MSc PG Certificate PG Diploma
2022 start September 

Archaeological Science

Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Create a bespoke degree that reflects your unique interests and ambitions through one of our two pathways: Bioarchaeology or Cross-discipline.
Archaeological science

Course description

You'll choose from two different pathways to design your own course through a combination of core and optional modules. You'll have the choice of the Bioarchaeology or Cross-disciplinary pathway. The Cross-disciplinary pathway is suited to students who desire greater freedom of choice outside of the core modules or wish to study a combination of organic and inorganic materials.

MSc students
This course is structured to lead up to the writing of a journal-style paper. You’ll select a specialist analytical approach and develop this in-depth to address a specific archaeological problem.

Modules

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Core modules:

Research Design: Planning, Execution and Presentation

This module provides students with the advanced understanding they need to design an effective research project, that addresses a question relevant to current debate in archaeology, and in particular to plan a successful MA/MSc dissertation. It comprises six group seminar sessions and three seminars in which students from different courses are streamed to be taught subject-specific material by experts in the field. The module culminates in a research day during which students present their dissertation plans to their peers and staff assessors. Assessment is in two parts: a succinct powerpoint presentation of dissertation proposal and outline; and a grant proposal.

15 credits
Dissertation (Journal Paper Style)

This module requires students to plan, execute and write up an original research project. This dissertation project is chosen with, and approved by, the designated supervisor, who may or may not be the programme director. Dissertation topics must be based on original research and on the students' own ideas: they must be worthwhile, affordable, manageable within time limits, be capable of supervision within the Department and related to the subject matter on the appropriate Masters. Students who choose this particular type of dissertation will place particular emphasis on synthetic writing and an ability to familiarise themselves with journal publicaton submission and style. With the exception of the word count the students will follow the editorial guidelines of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

60 credits
Quantitative methods in anthropology and archaeology

This module introduces learners to current research methods for the analysis of archaeological and anthropological data using advanded statistical and computational methods. The module includes lectures and practical classes which explore a series of examples of the application of statistics and numerical methods to quantitative problems in the archaeological sciences including biological anthropology, palaeoanthropology and environmental archaeology.

15 credits
Applied Bioarchaeological Science

This course acquaints the student with a number of scientific analytical techniques and methods which are pertinent to the interpretation of key questions in bioarchaeology. These include histology and microscopic, chemical and isotopic techniques, ancient DNA analysis, lipid analysis and proteomics. It provides a theoretical introduction as well as some practical experience in sample preparation methodologies, data collection and analysis. The potential and limitations of methods are discussed through specific case studies.

15 credits

Optional modules:

Reinventing Archaeology

This course will seek to understand how the structure of the modern practice of archaeology has come about and how changes in working methods and theoretical perspective may reconfigure the discipline. Reference will be made to the debates in method and theory and the relationships among certain specialisms. Students will develop, and to be able to express, their understanding of the discipline and the current and future position of their own ambitions.

15 credits
Archaeobotany

This module comprises laboratory classes involving practical handling of archaeobotanical material as well as student-led seminars reviewing key methodological debates in archaeobotany and exploring the implications of similar debates in archaeozoology. It delivers practical skills in identification, recording, analysis and interpretation of archaeobotanical remains; explores sampling strategies and recovery techniques; considers the implications of taphonomy and different scales of analysis; evaluates such theoretical issues as analogy and uniformitarianism; emphasising the reconstruction of crop processing and the integration of animal and plant exploitation. The module is assessed by an extended essay and a problem-solving exercise.

15 credits
Archaeozoology

Zooarchaeology (or Archaeozoology) is the study of past human interaction with animals through the analysis of their material remains. This module provides a practical introduction to the identification, analysis and interpretation of animal bones from archaeological sites. Practical skills are developed through group laboratory work, concentrating on mammals but also touching on other classes of vertebrates. Methodological and theoretical issues in archaeological interpretation are discussed in the classes in combination with the hands-on work. The course culminates in a project report, which reconstructs animal exploitation through the analysis of ageing and biometrical data.

15 credits
Human Osteology

In this module the students are introduced to the human skeleton, both adult and immature, and comparative primate skeletons. They are provided with in depth information on how to recognise individual bones, how to side elements by being familiar with all pertinent landmarks. They will be introduced to the size and shape variation present in the skeleton of Homo sapiens, including variations due to sex, ethnic affinity, and temporal changes.

15 credits
Dynamic Landscapes: Investigating ancient environments

This module enhances postgraduate students' understanding of the ways in which archaeologists reconstruct past environments. Through a combination of different learning experiences (lectures, student-led seminars, practical classes and directed independent study) students will explore a variety of contemporary and ancient environments as well as enhance their understanding of the methods and professional standards of environmental reconstruction. Seminars and assessments will encourage students to apply the concepts and methods introduced in the module to their specific areas of interest. The module will enable students from different postgraduate degree programmes to develop an understanding of environmental analysis that is relevant to their own research interests.This module introduces the ways in which archaeologists reconstruct past environments. Through a combination of different learning experiences (lectures, student-led seminars, practical classes and directed independent study) students will explore a variety of contemporary and ancient environments as well as enhance their understanding of the methods and professional standards of environmental reconstruction. Seminars and assessments will encourage students to apply the concepts and methods introduced in the module to their specific areas of interest. Emphasis is upon the most common analytical techniques. The intent is to provide a working knowledge of many techniques, and awareness of others, which require a mor

15 credits

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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Duration

MSc: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
Postgraduate Diploma: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
Postgraduate Certificate: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Teaching

You'll be taught through a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops.

Assessment

Your assessments will include essays, portfolio work, practical work, exams and a journal-style paper.

Entry requirements

Usually a minimum 2:1 honours degree in an arts, humanities or science subject. But your interest in and understanding of archaeology is more important than what you studied at undergraduate level.

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering or Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

Contact

Contact

Dr Katie Hemer
Programme Director
k.hemer@sheffield.ac.uk
0114 222 2925

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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