M.Sc. Archaeological Science

University of Oxford

Tuition fee:
  • € 3,739 / Year (EEA)
  • € 13,455 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
More information: Go to university website

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Oxford welcomes applications for doctoral research in most aspects of Archaeological Science. We have particular strengths and research interests in:

  • Biomolecular Archaeology (especially stable isotope studies)
  • The development and application of dating techniques (especially radiocarbon and luminescence)
  • Archaeological Materials Science (especially ceramics, glass and metals).

Archaeology in Oxford has been top-rated in all recent Research
Assessment Exercises.

These two taught courses both comprise two terms of taught material, covering equally the three strands of research represented in the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (RLAHA) - biomolecular archaeology, dating and archaeological materials science. The teaching is aimed at both students with a purely scientific background and also those with a first degree in Archaeology.

Teaching is all conducted in small groups, and includes hands-on laboratory practical work. Natural scientists taking the course are encouraged to attend courses and seminars in Archaeology in order to acquire the relevant background, and archaeologists may be given additional tuition in background science if necessary.

Following the two taught terms, MSc candidates are expected to undertake a substantial piece of research with a strong practical component with individual supervision, which is submitted as a dissertation at the end of the academic year. MSt candidates will submit an extended essay on a research subject in June.

Candidates for both courses are required to undertake two written unseen examination papers during Trinity (Summer) Term.

  • Length of programme: Nine months (MSt in Archaeological Science), or twelve months (MSc in Archaeological Science)


The Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (RLAHA) has extensive laboratory and analytical facilities, including several stable isotope ratio mass spectrometers, a GC-IRMS and an LC-IRMS for compound-specific determinations. The department also has an AMS for radiocarbon determinations, and shares a luminescence laboratory facility with the School of Geography and the Environment.

For inorganic materials, there are two electron microscopes with WD-XRF attachments, and two ED-XRF spectrometers designed for the semi-quantitative analysis of archaeological and museum specimens.

In addition to access to a range of world-class libraries in Oxford - principally the Sackler Library for Archaeology and Classics, and the Radcliffe Science Library - the department houses its own specialised library.

Oxford has outstanding archaeological, ethnographic and scientific collections in the Ashmolean Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Bodleian Library.


Minimum upper second-class undergraduate degree in Archaeology or an appropriate natural science

Candidates for the DPhil with no Masters level qualification, or with no first degree in Archaeology, may be advised to take the appropriate MSc or MSt as a first step

English Language Requirements

CAE score: (read more)

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IELTS 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.

200 (Grade A)


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