MSc Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy


This programme delivers both intensive training in environmental and economic archaeology (with the opportunity to specialise further in one branch of these related fields), and an understanding of how these skills and knowledge might be deployed to advance our understanding of the relationship between people and nature in the making of human history.

Studies of contemporary ecology and economy are emphasised as a basis for investigating the past. The ability to reconstruct and understand past environments and economies is critical to both professional and academic archaeology. The programme offers a balance of core and optional modules, which enable you to develop your experience and understanding of the method and theory of environmental archaeology and palaeoeconomy. You will learn to think critically and we will train you in a range of problem solving and analytical skills. You will acquire advanced IT skills (including use of relevant software packages, such as SPSS and CANOCO, with the option of GIS, and you will develop a range of general research (group-based seminar work, practical work and independent research) and presentational skills that can be applied in a broad range of employment contexts.

Students in the lab

Sheffield is the ideal place to pursue this programme. The teaching staff are leading scholars in environmental and economic archaeology. Through their research and field projects they are active in the generation of new knowledge about humanity´s relationship with, and creation of, the natural world – knowledge that feeds directly into their teaching. As in all our programmes, 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 viewpoints and approaches and to make your own mind up about their strengths and weaknesses.

Students in the lab

Microscope work

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 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 an MSc (180 credits), Diploma (120 credits) or a Certificate (60 credits).
Typical forms of assessment include essays, presentations and completion of a research-led dissertation*.

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 in environmental 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.

Optional Modules:

You will choose two modules worth a total of 30 credits, which will include at least one of the following:

Availability of other optional modules varies from year to year but the following module list gives a flavour of the kind of specialised modules we will offer in archaeology and you may also take one 15-credit module in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

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.

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 (Programme Director in Semester 2)

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.

Glynis JonesProfessor Glynis Jones (Programme Director in Semester 1)

Glynis is a specialist in archaeobotany. Her research interests include, the origins and spread of agriculture, the investigation of crop domestication and spread through DNA analysis, ecological approaches to crop domestication, the use of weed ecology in the identification of crop husbandry practices, stable isotopes as a method for identifying the intensity of crop cultivation practices, dating the spread of crops through Europe, the role of crop cultivation in the Neolithic to Iron Age in Britain/Europe, ethnoarchaeological approaches to the investigation of early farming.

Michael WallaceDr Michael Wallace


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:

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, Prof Paul Halstead,

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