MA Medieval Archaeology


The programme offers a series of closely integrated core modules which address the key issues in medieval archaeology – including the relationship between archaeology and texts, perception and use of landscape, death and commemoration, gender, the appropriation of the past and the construction of identities - which enable you to develop your experience and understanding of the method and theory of medieval archaeology. Within this coherent and informed structure, you will be encouraged to explore your own particular interests with a range of modules allowing you to focus on Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and later medieval, and Tudor archaeology in Europe. Throughout the programme we will encourage and support you in the development of intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, problem solving and independent judgement.

Sheffield is home to one of the largest communities of medieval archaeologists in the UK, and this provides our staff and students with a focus for interdisciplinary research into all aspects of the European historical archaeology. Our teaching staff are leading scholars, and through their research and field projects they are active in the generation of new knowledge that feeds directly into their teaching. We stress the integration of `humanities´ and `science-based´ approaches to produce a deeper understanding of past humanity, and throughout provide you with the opportunity to work between and across different view points and approaches and to make your own mind up about their strengths and weaknesses. What we will ask of you, as a member of our lively academic community, is that you learn, think and develop your own answers to the questions raised.

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Duration One year full-time or two years part-time.
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 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.*

Information relates to 2018-19 academic year: The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Core Modules:

These compulsory modules will provide you with the key knowledge and understanding for research in medieval archaeology.

*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.  You will be expected to cover the cost of printing and binding two copies of your dissertation/placement report.

Optional Modules:

You will chose modules worth a total of 60 credits, which can also include a module up to the value of 15 credits in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities OR an MLTC language unit. Availability varies from year to year but the following and our module list gives a flavour of the kind of specialised modules we offer.

Full programme specifications are also available.


Core Teaching Staff:

Umberto AlbarellaDr Umberto Albarella

Umberto specialises in the study of animal bones from archaeological sites (zooarchaeology). His research is wide-ranging and strongly oriented towards the integration of different aspects of archaeology. His work is predominantly based in Britain and Italy and he has also worked in Armenia, Greece, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France and Portugal.

Lizzy CraigDr Lizzy Craig-Atkins

Lizzy is a specialist in human osteology and palaeopathology with particular interests in multidisciplinary approaches to questions surrounding past population structures, health, disease and lifestyle. She has worked with human remains from many periods and locations, but her primarily focus is on material from post-Roman to modern periods in the UK.

John Moreland

Prof John Moreland (Programme Director for Semester 2 - 2018-19)

John’s research interests include the use of writing in Antiquity and the Middle Ages – as a technology of control, a vehicle for resistance, and as a means of communicating with the supernatural, the role of images (particularly the Cross) in medieval and early modern societies, the transition from late Antiquity to the middle ages in Europe (particularly in the Britain and the Mediterranean).

Hugh Willmott

Dr Hugh Willmott (Programme Director) [on research leave Semester 2 - 2018-19]

Hugh's research interests lie in the archaeology of the medieval and early modern period in Europe. Currently, he is currently focusing upon exploring the archaeology of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England and exploring the longer-term development of monastic landscapes in early and later medieval Lincolnshire. Other aspects of his work examine the development of historical societies through their production, consumption and deposition of material culture.


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:


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

There may be additional costs associated with any laboratory work you may undertake such as purchase of laboratory coats, dissection kit (Human Anatomy). For field work you would be required to ensure you have appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear, as well as first aid and emergency equipment. You will also need to purchase books, stationery, IT accessories, etc.

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.

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

Contact us

If you'd like to know more about any aspect of our courses, please contact us:


T: +44 (0) 114 222 2900