MA, PGDip, 9 months-2 years, full- or part-time

This is for you if... you want to deepen your understanding of civilisations and societies of the past and engage more critically with current archaeological debates and issues.

Course Description

This degree will provide you with a strong foundation in the more advanced theory and methods as well as period-based and thematic specialisms. You may also acquire more practical skills in areas of archaeological science, as well as those necessary for independent research in archaeology.

You will have the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of the potential and limitations of different forms of archaeological evidence. You will deepen your understanding of the themes and periods of the past and engage more critically with current archaeological issues and debates. Teaching will combine seminars, presentations and projects and well as lectures, encouraging you to play an active role in your learning and developing your skills for independent study. You will be assessed through various forms of coursework and a dissertation. During your time here, you will have access to more one-to-one contact with staff than you would have had at undergraduate level and you are encouraged to actively participate in and contribute to our vibrant graduate community.

This Masters degree develops your research and analytical skills, providing you with an excellent foundation for further study or career progression. There is also the option of doing an extended dissertation, giving you more research experience if you are considering going on to undertake PhD research.

We have internationally recognised strengths in research and teaching in all fields of archaeology, with research strengths in prehistory, Classical/Roman studies, medieval as well as historical archaeology, and the theory and practice of landscape archaeology.

Key Facts
Start date
September each year
Archaeology and Ancient History

+44 (0)116 252 2720 or 2772

Archaeology and Ancient History website 

Course Director
Dr Jeremy Taylor

Why Leicester?

Archaeology and Ancient History at Leicester is ranked in the top 100 in the world by the QS University Rankings. Our academic staff are active in research on every continent, with research interests from early prehistory to the recent past.

We have dedicated research laboratories for ceramics, human and animal bones, archaeobotanical studies and GIS, plus a drawing office.

We maintain close relationships with commercial/contract archaeology through ULAS (University of Leicester Archaeological Services), who were involved with the discovery of Richard III.

Our courses cross the traditional academic boundary of archaeology and ancient history, letting you gain a wider knowledge in your chosen area.

Course Structure

Core modules

Core modules

When you first arrive you will complete an induction week giving you a great opportunity to get to know your peers and tutors. Then, over the course of the MA you will take one core module, three option modules and a dissertation.

Core module: Theory and Practice in Archaeology

This module explores advanced theoretical issues in archaeology through close consideration of illustrative case studies involving the analysis and interpretation of archaeological materials. You will be challenged to embrace critically the embedded nature of theory and practice in archaeology, and to assess the connections between particular archaeological paradigms and methodological approaches to the analysis and interrogation of archaeological evidence.

Plus your Dissertation (MA only)

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Option modules

Option modules

Choose three option modules from the following:

  • Approaches to Pompeii
  • Archaeology and Landscape
  • Archaeology of Standing Buildings
  • Archaeozoology
  • Caribbean Archaeology
  • Ceramic Technology
  • Classical Art
  • Early Christian Europe
  • Guided Research  
  • Historical Archaeology of England
  • Human Skeletal Analysis
  • Humans, Animals and Disease
  • Medieval Landscapes, 400-1500
  • Neolithic Britain
  • Rome and its Neighbours
  • Shadow of Empire
  • Textiles, Dress and Identity
  • The Origins of Modern Humans

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Additional Information

What's the difference?

You will do four modules on both the Masters (MA) and Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) courses. If you go on to complete a dissertation you will get a Master's Degree. Alternatively you can just complete the four modules in order to get a PGDip.

Teaching and Assessment

You will be taught by a combination of seminars and lectures, laboratory work (if chosen) and individual research.

Assessment is through essays and project work. You will write a 15,000-word dissertation between May and September. You may also elect to do an extended dissertation if you want to prepare for doctoral study.

Research Stories

Entry Requirements

2:1 degree in Archaeology, or the equivalent for overseas or European applicants.

English Language Requirements

IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.

International Qualifications

Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

Countries list

Fees and Funding

Career Opportunities

As well as providing an excellent foundation for doctoral research, our MA courses are highly valued by employers for the detailed thematic knowledge and key transferable skills that they provide. They enable you to develop a detailed, critical understanding of your particular area of interest, allowing effective career progression in archaeology, ancient history, the heritage sector and beyond.


Our Career Development Service is here to support you, with advice on interviews, CVs, work experience, volunteering and more. From Freshers’ Week to Graduation and beyond, they are here to help you reach your professional goals.

Course Qualification Duration Start Dates Availability
Archaeology MA 1 year full-time September each year Apply Now
Archaeology MA 2 years part-time September each year Apply Now
Archaeology PGDip 9 months full-time September each year Apply Now
1 year full-time
Start Dates
September each year
2 years part-time
Start Dates
September each year
9 months full-time
Start Dates
September each year

Not what you're looking for?