MA Landscape Archaeology


postcard MA Landscape Archaeology

An intensive 1-year (or 2-year part-time) postgraduate taught degree with both research and vocational pathways

Long-established programme that has become one of the most successful in the UK.

Critically explore human perceptions of the natural worlds they inhabit and the ways in which humans have acted upon, and been constrained by, the environment.

Train in a range of analytical techniques such as GIS, topographical and geophysical survey, developing your skills and knowledge in the field.

Explore varied and nationally important landscapes including local sites across South Yorkshire, the Peak District (Derbyshire, England) and
Snowdonia (Wales).

Ensuring students have enhanced employment options by developing a skill base which is in demand in professional archaeology.

Our long-established Masters programme in Landscape Archaeology is one of the most successful in Britain. The programme is underpinned by the conviction that the archaeological study of past landscapes and environments is not an end in itself. Throughout this programme, therefore, you will explore the ways in which human beings have acted upon landscape and environments; the ways in which nature has acted upon humanity, constraining and directing human action; and the ways in which human perceptions of the natural worlds within which they live, and which they have made, influenced their actions.

The programme offers a series of closely integrated core modules, which enable you to develop your experience and understanding of the method and theory of landscape archaeology. You will learn to think critically about the concept of landscape and its application in archaeology and related disciplines; we will train you in a range of analytical techniques; and you will prepare a piece of research from concept, through data collection and analysis to the writing of reports. There is a strong emphasis on developing your skills and knowledge `in the field´ during fieldtrips and within ongoing research projects. We make extensive use of the varied and nationally important landscapes within easy reach of Sheffield, such as the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales. A wide range of up-to-date resources is available, including facilities for using GIS in the lab and in the field; total station, GPS and geophysical survey instruments; and an extensive library of aerial photographs and maps.
You can choose to pursue either a Research Track or Vocational Track pathway: the former involves completing a dissertation*, the latter involves undertaking a fieldwork placement** over the summer.

pots of different soil samples


The 9 day survey was intensive, fun, informative and well organised. Covering a range of survey methods from geophysics to measured survey, we were kept busy in what ever conditions Wales could throw at us. The landscape was stunning and the archaeology abundant (in most places). We came away knowing a lot more before we left Sheffield. A great experience!

Andrea Goodinson, MA Landscape Archaeology student

Students on fieldwork in Wales

*While the majority of dissertation projects do not involve any additional cost to the student, you may incur some expenses if you choose a topic that is not resourced by the department.

**Depending on a student's choice of placement, this may involve additional travel or other costs.

Landscape image

Duration Full-time (one year) or Part-time (two years).
Semesters The teaching component of the programme will commence late September and is based on semesters (Autumn/Spring). Semester dates Over the summer you will undertake your independent research/work placement report in consultation with an academic supervisor. Part-time students will commence this aspect of the programme in the summer of their second year.
Qualification This programme is offered as a MA (180 credits), Diploma (120 credits) or a Certificate (60 credits).
Assessment Typical forms of assessment include essays, presentations and completion of a research-led dissertation/work placement report

Information relates to 2017-18 academic year: The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is current and relevant. Individual modules may be updated or withdrawn in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability, and variations in student numbers. In the event of a material change the University will inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Core Modules:

These compulsory modules will provide you with the key knowledge and understanding for research or a profession in landscape archaeology.

Two tracks (Research or Vocational) are available to you.  To allow you to be as flexible as possible a final decision on which track to pursue can be made at the start of your Spring Semester.

Research Track

Dissertation on a subject of your choice*.  You can use this as a platform for the further study of topics/issues in doctoral research, or simply to advance your knowledge and understanding of a key topic in Landscape Archaeology.  To be taken during the summer months.

Vocational Track

Work Placement in Landscape Archaeology ** where you will be given the chance to work alongside practitioners 'in the field'.  To be taken over the summer months.

*While the majority of dissertation projects do not involve any additional cost to the student, you may incur some expenses if you choose a topic that is not resourced by the department.

**Depending on a student's choice of placement, this may involve additional travel or other costs.

Optional Modules

You will chose modules worth a total of 45 credits, which can also include a module up to the value of 15 credits in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.  For information on the optional 15 credits module which could be taken in Archaeology please see the module list.  Availability varies from year to year.

Full programme specifications are also available.


Core Teaching Staff:

Gianna AyalaDr Gianna Ayala

Gianna’s research interests are wide reaching and focus on the integration of different analytical methods. She works predominately in the Mediterranean but has worked all over the world, including Britain, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Argentina.

Paul HalsteadProf Paul Halstead

Paul’s research has focussed chronologically and geographically on the later prehistory (Neolithic and Bronze Age) of Greece, thematically on the relationship between farming economies and social change, and methodologically on the contributions of zooarchaeology and ethnoarchaeology to the study of past animal and crop husbandry. He has participated in archaeological fieldwork projects in Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Bulgaria and Britain and in ethnoarchaeological projects in Greece, France and Spain.

Bob JohnstonDr Bob Johnston

Bob’s research interests include landscape archaeology, Bronze Age Britain and Ireland, the archaeology of upland landscapes, particularly in western Britain, Prehistoric land enclosure in north-west Europe.

Colin MerronyColin Merrony (Programme Director)

Colin’s research interests include the economy and landscape impact of Medieval Premonstratensian Abbeys in Britain. Landscape change in southern Yorkshire and the North-east Midlands. The development and application of field techniques for investigating historic landscapes. The use of archaeology as a mechanism for basic skills education and for enhancing social cohesion. The geochemistry of New Zealand greenstone.


Academic Requirements:

A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree (GPA 3.0) in an arts, humanities or science subject is usually required. Your interest in and knowledge of archaeological matters are more important than the specific discipline of your undergraduate degree. EU and international student entry requirements can be found using the link below:

English Language Requirements:

For applicants whose first language is not English, IELTS is the preferred test of language. You need an IELTS score of 6.5, with at least 5.5 in all the component tests. Further information can be obtained from the following link:

Fees and Funding:

Funding options, instalment plans and tuition fee information are located at:

Students researching in the field of landscape archaeology are automatically considered for the Robert Kiln bursary of £1000

How to Apply:

Applications forms are completed on-line at the following link:

Applying to start in over 12 months time?

Please feel free to submit your application via our online system, however please note that we will not be able to process your application for this course until 12 months before your proposed start date.

Visit Us:

If you’re considering doing a postgraduate programme at Sheffield, you are very welcome to visit us. You can attend an open day or a visit afternoon, which will include a tour of the University campus and the department, or contact the department directly ( to arrange a personal visit to meet with the director of your chosen programme.

Further Information:

If you'd like to know more about any aspect of this course please contact, Colin Merrony,

For any other queries please contact: E:, T: +44 (0)114 222 2900

Frequently Asked Questions:

The link below contains questions most commonly asked about the application process:


We are truly international in our scope and ethos. Our students come to us from countries all over Europe, Asia and America. Their vibrancy, pursuit of knowledge and divergent experience informs our debates and provokes lively discussion. We encourage applicants to visit the following webpages aimed specifically at our EU and international students.

We also have a departmental page for our international applicants:

Prospective EU Students