It is through this active engagement in the discipline that we are able to supply top quality teaching by experts in their field and as a result we have a 24/24 grading for our teaching from the Quality Assurance Agency.
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.
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.
My research has a strong interdisciplinary dimension and I am particularly interested in medieval elite culture, buildings and landscapes. I also research the archaeology and history of designed landscapes, towns and townscapes; conflict archaeology; and medieval warfare.
Professor Oliver Creighton
As a member of the Archaeology Department and key part of our postgraduate community you will have full access to our exceptional, modern facilities.
• Experimental Archaeology Labs
• Bioarchaeology Lab
• Clean Lab and fume cupboards for preparing stable isotope samples
• Landscape archaeology project office
• Microscope room equipped with high specification microscopes and image processing facilities
• Digital Humanities Lab
• Wet labs for artefact and environmental sample processing
• Digital x-ray facilities and equipment for elemental analysis
• State-of-the-art surveying equipment
• Outdoor experimental space
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.
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 archaeology job market.
An Ofsted report on recurrent funding for 2021/22 describes Archaeology graduates as “crucial to the sustainability of the UK workforce in development-led archaeology”. It highlights the national shortage of archaeologists due to the huge increase in major construction projects with field workers being recruited abroad to make up the deficit.
They’ve highlighted Archaeology as a recognised construction skill and a “necessary part of the supply chain for the delivery of housing and infrastructure development, for instance HS2, Crossrail, and the A14 corridor project.” It’s also essential to meet planning policy requirements, particularly when it comes to delivering sustainable development. Archaeology skills are recognised by the UK Government as being subject to a shortage, with archaeology jobs currently listed on the UK Shortage Occupation List.
On completion of our MA Archaeology, you will be well placed to go on to work in either Archaeology or the wider Heritage Sector, in other jobs within construction, community-based projects, or within the third sector, as just some examples.
Some of our recent graduates have gone on to careers such as:
- Archaeological Assistant
- Experimental Archaeologist
- Field Archaeologist
- Museum Curator
- Time Team Archaeologist/Community Archaeologist
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.