The University of Reading is in the top 100 in the world for Archaeology (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022).
The University of Reading is ranked 1st in the UK for research quality and research outputs in Archaeology (Times Higher Education Institutions Ranked by Subject, based on its analysis of the latest REF 2021).
You'll work directly with our academics on live research projects, placing you at the heart of new developments in archaeology. The department's research expertise feeds directly into the student experience, allowing you to engage with concepts of global interest.
Take advantage of our outstanding teaching collections and facilities housed in modern premises. You will benefit from our dedicated Archaeology Building, as well as five laboratories containing our extensive collection of artefacts, ecofacts, human remains and animal bones. You'll have easy access to the University's central Chemical Analysis Facility, as well as our three superb on-campus museums.
Three labs make up the Bioarchaeology Suite at Reading: we boast a dedicated and well-equipped laboratory for human osteology, digital radiographic equipment and a bone chemistry (isotope analysis) preparation laboratory, with world-class analytical facilities in the School and in our Chemical Analysis facility (CAF).
The Department curates over 600 human skeletons from four sites in the UK – Hulton Abbey, Bishopstone, St Oswald's Priory and Redhill – spanning the Roman to the post-medieval period. These provide an excellent resource for teaching human anatomy, analytical methods, child osteology and human palaeopathology.
The Department of Archaeology fosters a friendly, supportive community and our staff have a reputation for being accessible and approachable.
We have an outstanding track record for student satisfaction, with scores consistently between 90-100% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, 2010-2022 with Archaeology achieving the highest score for overall student satisfaction in the UK in 2022
"The staff are all leaders in their respective fields, but that does not make them unapproachable; the professors are constantly criss-crossing the atrium to consult with colleagues and commune with students. Despite this informality, staff hold their students to a high academic standard that has put the department among the ranks of the best programmes in the UK."
Mike Murray, Archaeology graduate
Read about life in the Department
You'll benefit from the rich archaeological heritage of Reading and its area, including the important medieval abbey at Reading, the prehistoric monuments of the Thames Valley, and historic locations such as Oxford, Silchester, Winchester and Salisbury.
We also have close links with the Natural History Museum, Oxford Archaeology, Historic England, British Museum and Museum of London that provide access to collections for master's level dissertation research.
Our master's programmes offer flexible study options, providing the opportunity to develop professional skills while maintaining your career.
"By doing the MSc part-time I have been able to keep my job in the sector I want to be in while increasing my knowledge in this specialism."
Elizabeth Garnett, MSc Professional Human Osteoarchaeology
The demand for trained and skilled archaeologists is set to grow exponentially over the next decade, due to a high number of large scale infrastructure and investment projects planned on a national scale both in the UK and abroad.
Over the next 13 years, over £400bn is being spent on infrastructure projects, including the second stage of the High Speed Railway (HS2), new nuclear power stations, and superfast broadband rollout. It is estimated that archaeologists will be facing the excavation of at least 90,000 human remains that will need to be recorded by specialists in human osteology.
Graduates of the MSc Professional Human Osteoarchaeology course will be superbly placed to help answer the urgent need for specialists in industry, having been trained to know exactly what to expect both as an on-site osteologist and in the lab.
Many of our postgraduates go on to full-time, graduate-level employment within archaeology and related consultancies or contractors, as well as within museums, the heritage sector and government agencies. Others continue their academic careers through doctoral research.
Overall, 96% of graduates from Archaeology are in work or further study within 15 months of graduation (Based on our analysis of HESA data © HESA 2022, Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20; includes all Archaeology responders).