The School of Archaeology is offering a one-year Master of Studies course (MSt) and a two-year Master of Philosophy course (MPhil) in Archaeology. Both courses are of value in themselves and both provide a suitable platform for further research at doctoral level. As with the other Masters degrees in Archaeology, the hallmark of these degrees is flexibility, allowing students to select those options most suitable for them.
As well as specialisations in the fields of Classical Archaeology and Archaeological Science, Oxford boasts a long tradition of archaeological research in Europe and other parts of the world. Making full use of the opportunities for study and research provided by the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums and their World-class libraries, as well as of the University's other archaeological resources, the taught courses in Archaeology allow graduate students to develop their interests in Europe and the world, over a wide time range.
Major areas of regional expertise lie in the development of European society from the Palaeolithic period until the Middle Ages, sub-Saharan Africa, Australasia, and the Islamic world. Additionally, staff members have interests in, and can provide teaching that covers, landscape archaeology, the archaeology of colonialism, archaeological method and theory and hunter-gatherer archaeology.
Students wishing to undertake substantial, independent research of their own leading to a doctoral (DPhil) or (more rarely) a MLitt thesis are normally admitted as Probationer Research Students. Although they may attend lectures, no formal course of instruction is offered. Instead, students are guided in their research by supervisors appointed by the Committee for the School of Archaeology. Students normally have their progress formally assessed by two assessors within three terms of their arrival. This allows them to 'transfer status' to that of a doctoral student. A further assessment ('confirmation of status') is held before submission of the thesis, which is normally expected to take place within three years of initial registration as a research student.
Successful doctoral theses must, among other things, display evidence of substantial and original research, lucid and scholarly presentation and a sound knowledge of the general field within which the thesis falls. There is a maximum word length of 80,000 words. A successful MLitt thesis has a maximum word count of 60,000 words and the requirements of originality and substantiveness are correspondingly less. MLitt students must keep residence and pay fees for six terms (two years), DPhil students for nine terms (three years).
Candidates are normally expected to have a good second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject, although other evidence of interest and ability may also be accepted. Sufficient knowledge of relevant modern languages (depending on interests) and of English (for non-native speakers) is also required.
From the Graduate Admissions Office each application goes to the academic in charge of applications for the degree, who selects two appropriate colleagues to assess it. Provided that proper supervision and teaching can be provided, the decision to accept or reject is based on the assessors´ judgement of the applicant´s qualifications, the references, the personal statement of interests and intentions, and the two pieces of written work required.
The assessors consider both achievement and potential for study at graduate level in the chosen field. Since many applicants are from overseas, interviews are not required, but they may be arranged where this would be helpful to either party.
Applications accepted at departmental level pass to colleges in the order indicated by the candidate. Where no colleges have been indicated, or where the chosen colleges are not able to accept, the application is circulated to colleges chosen by the Graduate Studies Office. Departmental acceptances remain provisional until a college has also accepted the applicant.
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