Master's Programme in Archaeology

120 credits

Archaeology is the only discipline within the humanities that covers all of human history. The Master's Programme in Archaeology, lets you analyse historical processes and phenomena. Using methods from the natural sciences, the programme gives you a broad education within the cultural heritage, history and environment studies. The programme is vocational, but will also provide you with research skills.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Visby, 100%, On-campus, English

The programme is offered in Uppsala and also at Campus Gotland in Visby. You need to choose to either study the programme in Uppsala or Visby.

If you are interested in contract archaeology, cultural heritage management, or a career as a researcher, this is the programme for you. The programme is vocational but will also provide you with research skills. You will acquire skills in field studies, different methods and interpretative models in the exploration of the past. Through our laboratory exercises, you will learn Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and during fieldwork, you will dig under supervision.

The duration of the full programme is two years and is worth 120 credits, but you can also choose to complete your studies in one academic year, leading to a Master of Arts (60 credits) with Archaeology as the main field of study.

You will take a mixture of compulsory and elective courses during the programme. The Department of Archaeology and Ancient History offers courses in Archaeology, Classical Archaeology and Egyptology every semester. You can also choose courses from other subjects if you want to broaden your education further.

If you follow the two-year programme, you will take courses equivalent to 75 credits and write a Master's thesis worth 45credits. If you follow the one-year programme, the course work will amount to 30 credits and the Master's thesis will be worth 30 credits.

The Department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University strives for excellence in its teaching and research and is currently ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide in the subject of Archaeology (QS World University Rankings 2022).

Upon completion of an MA in Archaeology our students have numerous transferable skills that enable them to find work in for example contract archaeology, cultural heritage management, tourism, jobs requiring Geographical Information Systems (GIS) within local and national government agencies or as educators, teachers, and researchers.

Student profile

The programme is international; Swedish students represent the majority, with a range of nationalities from elsewhere in Europe, North America, South America, China and also students from various other countries. Students come from either a background in archaeology; anthropology and Scandinavian studies with a strong component of archaeology within their studies. The student group in Uppsala is c. 20 students and at the Gotland campus c. 10 students.


The programme leads to the degree of Master of Arts (120 credits) with Archaeology as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is possible to obtain a degree of Master of Arts (60 credits).

The Master's Programme in Archaeology starts with two compulsory courses, followed by a range of elective courses offered by the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History or by other departments at the Faculty of Arts.

The first compulsory course is Perspectives on the Past. It runs at 50% of a full-time study load and you will take the course together with students from the Master's Programme in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History and in Egyptology.

The second compulsory course, The Craft of Research, runs throughout the first semester and provides the foundation for the writing of your Master's thesis.

You will design your education according to your interests. At the beginning of the first semester, you will establish an individual study plan (ISP) together with the programme coordinator or director of studies. At that time, you will decide how to plan your studies; which courses to take, when to write your Master's thesis, etc. The ISP is revised every semester, or, more often if needed.

The department offers a number of courses, which normally run at 50% of a full-time study load. The idea behind this is that you should read two courses in parallel, or read one course while working on your thesis project. Apart from the courses offered by the department, which vary from semester to semester over a two-year cycle, you can choose to take an internship (worth 7.5 or 15 credits), or take courses individually tailored to suit your needs. You may also take courses offered by other departments at the university. Most of the department's courses are offered both in Uppsala and Visby, but some are only given at one campus.

You will write a 45-credit Master's thesis. It is divided up and written over several semesters. You can choose to devote your full attention to the thesis, or read a course at the same time.

Courses within the programme

You have the opportunity to arrange your own course of study in consultation with the Director of Studies. Below is an example of what such a study programme might look like for the full two-year programme.

Semester 1

  • Perspectives on the Past: Applied Theory and Method, 7.5 credits (compulsory)
  • The Craft of Research, 7,5 credits (compulsory)
  • Elective courses of 15 credits

Semester 2

  • Advanced field course in archaeology, 15 credits
  • Thesis module 1, 7,5 credits
  • Optional courses of 7,5 credits

Semester 3

  • Elective courses, 22,5 hp
  • Thesis module 2, 7,5 hp

Semester 4

  • Thesis module 3, 30 hp

Teaching typically includes two to four hours of seminars and lectures each week.

Between seminars, you are expected to read and digest texts and sometimes also discuss them with other participants. Some courses have a more practical orientation, such as internships, courses on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and archaeological excavations in the field. During these courses, you are expected to work 40 hours per week in an office, a lab or in the field.

Course assessment is normally continuous based on your active participation in seminars and assessed work. It may also consist of a longer essay submitted at the end of the course. The programme is taught in English. The programme is offered both in Uppsala and at Campus Gotland in Visby. You should choose to either take the programme in Uppsala or Gotland.

Gotland is an island located in the Baltic Sea between the mainland of Sweden and the Baltic States. Visby as a World Heritage site is the best-preserved medieval city in Scandinavia.

With a Master of Arts degree in Archaeology, you are qualified for further PhD studies in this field. Previous students have found work as archaeologists, museum curators and educators, investigators for the public sector, aid workers, tour leaders and guides, cultural writers, librarians, teachers, forensic scientists and researchers.

Graduates have found jobs working with the Swedish Heritage Board, the County Administrative Board in Uppsala, and the police force (forensic section), and jobs requiring Geographical Information Systems (GIS) within local and national government agencies, museums in Sweden and internationally.

The department holds networking events in the areas of archaeology, museums and cultural heritage management where students can meet alumni who can provide insights into the job market as they prepare to graduate.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.