Archaeological Practice MSc
What is special about this course?
The MSc Archaeological Practice is a world-leading archaeology course which equips you with the tools for work in the real world.
The course combines an emphasis on the key practical skills essential for a career within the archaeological profession with a critical study of the advanced theoretical and methodological concepts underpinning the discipline.
We stress the acquisition of vocational skills through practical experience using as our 'laboratory' the rich archaeological resource of Orkney, home to some of the world's most renowned archaeological monuments.
Core modules will introduce you to the principles, philosophy and theory of cultural heritage management and immerse you in a suite of practical archaeological techniques including: excavation; non-intrusive field archaeology; digital means of exploring and recording archaeological materials; environmental archaeology; and post-excavation analysis.
There is flexibility to pursue an interest in period-based modules which reflect the research specialisms of the Archaeology Institute staff, or you may choose to focus entirely on our professional skills modules.
- Study in the outstanding archaeological landscape of the Orkney Islands
- Contribute to cutting-edge archaeology research at world-renowned sites including the Ness of Brodgar World Heritage site excavations
- A three-month placement module offers the opportunity to develop your professional skills and gain valuable fieldwork experience
- Flexibility is built into the course to match your personal and professional life; you can study individual modules, work towards the PgDip, or develop your expertise to gain a full masters degree
- 2:2 honours degree or above in archaeology or closely related subject, or equivalent academic or professional qualifications
- You may also be considered if you can demonstrate significant professional experience in the field of archaeology
*Funding support notice*
A limited number of funded places are available for full-time, Scottish or EU fee status students
Postgraduate Loans (SAAS) (Scotland-domiciled and EU students)
Loans for tuition fees are available from SAAS for eligible Scotland-domiciled and EU students, and loans for living costs for eligible Scottish students.
(see fees/funding tab for more information)
Core modules are:
- Cultural heritage management
- Practical archaeology
You will also choose four option modules which may include:
- Death and burial archaeology
- Vikings and Norse in the North Atlantic
- Neolithic studies
- From Vikings to VE Day: Scottish Medieval and later society
- Iron Age Scotland in the Atlantic World
- Archaeological and geophysical survey
- Maritime archaeological heritage
- Digital analysis
- Sustainability past and present
- Art and archaeology: contemporary theory and practice
- Geoarchaeology of the North Atlantic
- Archaeobotany to archaeozoology
To achieve the award of MSc Archaeological Practice you must complete a 60 credit professional placement or dissertation.
How will I study my course?
- Part-time (structured)
- You will learn through face-to-face lectures and tutorials at Orkney College UHI and video conference tutorials with experts based at other university campuses, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)
- There is also a significant amount of fieldwork that involves excavation, investigation and curation techniques in one of the world's best archaeological classrooms, The Orkney Islands
- International students requiring a Tier 4 visa to study with us must be based at Orkney College UHI during their studies. International students undertaking the course from their home country can study online and by video conference, in real-time or recordings
- All other students can choose to study at Orkney College UHI or from their own location studying online and by video conference, in real-time or recordings
- For more information, or if you have any questions about studying archaeology at the University of the Highlands and Islands, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How long will my course last?
- Full-time: 1 year
- Part-time (structured): 2 years
Where can I study my course?
- Orkney College UHI - Archaeology Institute
Fees payable for this on-campus postgraduate course depend on your assessed fee status:
|2020-21||Scottish (SC) or EU||Rest of UK (RUK)||International (INT)|
|Per module (20 credits)||£560||£650||£1,380|
|Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits)||£1,680||£1,950||£4,140|
|Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits)||£3,360||£3,900||£8,280|
|Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation)||£5,000||£5,850||£12,420|
|2019-20||Scottish (SC) or EU||Rest of UK (RUK)||International (INT)|
|Per module (20 credits)||£560||£650||£1,340|
|Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits)||£1,680||£1,950||£4,020|
|Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits)||£3,360||£3,900||£8,040|
|Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation)||£5,000||£5,850||£12,060|
Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.
The university is pleased to offer a limited numbers of places with full tuition fee support for Scottish/EU students studying full-time on this course starting in September to help talented students join this key growth sector for the Scottish economy. Fees will be funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programmes.
To be eligible for this funding, students must meet the criteria for Scottish or EU fee status and be resident in the Highlands and Islands (including Moray) or Perth and Kinross for the duration of their studies. In accordance with funding regulations, tuition fee support will only be available to students who meet the funding eligibility criteria and are self-funding i.e. who are not in receipt of funding for tuition fees from other sources, including employers. Funded places will be allocated and successful applicants notified from March onwards, available places will continue to be allocated throughout the recruitment cycle. There is no separate application process, applicants holding an offer will be considered against the eligibility rules.
Applications are welcome from all suitably qualified applicants. Students who do not meet the eligibility for the tuition fee support, or are not successful in being allocated one of the limited places, will be responsible for paying their own fees. However, there are other potential sources of funding support available.
Eligible Scotland-domiciled students studying full-time can access loans up to £10,000 from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). This comprises a tuition fee loan up to £5,500 and a non-income assessed living cost loan of £4,500. EU students studying full-time can apply for a tuition fee loan up to £5,500.
Part-time students undertaking any taught postgraduate course over two years up to Masters level, who meet the residency eligibility, can apply for a for a tuition fee loan up to £2,750 per year.
Full details can be found on the SAAS website. Applications for loans open in April.
Students from the rest of the UK who meet the eligibility requirements may be able to apply for a loan from the Student Loan Company.
There is also a significant amount of fieldwork that involves excavation, investigation and curation techniques in one of the world's best archaeological classrooms, The Orkney Islands
What can I do on completion of my course?
- Government agencies and local authorities
- Tourism, heritage sites, national and countryside parks
- Contract units and consultancy
Can I progress into further study?
You may wish to consider further study in areas such as: advanced research; vocational diplomas; masters by research; and PhD study.
Is there more information available online?
You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.
What our students, graduates and staff say
I was attracted to this course because of the flexibility to choose modules tailored to your own interests. A big bonus was the amount of archaeology present in Orkney and how archaeological sites are integrated into the course structure through surveys, excavations and desktop work.
I’m hoping that the practical experience I have gained will stand me in good stead to follow a career in archaeology within the commercial sector. I love the real sense of community around the university; the lecturers just want the students to succeed and are always on hand to impart their knowledge and life experiences.
Ross Drummond is studying on our MSc Archaeological Practice at Orkney College UHI.
I feel very honoured to have been selected from all the potential candidates for this PhD scholarship from the Carnegie Trust. I was unaware that I am the first student from the University of the Highlands and Islands to achieve this and realise that, firstly, I must thank all the lecturers and staff who have supported me throughout and, secondly, seize this opportunity to undertake this research and fulfil a lifelong dream.
Stephen Worth graduated from our BA (Hons) Archaeology and MSc Archaeological Practice courses before undertaking his PhD. His scholarship will help cover his fees and research expenses for three years. He is undertaking research into the fate of farms which were set up on marginal land after the Highland Clearances.
The Archaeology Institute combines the academic and scholarly prowess of the teaching team, who are based across the Highlands and Islands, with the professional and applied skills of the consultancy field unit, Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA). We are the only Scottish university with an archaeology teaching department to have such a dynamic ‘in-house’ relationship with the archaeology industry. This 'real-world' professional insight means that added value is given to the student experience.
Professor Jane Downes, Director of the Archaeology Institute.
Apply for Archaeological Practice MSc
We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.