Experimental Archaeology & Material Culture

MSc Experimental Archaeology & Material Culture
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)
The MSc in Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture will provide a comprehensive course of university learning and experience in experimental archaeology and material culture analysis.
• Experimental archaeology can be defined as the reconstruction of past buildings, technologies, things and environmental contexts so as to enable a better understanding of the character and role of materiality and material culture in peoples lives.
• It may also involve innovative, experiential interrogations of past lifeways and material culture, so as to explore and understand how people interact with each other and the world.

Who should apply?
Full Time option suitable for:
Domestic (EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes
Part Time option suitable for:
Domestic (EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

Course Description
UCD School of Archaeology has a growing momentum and international reputation in experimental archaeology and material culture studies. The School organised and hosted the 9th International Experimental Archaeology Conference (EAC9) in January 2015, with 200 attendees from 28 different countries.

Students of the MSc in Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture will be integrated into UCD School of Archaeology's European and global experimental archaeological and museum networks, particularly through Prof Aidan O'Sullivan's Board Membership of EXARC, the ICMOS-affiliated worldwide network of AOAMs and experimental archaeologists.

The MSc in Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture will be based at the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture (CEAMC), the only university campus-based facility of its type in the world for dedicated experimental archaeological research and teaching.

Recently described by an international expert review as globally "unparalleled", it offers a range of opportunities for research, teaching and public outreach. The Centre has a scientific research outdoors or field facility, laboratories, researchers' offices and workshops at Roebuck, on the UCD campus. It has already established successes with Postdoctoral Fellowships (e.g. a Marie Sklodowska Curie IEF 2015-17, and several linked Irish Research Council-funded and Teagasc Walsh Fellowship-funded PhDs scholarships, as well as many MA and BA projects and dissertations.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements
Minimum Academic Criteria
A Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelors in Archaeology/Anthropology or a cognate area with a minimum 2.1 or an equivalent of a UCD GPA of 3.2. (NFQ Level 8 ) or equivalent. Candidates from cognate disciplines (e.g. History, Classics, Art History, Geography, etc) will have demonstrated previous experience and/or awareness of Archaeological or Experimental Archaeological methods and thought, by attending during their primary degree a number of Archaeology modules and/or working for a period on an Archaeological Excavation and/or working in a Museum, or Open-Air Museum. Previous academic education and/or experience in aspects of Crafts and/or Material Culture Studies will also be considered by the School. The School would reserve the right to assessing the extent and quality of such previous studies and experience. Applicants are required to submit original academic transcripts.

Additional Essential Criteria
A statement outlining the applicant's previous experience in Archaeology,, and/or cognate disciplines and the reasons for pursuing the degree, and the reasons why UCD is being chosen. Every applicant should complete this part of the application which should be approximately 300-500 words. Applicants whose first language is not English are also required to submit evidence of their English Language proficiency. It is expected that applicants will normally have reached on overall 7.0 in IELTS or equivalent. Foreign Language documentation must be accompanied by an official translation. If applicants are unable to provide final transcripts or any other required documentation by the closing date, they should contact the School directly by e-mail prior to this date.

For non UCD students and for UCD students who have not yet completed their Undergraduate degree, TWO references must accompany your application: one MUST be academic from the institution where your primary degree was awarded; the second reference can either be academic or from a professional employer in archaeology or from a cognate profession.

Please forward, or have your referees forward, a hard copy of a reference on your behalf to:
c/o Martin Hurley
Online Applications,
UCD Registry
Tierney Buildling
Dublin 4
Your references should be provided as a signed, original letter, on headed institutional notepaper, with your application reference numbers clearly stated.

Here is a link to the Online Applications website: http://www.ucd.ie/apply/help.html

NOTE: if your primary degree was previously awarded by UCD, we request that a current CV is submitted with application and the Personal statement be completed.
These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes

Non-EU Students
Please note that all non-EU students should check their visa requirements when applying to a programme and certainly before accepting a place on a course. Also note that visa restrictions limit some overseas students (e.g. Americans) to full time programmes only.

Subjects taught

What modules can I take?
• Study in an exciting, new multidisciplinary programme, with lectures by UCD staff and international experts, with practical training in laboratories and the Centre for Experimental Archaeology, and fieldtrips.
• Explore and investigate though lectures, seminars, and practical project learning how people in the past understood and worked with stone, flint, clay, pottery, wood, leather, woolen and vegetal textiles, and other materials, and how they constructed and inhabited buildings developed different technologies, and made and used things.
• Gain key professional skills in object and materials analyses, including the use of artefact photography, 3D laser scanning, photogrammetric modeling and visualization technologies, and GIS, and the use of optical microscopes and Scanning Electron Microscopes. Through the MSc programme you will have access to training in Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDX), X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray Diffraction, thus gaining insights into how we investigate past material culture through detailed elemental analysis.
• Design, implement and analyse the results of their own project, which may be completed as an MA thesis or MA Research Placement in semester 3 (i.e. in the summer term).

Stage 1 Core:
Practical Experimental Archaeology

Research Project Skills

MSc Dissertation

Material Culture

Experimental Archaeology: Making, Understanding, Storytelling

Ancient Materialities

Stage 1 Option

Archaeology of Food

Experiment Archaeology & Ancient Technologies

Heritage Management

Early Medieval Ireland and Beyond: Social Identity and Belonging AD 400-1100

Feudal castles and Gothic cathedrals: building medieval Europe, AD1000-1500

Hunter-Gatherers: archaeological & anthropological perspectives

The archaeology of collapse

Migration in the Past

Facing Innovations: Innovations and transformations that shaped ancient societies

Communicating Heritage

Introduction to GIS and Spatial Methods in Archaeology

Heritage Marketing & Management

Archaeology Field & Lab Tech I

Archaeology Field & Lab Tech 2




W349: 1 year full-time
W350: 2 years part-time


MSc Experimental Archaeology & Material Culture (W349) Full Time
EU: fee per year - €7315
nonEU: fee per year - €19900

MSc Experimental Archaeology & Material Culture (W350) Part Time
EU: fee per year - €4390
nonEU: fee per year - €9950

***Fees are subject to change.

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website.

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: 2020/2021 September

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

  • Apply to

    Course provider