Oxford Brookes University logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: $ 4.35k / Year
  • Foreign: $ 15.9k / Year
  • Languages of instruction:
  • English

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    The Archaeological Illustration course, taught at Swindon College, produces graduates who are able to enter the profession as specialist practitioners and/or researchers. At present, only Swindon College's School of Art, in partnership with Oxford Brookes University, offers teaching at master's level in this area of visual practice, and in Swindon we are ideally placed with the National Monuments Record and English Heritage both located in the town and co-operating with the curriculum. The course was developed in collaboration with the Association of Archaeological Illustrators and Surveyors (AAI&S), and provides a masters level qualification respected by the industry. It develops visual, creative and technical skills in the context of strong academic research.

    Archaeological investigation tends to be carried out by research teams, and there is a need for specialists who can combine the artists abilities of visual realisation of evidence with the analysis and forensic investigation of the archaeologist. This masters course aims to supply such specialists.

    The course is aimed at those candidates who already hold archaeological qualifications (or equivalent experience) and who show sufficient aptitude with drawing and design. Artists and designers wishing to engage in archaeological research and/or visualisation may be eligible.

    You apply for this course through UKPASS.

    Course length
    Full-time: MA: 18 months (45 weeks); PGDip: 12 months (30 weeks)
    Part-time: MA: 3 years (90 weeks), PG Dip: 2 years (60 weeks)

    The course concentrates on acquiring a high level of the practical skills of illustration preparation within the context of the investigative and research ethos of the archaeological process, and communicating archaeological discovery to others. We also expect students to test the boundaries of current practice and to examine and reappraise the methods, systems, cultures and appropriateness of the illustration process.

    As our courses are reviewed regularly, course content and module choices may change from the details given here.

    The programme of learning is centred on individual studio practice, and is informed by a mixture of formal taught components (including lectures, presentations and seminars), individual tutorials (offering reflection and formative consideration of practice), and visits to appropriate professional agencies.

    The first 30 weeks (full-time) or 60 weeks (part-time) involves the following modules, constituting Part 1 of the full masters award OR completion of the PGDip.

    Module 1: Visual Studies (core) is designed to enable you to extend your understanding and/or further develop an expertise in the application of a visual language. You should be able to communicate through images with an exploration of appropriate graphic tools and media and be able to analyse the effectiveness of the results.

    Module 2: Research Studies (core) focuses on your capacity to undertake intensive analysis and critical review of topics associated with archaeological visualisation. It introduces the concepts of primary and secondary sourced research and contextualised reading, interpreting historical, contemporary and theoretical material and relevant methodologies to evaluate such references, and establishing a balance between empirical, theoretical and practice-based elements.

    Module 3: Recording Studies (option A)* extends your expertise in the contexts of archaeological methods and requirements and their associations with the design process. Visual recording methods (either as drawings, mapping, sectioning, surveying or photographic) are developed, with the concentration on finds recording (where accurate and measured drawn records of artefacts are produced).

    Module 4: Reconstruction Studies (option A)*: the visual interpretation of human activity based on archaeological and historical evidence forms the content of the work within this module. Projects are negotiated between staff and students which concentrate on reconstructing the past in various ways (hand-crafted, computer drafted and/or 3D) and for various end-users for example, educational, scientific, journalistic, institutional, or those in museum display and interpretation.

    Module 5: Digital Applications (option B)*: digital photography and computer-aided imaging and drafting techniques constitute a major tool and medium within archaeological research, evaluation and display. The uses of the computer and suitable software packages as an aid to archaeological illustration are investigated within this module, from digital mapping to the 3D virtual animated fly-through.

    Module 6: Information Design (option B)*: in this module, you will look at the relationships between archaeological illustration and the contexts in which they are utilised, published or broadcast.

    *You must undertake one option (A) and one option (B) module in addition to the core modules.

    Part 2 of the full master's award requires a further 15 weeks of practice for the full MA, and one of the two options must be undertaken:

    Module 7: Dissertation (option): this Part 2 option requires you to undertake a research-based study of one or more of the course themes. The topic focuses on a critical examination, through research and extended written work, of a subject, theme or issue which is significant to the representation or interpretation of human activity in the past.

    Module 8: Material Practice (option): you undertake a research-based study, working with an outside agency, of one or more of the course themes. (Recent examples of agencies include English Heritage, Oxford Archeological Unit and the Corinium Museum.) The research outcome can be in the form of extended visual practice in other words, archaeological recording and/or reconstruction in suitable media, or novel extensions of digital imaging of archaeological/historical data. Such practical work is required to add to extant knowledge, consisting of original discoveries or presentations.


    UK requirements for international applications

    Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).

    Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.

    All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.


    University requirements


    Program requirements

    Successful applicants will normally have a good honours degree (or equivalent) in archaeology (or relevant related discipline), or an art or design subject. Applicants with alternative qualifications and those without formal academic qualifications might also be considered, providing they can provide evidence of relevant experience and level of work appropriate to the academic demands of the programme. Candidates will be selected after presentation of a portfolio at interview, and admissions tutors will decide on selection on the basis of the candidate´s ability to benefit from the course.If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency. English Language Requirements IELTS band: 6 CAE score: (read more) Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IETLS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever. 75 (Grade B) TOEFL iBT® test: 78 IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.
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