MA in Landscape Archaeology advert 2016

C‌lick here to view a pdf detailing general information concerning the MA in Landscape Archaeology 2017-18 and Postgraduate taught programmes in archaeology 2017-18.

Click here to visit the University's Courses Page for information on entry requirements, how to apply, course assessment and career options.

Click here to view a pdf of the MA in Landscape Archaeology handbook 2017-18.

  • Applicants must have a primary degree in Archaeology with second class honours or its equivalent.
  • Places on the programme are limited to twelve and an interview may form a part of the selection process.
MA in Landscape Archaeology 2014 MA in Landscape Archaeology 2 2016 Geophysical Survey Rathcroghan
 ‌MA in Landscape Archaeology field-class 2003 MA in Landscape Archaeology 1 2016-17 ‌ ‌ MA in Landscape Archaeology 3 2014

MA in Landscape Archaeology 2017-18 introduces graduate students to the theoretical and practical aspects of landscape archaeology. Landscape archaeology is an approach that defines ’landscape’ as a cultural expression, encouraging a holistic and non-period specific appraisal of the cultural meanings conferred on places over time and the evidence for continuities and discontinuities manifest in various domains of cultural expression including built heritage, such as archaeological monuments, and toponymic processes that draw on, for example, mythology, legend and history.

Teaching takes place in a dedicated computer suite (managed by ISS) in the Discipline of Archaeology and in field classes (using the landscape as a laboratory).

This one-year taught programme aims to produce a student conversant in the theory and practice of contemporary landscape archaeology. The analysis of archaeological sites and monuments in a landscape context involves hands-on field survey training and theory through a combination of field classes, lectures on landscape theory and case studies.

On completion of the programme the student will have acquired a theoretical foundation for understanding and interpreting landscapes ranging from those of the Neolithic period to the present day, a critical understanding of the wide range of sources used in landscape archaeology, a knowledge of the fundamentals of Geographical Information Systems and the archaeological application of this increasingly important tool, an understanding of the role of archaeology in the planning process and the conditions for a landscape approach in heritage management, an appreciation of the politics of landscape and public archaeology in today’s society. Students will also gain practical transferable skills in digital imaging and digital survey techniques, in digital surveying using a total station as well as various geophysical methods.

 Turlough Hill excavation, Co. Clare.

Taught Modules

The programme comprises six taught modules and a dissertation. The modules are:

Module A: Landscape perspectives (5 ECTS)

This module provides an introduction to landscape studies in general and a theoretical foundation for understanding landscapes. With a wide variety of examples of how landscapes may be approached, the module aims towards a critical understanding of this field of study. It is taught mainly by our staff  with contributions from a number of external lecturers. This module is examined by a 2000-word essay and three PowerPoint presentations.

Module B: Interpreting landscapes (10 ECTS)

This module examines how different archaeological landscapes may be read and interpreted. A series of field classes compliments the lectures.  Most of the staff in Archaeology, as well as external lectures, contributes to this module. It is examined by a 3000-word essay, a 1500 essay and a class presentation.

Module C: GIS and Landscape Archaeology (10 ECTS)

This module includes a series of general lectures on GIS and its archaeological applications, followed by a series of 10 introcuctory ArcGIS 10.3 tutorials/workshops. The module is examined by a 2000-word essay and a series of short practical assignments.

Module D: Managing lan‌dscapes (5 ECTS)

focuses on the role of archaeology in the planning process, in heritage management and in politics. The module includes lectures by staff, as well as by external lecturers from bodies such as the Department of the Environment, the commercial sector and the National Roads Authority. The module is assessed by a 3000-word essay consisting of a review of an Environmental Impact Statement.

Module E: Investigating landscapes (10 ECTS)  

This module offers a critical understanding of the wide range of sources used in landscape archaeology and focuses on the methods and problems in their use and interpretation. Lectures cover various topics ranging from vegetation history and geology to place-names and folklore. Case studies at the end of the lecture series serve to illustrate how methods and sources have been used in different projects. The module is taught by staff as well as by external lecturers. It includes two fieldtrips, one to various archives in Dublin and one to a west of Ireland archaeological landscape. The module is examined by a 3000-word and a 1500-word essay.

Module F: Presenting landscapes (5 ECTS)

This module consists of two parts

    • a series of lectures and workshops on digital imaging, based on Photoshop 8.0
    • a week of fieldwork followed by processing on campus.The field school, held off campus, is an important and integral part of the programme.

Workshops in surveying techniques will be running concurrently with the taught modules.  The module is examined by a project and a practical assignment.


A dissertation of c. 15,000 words must be submitted by the end of August. The taught part of the programme is awarded 50% (450 marks) of the total mark, with the dissertation (450 marks) comprising the remaining 50%. A pass mark (40 %) must be achieved in both the taught programme and the dissertation.

A recent survey by the Discipline of Archaeology of MA students who completed the programme has revealed that 64% are working in archaeology or in similar employment in the heritage sector, 21% are in other forms of work including teaching and 15% are undertaking further education.