MSc Archaeology

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

UCD School of Archaeology's MSc/GradDiploma in Archaeology is designed for students interested in the challenges and opportunities in studying the human past. 

Archaeology is the discipline of things, exploring how people in the past created unique societies through their construction, use and perception of landscapes, plants, animals and things. Archaeology can explore the origins and character of past societies, population migrations, and the relationship between human behaviour, landscapes, material culture and climatic and environmental change. Archaeology holds many opportunities for an interesting and rewarding career, in archaeological practice, in cultural heritage and archaeological management and conservation, in museums and curation, in academic research and in public engagement and education. 

Your learning will be built around engaging and training in key archaeological skills, such as Landscape Archaeology, Artefact and Material Culture studies, Environmental Archaeology, Geographical Information Systems (G.I.S.), LiDAR and Remote Sensing and Archaeological Field Practice. You will also have the opportunity to take specific modules and design and complete an MSc Dissertation so as to specialise in particularly chronological or cultural periods (e.g. Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age/Roman, Early Medieval, Medieval, Historical/Post-Medieval). You will complete your MSc Dissertation on a chosen topic, supervised by an expert in the field.

Curricular information is subject to change

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

The MSc in Archaeology will be taught by UCD School of Archaeology experts working at the cutting edge of current research on past societies, their landscapes, things and times. You will explore and investigate how archaeologists investigate the past through seminars and practical projects and you will benefit from the School’s excellent field facilities and laboratories.

The MSc programme (90 credits) is structured around a series of core modules with thematic options. The 30 credits of core modules comprise three 10-credit specialist modules in Material Culture (10 credits), Landscape Archaeologies: Reconstructing, Imagining, Writing (10 credits) and Archaeological Field Methods (10 credits). These modules provide you with the critical and reflective skills required to understand how archaeologists analyse and interpret prehistoric objects, sites, bodies, monuments and landscapes.

A Research Project Skills module (5 credits) will support you in developing your dissertation proposal, teaching you to design a project, ask research questions, devise methodologies, analyse data and interpret it in the context of wider archaeological knowledge. The capstone assessment is a 30 credit (15,000 words) original MSc Dissertation formulated and led you with appropriate supervision from members of academic staff. This will allow you to design, implement and analyse the results of your own substantial research on a topic of your choice.

Options then build your professional career skills, and include technical and interpretative training in investigating and managing information. This includes Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing (5), Heritage Management Challenges (10), Heritage Presentation and Interpretation (5), Decolonising Ethnography (5), Hunter-Gatherers (10) amongst others. These options are based on School thematic strengths in prehistoric archaeology; medieval archaeology, landscape archaeology; experimental archaeology; and world heritage management. These will help you to deepen your practical and analytical skills in specific areas.

The MSc in Archaeology programme is taught through a diversity of teaching methods and innovative assessment types by experienced professionals and gives you the opportunity to really develop your knowledge and skills in archaeological investigations, in a creative, inspiring and enjoyable setting. Classroom activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops will be supplemented by fieldtrips, outdoors practicals and lab-based teaching for specialist modules. Depending on the modules taken, coursework may include essays, projects, posters, oral presentations, scientific analysis and the preparation of formal reports.

The MSc Archaeology also offers students the opportunity to design their own programmes from our diverse Level 4 modules in addition to selected modules from out L3 programme. This provides a pathway whereby students who remain undecided which aspect of archaeology they wish to specialise in can study archaeology and heritage more broadly.

Our MSc and GDip courses respond directly to two of UCD’s key strategic themes: ‘Empowering Humanity’, which foregrounds the importance of ‘Understanding what shapes human thinking and motivates behavioural change’, and ‘Creating a Sustainable Global Society’, which requires an understanding of the diversity of ways in which people have interacted with the natural world over the course of human history.

On completion of this programme, a student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the distinctive challenges and opportunities of using archaeological methods and approaches to studying the past in its global context.
  2. Critically assess archaeological interpretations of different datasets.
  3. Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of key theoretical approaches, and of the history and context of archaeological interpretations.
  4. Understand how different field and laboratory skills and methods can be employed to answer key research questions in archaeology.
  5. Appropriately select and apply discipline-specific archaeological skills and approaches to resolve research problems and develop our understanding of past societies.
  6. Work within large or small teams and independently, leading and being led as appropriate.
  7. Formulate and conduct successful independent archaeological research.
  8. Effectively communicate archaeological knowledge using a variety of different approaches and platforms.
  9. Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of how archaeological knowledge is relevant to key contemporary issues.
  10. Be aware of the potential role of other disciplines in the sciences and humanities (e.g. historical sources) in studying and understanding the archaeology of the past.

The MSc in Archaeology will provide you with the skills required to develop a career in the archaeological profession or the cultural heritage sector, or to go on to further academic study. Transferable skillsets such as critical thinking and project design, management and completion 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 (CRM)
• The Heritage sector
• State sector bodies (Museums, Archaeological Monuments Management)
• NGOs
• Education (Primary, Secondary, University/Higher Education Instiutions)
• Tourism and Public Engagement

View All Modules Here

Core modules 

Material Culture (10 credits)

Landscape Archaeologies: Reconstructing, Imagining, Writing (10 credits)

Archaeological Field Methods (10 credits).

Research Project Skills module (5 credits)

MSc Dissertation (30 credits)

Optional modules 

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Remote Sensing (5)

Heritage Management Challenges (10)

Heritage Presentation and Interpretation (5)

Decolonising Ethnography (5)

Hunter-Gatherers (10)

Other Optional modules may be available, subject to timetabling and availability from the School of Archaeology's other programmes

• Prehistories of Europe
• Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology 
• Experimental Archaeology & Material Culture 
• World Heritage Management 


MSc Archaeology (W492) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 5040
nonEU    fee per year - € 11300

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. In terms of higher education, notwithstanding Brexit, UK students will still be eligible for the EU fee rate.


- 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)


- entry to GradDip based on a Lower Second Class Honours (2H2) undergraduate degree (GPA 2.7, 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

UCD School of Archaeology has an international reputation in the study of archaeology, with extensive expertise in Irish, British and NW European & Mediterranean archaeology, as well as expertise in prehistory, early medieval, late medieval, historical, environmental archaeology (e.g. archaeobotany, residue analysis, archaeological materials scientific analyses, experimental archaeology and ancient technologies, world heritage management and conservation, and professional archaeological skills (e.g. GIS, Remote sensing, LiDAR, archaeological fieldwork). Its facilities include laboratories, post-excavation facilities and the Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture (CEAMC) and the Laboratory for Artefact Biographies (LAB).

For staff research interests, see UCD School of Archaeology website at

and view our staff profiles (Prof Joanna Brück, Dr Rob Sands, Dr Neil Carlin, C. Cave, A. Christie, S. Davis, A. Kelly, H. Lewis, M. McClatchie, B. Molloy, A. O’Sullivan, B. O’Neill, T. O’Keeffe, A. Peatfield, R. Sands, J. Smyth, G. Warren).

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Archaeology PT (W492)
2 Years
Part Time

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