City scape


MA Archaeology
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)
UCD School of Archaeology is the foremost archaeological research institution in Ireland and our teaching programme focuses on archaeology in Ireland and overseas. Our aim is to equip graduates to contribute to archaeology across the globe, with key concepts developed from understanding the internationally acclaimed Irish archaeological record. In the MA programme, this will include fieldtrips to iconic Irish sites and landscapes. Perspectives and practices from archaeological landscapes across the globe will be developed through the programme, and specialisation in different geographical areas strongly encouraged. Students will execute a variety of approaches to archaeological practice including desktop, experimental work in the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Ancient Technologies, field and lab-based techniques.

The MA is structured around dedicated Level 4 modules with a core and option framework. A small number of Level 3 (Advanced Undergraduate) modules may be taken as part of the MA.

Core modules include training on researching archaeology in an Irish context, field and laboratory skills, thesis skills and a major 30-credit dissertation or research placement. Optional Level 4 modules include GIS and geospatial analysis, heritage management, aspects of experimental archaeology, archaeological landscapes and high-level discussion-led modules on prehistoric archaeology and historical archaeology. Students can also take up to 10 credits from the School's existing Level 3 modules.

A variety of assessment strategies are utilised, including classroom and field presentations, book reviews, review articles and essays. Level 4 modules are assessed through continuous assessment only; however, most Level 3 modules include an examination.

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
The MA Archaeology in UCD is a Level 9, 90 credit programme which will provide students with a high level of competency in conducting independent archaeological research in a variety of contexts, from the academic through to the professional. Students will develop critical perspectives on different forms of archaeological practice including the archaeological sciences, theoretical perspectives on the past and the views of heritage stakeholders.

Being located in Dublin places us in close proximity to key cultural and archaeological institutions including the National Museum of Ireland, National Monuments Service and the Discovery Programme.

Programme outcomes
-Understand and critique the latest archaeological practice and research in a global context
-Critically evaluate changes in human populations from prehistory to the present day, and evaluate their connection the modern world
- Reflect and articulate the roles of archaeology and the past in modern society, the tangible and intangible value of heritage, and the context of appropriate legislation
-Develop a comprehensive and nuanced knowledge of Ireland's internationally renowned archaeological record within its European and global context
-Appropriately select and apply discipline-specific archaeological skills and approaches, including archaeological fieldwork or laboratory techniques
- Gather, evaluate and critically assess diverse archaeological datasets, transforming them into knowledge
- Design and implement small-scale field or laboratory-based research projects, using appropriate professional methodologies and equipment
-Work within large or small teams and independently, leading and being led as appropriate
-Design, structure, research and implement a significant piece of original archaeological research, in the form of an MA research thesis or placement comprising 15,000 words
- Effectively manage projects and deadlines over the course of a year of intensive study, providing an excellent grounding for real-world archaeological project management

Vision and Values Statement
The MA Archaeology is aimed at students who wish to develop a high level of competency in the study of human culture, societies and environments through time. Students will acquire key skills in archaeological research, survey, and data management. Working in both the field and the classroom, they will enhance their core transferrable skills in critical thinking, reflection, problem solving, teamwork and report writing. The programme is especially aimed at students who have previously studied archaeology or a cognate discipline (e.g. anthropology) at an undergraduate level and who wish to engage in more advanced study and independent research. The MA Archaeology offers an excellent grounding for students seeking future employment in the heritage sector as well as developing critical skills valued by employers in a wide range of other sectors.

We welcome students of all ages who are engaged, self-motivated, work well in a teamwork environment and demonstrate a capacity for critical and analytical thinking, especially in an interdisciplinary context. Excellent communication skills are also particularly valued. At graduate level, a capacity for independent study and self-directed research is strongly encouraged.

We are committed to providing a learning environment that encourages students to develop their own ideas in collaboration with fellow students and School staff. Individual development and self-discovery is a key component of an archaeological training, as is sharing experiences and values as part of a team. Student-led discussion and debate are key elements in our programme design and implementation and strong links are maintained between School teaching and research in both the field and classroom. Regular research seminars by visiting academics allow our students to engage with cutting-edge research in European and World Archaeology.

The MA Archaeology focuses on student-led approaches, with School staff supporting and guiding students through oral presentation, discussion and seminar-based learning. Assessment strategies are varied, ranging from traditional essays, to book reviews, poster presentations and reflexive field journals. We also incorporate field-based presentation and interpretation of archaeological sites and landscapes within our assessment. The programme culminates in a 15,000 word research thesis or research placement, developed by the student with the guidance and supervision of School staff.

Entry requirements

This programme is intended for applicants with a background in Archaeology, Anthropology, History, Geography, Environmental Studies or other cognate disciplines. An upper second class honours degree, or the international equivalent, is required.

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.


Z040: 1 year full-time or Z104: 2 years part-time.

Number of credits


Careers or further progression

Careers & Employability
Archaeology graduates work in a wide range of fields, from cultural heritage, to media, to creative industries and archaeological companies, museums, and the state sector. Many also go on to PhD scholarships, postdoctoral fellowships and academia.

MA students will gain considerable transferable skills and develop high employability: this will include the completion of substantial independent research projects or placements; field/lab work; essay, project, report and portfolio writing; experience in making presentations orally and via posters; group work; leadership roles; and experience of working in the field. The MA in Archaeology is a recognised qualification for the Archaeological profession. An MA in archaeology or a cognate discipline is a requirement for entry into the UCD structured PhD programme.

Further enquiries

Angela McAteer
Tel: +353 (0)1 716 8312

Subjects taught

Stage 1 - Core
How to Research Archaeology

Archaeological Field & Laboratory Techniques

MA Dissertation

Research Project Skills

Themes in Archaeological Research

Stage 1 - Option
Archaeology of Food

Experiment Archaeology & Ancient Technologies

Heritage Management

Archaeology and the Public: Past Meets Present

Early Medieval Europe: Social identity and Belonging AD 400-1100

Archaeology of Minoan Crete

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

Hunter-Gatherers: archaeological & anthropological perspectives

The archaeology of collapse

Craft & Making in Archaeology

Managing landscape heritage

Irish Archaeolog. Landscapes

Communicating Heritage

Introduction to GIS and Spatial Methods in Archaeology

Advanced GIS in Archaeology and Heritage

Cultural Heritage

Heritage Marketing & Management

Conflict Resolution & Conservation

Remote Sensing

Historic Urban Landscapes

Assessment method

Teaching Learning and Assessment Approach
The MA emphasizes small class sizes, seminar-based learning and original research – be this in the field, the lab or the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Ancient Technologies. The programme strongly relies on continuous assessment, including varied projects and thesis writing. No Level 4 modules include an exam.

Beyond your archaeological training, we will provide you with advanced academic and practical training in a wide range of key transferable skills, including: how to make effective presentations; report and essay writing; designing and managing research projects; working collaboratively in research groups.

Application date

MA Archaeology FT (Z040)
Duration 1 Years
Attendance Full Time
Deadline Rolling *

MA Archaeology PT (Z104)
Duration 2 Years
Attendance Part Time
Deadline Rolling *

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

Course fee

MA Archaeology (Z040) Full Time
EU fee per year - €7055
nonEU fee per year - €19200

MA Archaeology (Z104) Part Time
EU fee per year - €4235
nonEU fee per year - €9600

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 2019/2020 September

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