Archaeology - Hunter Gatherer Archaeology

The MSc and Graduate Diploma in Hunter- Gatherer Archaeology is for students interested in the fascinating and remarkable world of hunter-gatherers. It is often claimed that humans have spent 90-99% of their existence as hunter-gatherers. Understanding these ways of life provides vital perspectives on human identity and the challenges and opportunities societies face today. Anthropology provides information about recent hunter-gatherers, but archaeology is the only discipline that can understand our hunter-gatherer past, and hunter-gatherer archaeology therefore has a particular significance. Our programme will introduce students to key themes in the archaeology of past hunter gatherers, the relationship between past and present hunting and gathering communities, and the contemporary context of knowledge production about hunter-gatherers. Our primary focus is the archaeology of Homo sapienshunter-gatherers: we will include some discussion of non-Homo sapiens, but this is not a course on human evolution.

You will develop skills in project design and independent research, data analysis and interpretation, communicating the past to different stakeholders, as well as how to develop different perspectives on the past. You will be part of a dynamic, friendly and international postgraduate community in a School with a 160-year history of exceptional archaeological research and you will form part of the UCD Hunter Gatherer Research Group.

Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology students have the opportunity to volunteer on many of our hunter-gatherer research projects, potentially including two weeks of excavation in the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland. Contact the course director ( for details.

Subjects taught

Core modules:

Autumn Trimester: Hunter-Gatherers 1: key themes
Spring Trimester: Hunter-Gatherers 2: producing knowledge
Material Culture
Research Project Skills

Optional modules:

In discussion with the Programme Coordinator, students will be advised to choose their options from one thematic area available in our other graduate programmes:
- Archaeology
- Experimental Archaeology & Material Culture
- World Heritage Management

Graduate Dissertation
(30 credits, MSc only)

Modules and topics shown are subject to change and are not guaranteed by UCD.

Entry requirements

- entry to MSc based on an Upper Second Class Honours (2H1) undergraduate degree (GPA 3.2, NFQ Level 8, or the international equivalent) in archaeology or anthropology, or other cognate disciplines (to be discussed with programme coordinator)

- If English is not your native language, proof of proficiency in English will be required, unless you took your primary degree through English. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL Internet Based Test is 90, on the IELTS system it is 6.5

Application dates

The following entry routes are available:
MSc Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology FT (W501)
Deadline: Rolling*

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised.


1 year full-time
Mode of delivery: Blended

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: 2024/2025 September.

Post Course Info

Careers & Employability
The MSc and Graduate Diploma will provide you with the skills required to develop a career in the archaeological profession or the heritage sector, or to go on to further academic study. Transferable skillsets such as critical thinking and project management will also provide you with an excellent grounding for future employment in other sectors. Graduates of this programme may progress to careers in:

• Further research, whether academic or professional
• Commercial archaeology and cultural resource management
• The heritage sector & Tourism
• State sector bodies
• NGOs
• Education

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime,Blended

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    Course provider