University of Chester

Programme Specification
Archaeology of Death and Memory MA
2017 - 2018

Master of Arts

Archaeology of Death and Memory

Archaeology of Death and Memory

University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester campus

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

Full-time - 1 year; Part-time - 2 years

6 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities History and Archaeology



MA Archaeology of Death and Memory

Thursday 23rd February 2012

  • To offer suitably-qualified students the opportunity to explore and critically examine, within the framework of a taught postgraduate programme, the advanced study of archaeology and death and memory.
  • To be informed by, and contribute to, the broader continuing academic debates on the study of past human societies and the importance of the past in the present through the investigation of material culture, archaeological contexts and landscapes.
  • To provide graduate students with the opportunity to develop an independent extended piece of scholarly research into some aspect of the archaeology of death and memory.
  • To make available to students the particular benefits which come from the wide range of resources developed by the University of Chester within its region for research in the archaeology of death and memory.
  • To prepare students for postgraduate research in archaeology at Master/Doctor of Philosophy level and beyond as self-directed scholars and researchers.

By the end of the programme, through all modules, students will have:

Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the nature and value of archaeology and an appreciation of the scholarly study of archaeology’s interaction with society.

Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of selected themes and issues, examined in their national, regional or local contexts.

Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the range, nature and value of primary and secondary sources, theories and methodologies for the study of archaeological subjects.

By the end of the programme, through all modules, students will have:

Demonstrated the ability to read and use material evidence and (where appropriate) other sources both critically and empathetically while addressing content, context and perspective.

Demonstrated the capacity to plan, conduct and present a programme of original research.
Applied scholarly conventions.

By the end of the programme, through all modules, students will have:

Demonstrated the skills of the researcher including bibliographical skills, selection and synthesis of primary and secondary sources and the ability to provide original analysis in relation to questions appropriate to the discipline.

Demonstrated self-discipline and self-direction in their work with others in a reasoned way.

Demonstrated the above key skills within a professional environment or as required for continuing professional development.

Demonstrated the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment or further professional development requiring the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.



By the end of the programme, through all modules, students will have:

Communicated effectively, both orally and in writing.

Used information technology as and when appropriate.

Demonstrated analytical ability and the capacity to consider and solve problems.

Demonstrated intellectual integrity and maturity, empathy and insight.

PG Certificate Archaeology of Death and Memory (60 credits):  All PG Cert. students take one 20-credit core module: HI7332 (Research Skills in Archaeology and Heritage), plus two 20-credit optional modules chosen from HI7334 (Mortuary Archaeology), HI7409 (Landscapes and Memory) and HI7336 (Archaeology and the Body).  

PG Diploma Archaeology of Death and Memory (120 credits):  All PG Dip. students take the five, core 20-credit modules: HI7332 (Research Skills in Archaeology and Heritage), HI7334 (Mortuary Archaeology), HI7409 (Landscapes and Memory), HI7336 (Archaeology and the Body) and HI7337 (Research Essay), plus a sixth, 20-credit module from list of options below.

MA Archaeology of Death and Memory (180 credits):  Students take the four core 20-credit modules: HI7332 (Research Skills in Archaeology and Heritage), HI7334 (Mortuary Archaeology), HI7409 (Landscapes and Memory), HI7336 (Archaeology and the Body), and the core 80-credit module, HI7329 (Research Dissertation) plus one optional 20-credit module from list of options below.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
HI7329 7 Research Dissertation 80 Comp
HI7332 7 Research Skills in Archaeology and Heritage 20 Comp
HI7333 7 Archaeological Heritage in Practice 20 Optional
HI7334 7 Mortuary Archaeology 20 Comp
HI7336 7 Archaeology and the Body 20 Comp
HI7337 7 Research Essay 20 Optional
HI7406 7 Thinking Through Landscapes and Environments 20 N/A
HI7407 7 Investigating Past Landscapes and Environments 20 Optional
HI7408 7 Research Project 40 N/A
HI7409 7 Landscapes and Memory 20 Comp

60 credits at level 7 = Postgraduate Certificate
120 credits at level 7 = Postgraduate Diploma
180 credits at level7 = Master's Degree

Possession of a good, second class Honours degree in a relevant discipline or an equivalent qualification is required.  Equivalence will be reviewed by an interview panel and prior experience in the archaeology, museum and heritage sectors will be taken into account alongside academic qualifications. The interview panel also reserves the right to ask potential candidates to submit a piece of written work for consideration, if appropriate.  Decisions concerning the allocation of credit, either for admission or advanced standing, will be the responsibility of a Credit Allocation Panel.  Credit value will be given for appropriate certificated or experiential learning completed within the previous five years and through which an applicant can demonstrate prior achievement of learning outcomes related to one or more of the programme's modules.  A student seeking advanced standing must apply before enrolment.

There is currently no relevant Master’s Level Benchmark Statement for Archaeology. However, many of the principles expressed in the undergraduate Benchmark Statement for Archaeology are appropriate and are embraced within the outcomes detailed below. The MA programmes will accord with the descriptor for a qualification at master’s level included in the QAA’s ‘Framework for Higher Education Qualifications’ (second edition, August 2008), and with the more detailed description of defining characteristics in the QAA’s ‘Master’s Degree Characteristics’ (March 2010). We have also considered the QAA’s overview of opinions on the possibility of developing benchmarks for academic programmes as master’s level, ‘Securing and maintaining academic standards: benchmarking M-level programmes’ (February 2006) and the QAA’s ‘Report on round table discussion meeting: “UK Master’s 2010 and Beyond” (December 2007).

Acquisition of core knowledge, themes and debates is achieved through lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and private study, supplemented where appropriate by field visits. The balance of these delivery methods will be tailored appropriately for each module. The focus will be on small-group teaching via seminars, supported by individual tutorials in order to engage students with current debates, methods and discoveries. Workshops and field visits will engage students with primary archaeological data as appropriate.

The Dissertation (and Research Essay) will be taught by one-to-one tutorial supervision following on from an initial group tutorial. Meanwhile, all delivery methods and private study will be enhanced via the use of VLE resources that will be fully utilised in accordance with proven customary practice for University of Chester undergraduate programmes in archaeology.

The core, 20-credit module, HI7332, is assessed by two, 1000-word written assignments and a 2000-word Skills Passport.  The Skills Passport enables students to select and tailor their research skills training from a selection available in any given year. Other modules area assessed by 2,000 or 4,000 word assignments as appropriate.  These written assignments prepare students for the HI7329 Research Dissertation, which is assessed by means of a 16,000 word dissertation.

Reassessment will be as assessment.


On completion of this programme, a successful graduate will have acquired a range of communication and transferable skills (as embraced by both the educational aims of the programme and the programme outcomes - see above) valuable to their current or potential employers.  The critical skills students will have acquired and developed with enable them to interpret, analyse and evaluate a wider range of material evidence, architectures and landscapes relevant to a range of professional careers. The programmes’ graduates will also be highly motivated and proficient in the completion of complex projects to deadlines and through guided independent study. Graduates will have high-level research skills and the ability to apply their knowledge and research findings in a range of contexts. Those graduating from the programmes will also be able to construct and interrogate original ideas and reflect on their own abilities and skills.  

In the light of these characteristics, graduates from both Master’s pathways will be prepared for further research at Master/Doctor of Philosophy level in terms of both key skills and subject knowledge. The successful graduate would also have demonstrated the skills and characteristics as described in the FHEQ descriptor for an M-Level degree. Furthermore, the programme will prepare students for employment in the commercial, government and museum sectors.

The Department of History & Archaeology respects the standard University policies regarding admissions, widening access and participation, equal opportunities and APL, as applied centrally by the University.  Consistent with the University's commitment to widening access and participation, the programme conforms to the University's flexible approach and welcomes applications from mature students and from groups normally under-represented in higher education.  The University of Chester values the diversity of its student body and aims to promote quality of opportunity in all its activities.  All suitably qualified students are welcome on this programme, irrespective of race, gender, disability or age.  Every effort will be made to accommodate students with specific learning or physical needs and to ensure that all students benefit equally.  Each case will be examined individually and the University's Inclusion Plans will provide guidance and support, as appropriate.  International students who meet the admissions requirements are welcome and will enrich both the programme and the postgraduate community at the University; support and guidance are provided for international students at the institution, particularly through the International Student Welfare Officer.

All students are issued with a comprehensive Programme Handbook and a Module Handbook at the commencement of each module.  Students needing further advice are welcome to consult the Programme Leader (who acts as the Personal Academic Tutor for students on the programme), or the Module Tutor. 

Learning Resources

In addition to the extensive library resources available at the University of Chester, students are able to access - via the SCONUL and NOWAL schemes - a wide range of other academic libraries in the North West, including those at the universities found in Liverpool and Manchester.  VLE resources will be fully utilised in accordance with proven customary practice for University of Chester undergraduate programmes in archaeology.

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