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Archaeology MRes

The Master of Research in Archaeology is an advanced postgraduate degree which can either be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as progression route into doctoral research.

Master of Research in Archaeology Brochure Download

The Programme aims to prepare students:

  • for doctoral level study

  • to engage in a career in archaeological research in a HE or industrial context

  • to meet the global need for highly trained individuals who can make informed decisions on future research directions

  • to think for themselves in the development of a critical approach to the analysis of data and interpretation of published research.

Our MRes in Archaeology programme offers you:

  • Academic rigour: Gain a deeper understanding of your chosen subject area with a challenging combination of taught modules, research training and supervised research.

  • Wide variety of research interests: We have a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of both the taught and research element of your programme.

  • Excellent supervision: Benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced academics working at the forefront of their disciplines.

  • Resources: Access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and its state of the art library facilities. The Institute of Science and the Environment has a number of laboratories and other specialist facilities available for the delivery of your course. In addition to the large laboratory in the Darwin building, there are five other laboratories. The National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit (NPARU) also has several laboratories where molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, forensic science and product testing have been carried out.

Postgraduate Loans

Postgraduate Loans of up to £10,609 are now available for UK students. For more information visit our postgraduate loans page.

Course fees

For full details of course fees, please visit our course fees page



Entry qualifications

Applicants are expected to have a First or Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline or have appropriate research or professional experience which has resulted in appropriate evidence of achievement. For example experience in a research environment such as private research and development or public research laboratories.

International applicants will also be required to demonstrate that they have the appropriate level of written and spoken English (normally IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score of 6 in written English). Entry qualifications for international students are guided by the National Academic Recognition Information Centre’s (NARIC) advice on international qualifications.

Apply for enrolment

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For more information about the programme, please email

All applicants must apply online at least 8 weeks before the start of the Semester (September or January, please contact the Research School for more information).

All applications are passed to the relevant course leader for consideration. If the application has potential, an interview is scheduled by a panel comprising at least two members of academic staff.

An offer of a place on the MRes will be made when the following conditions are satisfied:

  • Applicant meets the specified entry requirements
  • The Institute has the supervisory capacity and expertise to support the research project outlined in the application form
  • The proposal outlined has the potential to become a viable research project at Masters level.


The current fees can be found on the University website. There will be a discount in fees for continuing University of Worcester students.

Course content

Module summary

Processes and Skills, Management and Methods

This module is aimed at providing research students with the generic skills they will need to progress with and to complete their research degree. The module focuses on providing students with the skills to plan and manage their research project, to collect and manage their research data and to structure and write their thesis.

Research Methods in Archaeology

The aim of this module is to provide the student with a framework by which a complete research project (Thesis) may be conceived, proposed, conducted, completed and presented. Linking appropriate research design, methodology and techniques are fundamental to a successful research project. This advanced research methods module will provide students with the opportunity to critically develop a Thesis project within current best practice. Finally, upon completing this module, and successfully completing the dissertation, the student will have acquired generic, transferable and subject specific skills.

Research Thesis Preparation

This module prepares students for their specific MRes Research Thesis by the production of a PDP and training needs analysis in consultation with the research supervisor. A programme of student development and outcomes will be agreed during the module.

Course content

The MRes in Archaeology commences with a taught programme. You will be expected to take and pass three taught modules (below) before proceeding to the research stage of your programme which will culminate in the production of a thesis that will be examined by viva.

The Institute of Science and Environment’s educational and research expertise within Archaeology encompass a range of topics including:

  • British Landscape and Settlement studies, from Mesolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman periods
  • British prehistoric craft production
  • Later prehistoric Italian craft production
  • Technological change and innovation, from prehistory through to Industrial Archaeology
  • Prehistoric Artefact Studies
  • Monuments in the Landscape
  • Prehistoric Cave Use
  • Urban Heritage Marketing
  • Urban Morphology
  • Urban Images
  • Tourism and Heritage

Meet the team

Staff and their research interests

All members of the Course Team have wide-ranging experience and interests in Britain’s archaeology and heritage:

Dr Helen Loney – Research and teaching interests in Memory and Landscape, Upland prehistoric and Roman period British landscapes, motor memory and development of ancient technology, Punic period pottery production in western Sardinia.

Dr Heather Barrett - Specialist research interest in the management of urban conservation areas in Britain. Further research and teaching interests in urban heritage marketing, urban morphology and urban images.

Dr Andrew Hoaen - Research and teaching interests in archaeopalynology, landscape investigation and field techniques.

Dr Jodie Lewis – Research and teaching interests in British Prehistory (Mesolithic-Bronze Age), Landscape Archaeology, archaeological theory, artefact studies and field techniques.

Dr Derek McDougall – Teaching and research interests in glacial geomorphology, mountain environments and Quaternary Britain. Curriculum Leader for Archaeology and Landscape Studies.

Dr David Mullin – Research and teaching interests in archaeological theory, border studies, the Neolithic and Bronze Age, particularly in western Britain, British prehistoric ceramics and field techniques.

Dr David Storey – Research interests in Heritage, Tourism and Place Promotion.

Dr Bob Ruffle – Research interests in post medieval pottery production and use in Worcestershire.

Dr Fleur Visser - Specialist research interest in flooding and river processes, remote sensing and GIS.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.

A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, practicals and tutorials. Seminars enable the discussion and development of understanding of topics covered in lectures, and laboratory practicals are focused on developing subject specific skills and applied individual and group project work. Tutorials, both individual and in small groups, are held with your MRes supervisor and enable you to discuss issues specific to your own research.

You will have access to a range of industry-standard software and equipment and laboratory facilities throughout the course. 

Contact time

The precise contact hours will depend on how long you take to complete the MRes and whether you study full or part-time.

During the thesis module, contact time is reduced and is based on approximately one supervision session per month.  

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 15-18 hours of personal self-study per week, depending on the module and mode of study. Typically, this will involve reading articles, books and reports in the substantive area of study, as well as literature relating to the chosen theoretical/conceptual and methodological approaches.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources. 

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes members of staff from the Research School and the Department of Geography and Archaeology. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ work.  Each module has one or more formal or ‘summative’ assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.   Assessment methods include posters, reports, literature reviews and presentations.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the modules taken, but a typical assessment pattern for the course is:

Module 1 (RTP401)

  • Researcher Development Plan based on their own personal training needs analysis (using Vitae’s ‘Getting Started in Research Lens’ as a starting point);
  • Literature Review for their chosen subject area that critically evaluates current research, synthesising clearly and coherently contemporary thinking to identify key issues;
  • Project Plan for the duration of their study that identifies activities and their critical path, milestones and any other important events that will impact on their research;
  • 10-minute presentation to peers and academics setting out the current state of their proposal including a methodology section.

Module 2 (ARCH4004)

  • Poster Presentation: a professional academic poster, detailing your research proposal;
  • Data Analysis Report, in the style of a journal article that details your data analysis of a case study from your study area.

Module 3 (ARCH4010)

  • Research Proposal: prepare a formal research proposal suitable for submission to a funding body;
  • Presentation: deliver a 20-minute presentation of intended thesis topic to an invited audience;
  • Progress against the Researcher Development Plan prepared for RTP401: present evidence that you’ve made progress against the Researcher Development plan prepared for RTP401.

Module 4 (ARCH4015)

  • Research Thesis (not to exceed 30,000 words).


You will receive feedback on draft assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.