Applied Landscape Archaeology

Study mode:On campus Study type:Part-time Languages: English
Local:$ 4.59 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 11.9 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jan 20, 2025
1 place StudyQA ranking:4610 Duration:2 years

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This MSc is a part-time modular course over two years, leading to a University of Oxford graduate degree in archaeology. The course is designed for the needs of students who wish to study part-time and this includes those who are in full-time employment. Those with a personal or professional interest in landscape archaeology are welcome to apply.

Landscape archaeology is an increasingly popular and widely understood concept. Using a multi-period systematic approach, it is concerned with understanding past human impacts on the resources, topography and environment of the whole landscape, from uplands to coasts, and from farmed landscapes to urban/industrial areas.

Many new methods of research are being developed in landscape archaeology, including digital mapping and remote-sensing techniques such as geophysics. These are taking their place alongside fieldwalking, historic landscape analysis, aerial photography and selective excavation to provide a flexible and effective armoury of techniques for the researcher. Skills such as survey and historic landscape characterisation are becoming essential for anyone involved in the management of the historic environment. Effective communication of the value and potential of the historic landscape is vital in the world of planning, tourism and education.

The course involves a combination of academic study and field practice – survey and geophysics form a central theme, and the department enjoys the support of Bartington Instruments Ltd for this.

This course is designed to appeal to those who already have experience of studying archaeology (or a closely-related subject) at undergraduate degree or advanced diploma level and who wish to expand their academic, practical and professional skills in landscape archaeology.

With a strong (but not exclusive) emphasis on the archaeology of Britain, it focuses on the applications of research methods in varying landscape situations. The course format is flexible and enables students to pursue their own research interests leading to a 15,000-word dissertation.

The course is divided into two one-year modules, Year A and Year B, which are run in alternate academic years (from October to September):

Year B begins in October 2017
Year A begins in October 2018

All students attend both modules, but they may be done in any order depending on year of admission. Because the course is modular there is no advantage to one combination over the other. Students normally study two consecutive modules and this is regarded as the best way to experience the course. However, in exceptional cases, regulations permit a student to intermit between modules (by permission of the Board of Studies only).

Both one-year modules have one core paper and two advanced papers spread over three terms.

Year A:

  • Core Paper: Method and Theory in Landscape Archaeology
  • Advanced Paper (Artefacts and Ecofacts in the Landscape)
  • Advanced Paper (Archaeological Prospection)

Year B:

  • Core Paper: Managing Historic Landscapes in the 21st Century
  • Advanced Paper (Digital Landscapes)
  • Advanced Paper (Reading the Historic Landscape)
  • Field Training Week

Instead of one advanced paper, students may choose to opt for a ‘flexi-placement’ comprising at least 14 days spread over approximately one year to be spent working at an organisation which is involved in an aspect of landscape archaeology. The Course Director will supply details of these.

The dissertation (15,000 words) is the student’s own project which develops throughout the course and is submitted at the end of the second module. It can be based on a piece of fieldwork, or a methodological or artefactual study. Each student will be assigned a tutor who will supervise their dissertation. A dissertation workshop is held each year to help students work together on this essential course element.

In addition, once every two years (in late June - early July of Year B) a compulsory field survey training week will take place. Each student will also have a series of tutorials with the course director and tutors; these may take place in person or on-line.

Course content and timetable

All assignment titles, submission deadlines, reading lists, field visit and field work locations will be supplied when you have taken up your place. The course is based at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA. Some classes may take place at Ewert House, Ewert Place, Oxford (the Department’s teaching annexe off Banbury Rd, Summertown, North Oxford).


Matriculation Ceremony Saturday 14 October 2017,
Compulsory for new students; followed by college welcome and lunch. Your college will inform you of other dates in the college. Location: your college

Course Induction (new students only): Sunday 15 October 2017, 10.00am - 3.00pm
One day including orientation session and short field visit within Oxford. Location: Rewley House.

Teaching Sessions


  • Core Paper (2 x 2,500 word assignments)
  • Analysis of conceptual frameworks and research designs in landscape archaeology covering multi-period perspectives
  • Four Saturdays: 28 October, 11 November, 25 November, 9 December 2017


  • Dissertation Workshop (all students) 13 January 2018
  • Advanced Paper (1 x 5,000 word assignment)
  • Studying palaeoenvironmental evidence and techniques; also surface scatters based on ceramics and lithics: depositional and preservational factors, one practical fieldwalking day.
  • Four Saturdays: 27 January, 17 February, 3 March, 17 March 2018


  • Advanced Paper (1 x 5,000 word assignment)
  • Principles and applications of archaeological geophysics in landscape survey; other techniques such as Lidar interpretation. Two Saturdays and one full weekend: 5 May, 19 May, 23 June, 6 July 2018

Field Survey Training Week
Seven days (Sat-Fri) 2-8 June 2018


Induction: TBC

Teaching Sessions


  • Core Paper (2 x 2,500 word assignment)
  • Issues and approaches to landscape management in the present day: one field visit.
  • Four Saturdays: Dates TBC


  • Dissertation Workshop (all students) - one Saturday: TBC
  • Advanced Paper (1 x 5,000 word assignment)
  • DIGITAL LANDSCAPES Digital mapping, analysis and GIS, supported practical teaching and exercises.
  • Four Saturdays: Dates TBC


  • Advanced Paper (1 x 5,000 word assignment)
  • Historic landscape archaeology; two field visits
  • Four Saturdays: Dates TBC

Field Survey Training Week (1 week, full-time, runs Saturday-Friday): Dates TBC likely to be May or June. COURSE ELEMENTS APPLICABLE TO BOTH YEARS
Optional Flexi-Placements
Minimum 14 days within a period of not more than one year in terms 2 - 6 (by mutual arrangement of student and placement tutor). Students will be given real work within the organisations, and their placement project portfolios will be supervised by the placement tutors.

Placements must be focused on a specific piece of original or semi-original research or development work within the programme of the placement organisation, eg a digital archive; a finds report; an analysis of a geophysical plot; a fieldwork report, to be presented as a practical portfolio. Text word limit: 5,000 words, equivalent to one Advanced Paper.
15,000 word dissertation
A dissertation must be a piece of independent research, and may involve fieldwork.

Assessment methods

This course is 100% continuous assessment: there are no written exami- nations. Each core paper consists of two 2,500 word assignments, each advanced paper consists of one 5,000 word assignment (or in the case of a placement, an equivalent-sized placement report); the field training week logbook and the 15,000 word dissertation complete the written requirements. At the end of the course, students attend a viva voce (oral) examination.

The total marks over the two-year programme are awarded as follows:
Core Papers 20% (10% each year)
Advanced Papers 40% (20% each year)
Field Week Logbook 5%
Dissertation 35%

IT requirements

This course uses the Department’s online assignment submission system. In order to prepare and submit your course assignments you will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification. Students of this course may use the student computing facilities provided in Departmental buildings.

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours or FHEQ Level 6 Advanced Diploma (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in archaeology or a related subject. If you are unsure as to whether your qualification is in a related subject, please contact the Programme Director.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

A BA/BSc degree (in combined honours) or PGCert in a relevant subject may be acceptable.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

Extensive field and/or professional experience in archaeology is also relevant and may be taken into account as a factor in admission. Qualifications and experience in a related area of historical, landscape and/or environmental relevance will also be considered. You would normally be expected to have some practical archaeological experience, such as excavation, survey or data processing

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

  • Official transcript(s)
  • CV/résumé
  • Research proposal:One to two pages
  • Written work: Two essays of 2,000 words each
  • References/letters of recommendation: Three overall, all of which must be academic


Higher level


Standard level scores

Higher level scores

IELTS Academic 
Institution code: 0713

7.0 Minimum 6.5 per component  7.5  Minimum 7.0 per component 

Institution code: 0490


Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) 185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) 185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

  • Global Education
  • Hill Foundation Scholarships
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