Archaeology (MRes)


The MRes in Archaeology provides a thorough grounding in the theories, debates and methods of archaeology and archaeological heritage today. 

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Campus Parkgate Road Campus, Chester
Course MRes
Length 1 Year full-time; 2-4 Years part-time
Start date October 2016

The course equips students with the research skills and academic framework necessary to undertake postgraduate study. Supported by expert academic archaeologists in the Department of History and Archaeology, students pursue a research dissertation investigating a topic of their own choosing.

The MRes in Archaeology is tailored for those wishing to explore their existing interests in archaeology, to cultivate new interests through postgraduate study or to discover the excitement of archaeological research for the first time. The programme combines taught modules with a substantive research project. Students will have the opportunity to conduct independent research leading to a research dissertation of up to 28,000 words.

The Department can offer supervision in a broad range of archaeological subjects and topics, allowing students to explore and expand their own interests in archaeology and archaeological heritage. Staff are active researchers in the prehistoric and historic archaeology of Britain, NW Europe and Scandinavia, particularly the archaeology of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, the Early Middle Ages (c. AD 400-1100) and the late-modern and contemporary past (c. AD 1750 to the present). Research themes of current staff include the history and theory of archaeology, the archaeology of death and burial, archaeologies of memory, materiality and material culture, art and aesthetics, stone sculpture and literary heritage.

The MRes in Archaeology allows students to expand and deepen their knowledge of the human past. The course fosters independent and advanced research skills. Those studying on the programme will have the freedom to design and complete a large-scale research project built around their own interests.

Programme Structure

Research Skills in Archaeology and Heritage

This module provides an archaeology and heritage-specific Masters-level research skills module, affording students the necessary tailored skills for them to successfully undertake Masters level research in archaeology and heritage. Students are guided through a wide range of research skills and can opt to pursue in detail those most relevant in preparation for their intended research dissertation.

Investigating the Past

This module provides an advanced-level introduction and assessment of themes in the history, philosophy, theory and method of archaeology today. The aim is to equip students with the concepts and skills of critical enquiry required for Master’s-level research in archaeology and archaeological heritage.

Research Dissertation

Each student researches and writes a 28,000-word dissertation on an aspect of archaeology or archaeological heritage that relates to the Department’s specialisms. In researching their dissertations, students will spend time working in archaeological collections, archives, libraries and other repositories or may conduct non-intrusive archaeological fieldwork, ensuring that they have a sizeable primary source base to work from. A supervisor will be assigned whose guidance, advice and support will be provided through one-to-one tutorials. Although the supervisor will offer considerable intellectual and practical guidance, the dissertation itself is based largely upon independent research.

Each taught module will be assessed by means of written coursework equivalent to approximately 4,000 words, comprised of essays and reports. The Research Skills in Archaeology and Heritage module involves a skills passport to equip students with the information and methods they require for their research. The Research Dissertation will be 28,000 words in length.

The MRes in Archaeology offers students an opportunity to develop skills suitable for a range of careers in the archaeology, museum, and heritage sectors, as well as more widely in teaching and business. The programme provides an excellent grounding in the current debates and approaches to the study of the past from prehistory to the 21st century as well as postgraduate level research skills.

The MRes in Archaeology is an ideal and tailored course for those wishing to pursue research for the fun of it, to gain an archaeology postgraduate qualification in its own right, or as a gateway to MPhil or PhD research in archaeology or archaeological heritage.

A good, second class honours degree or an equivalent qualification is required in Archaeology or any relevant discipline. Applicants will also be required to produce up to 300 words describing their research topic and attend an interview.