Master's degree programme in Prehistoric Archaeology
Traces of the past
The Master’s degree programme in prehistoric archaeology raises the big questions about the origin of culture. Traces of the prehistoric times in the form of material artefacts are studied with a view to explaining the trends in human history, especially in Southern Scandinavia. Although there is a focus on Scandinavia, the history is also studied in a broader European perspective from the beginning of the Stone Age until the end of the Viking Age.
Both humanistic and social science approaches are used in the interpretation of the material artefacts to try to achieve a holistic picture of prehistoric society.
In the course of your Master’s degree programme, you attend courses with a focus on the main prehistoric periods. The courses focus on a specific theme such as technology and knowledge, war, religion and rituals or mobility and exchange. As a student, you are free to choose between a range of topics within the general themes.
As a student, you also become familiar with different analytical methods for handling archaeological data and general anthropological theory
Furthermore, on your master, you will have the opportunity to shape your education through an internship, by going abroad or by choosing some personal profile subjects. (read more under 'structure')
The Section for Prehistoric Archaeology is based at Moesgård south of Aarhus and collaborates with the Moesgård Museum.
Read, print and be inspired
Download and print a short presentation of the Master's degree programme in Prehistoric Archaeology 2014.
The following Bachelor's degree programmes qualify the student for admission to the Master"s degree programme in Prehistoric archaeology:
- Bachelor’s degree in Prehistoric Archaeology (Aarhus University (AU), University of Copenhagen (KU))
- Bachelor"s degree in Medieval and Renaissance archaeology (AU) with 45 ECTS-point supplementary subject in prehistoric archaeology. The supplementary subject must include the following modules from the Bachelor's degree programme in prehistoric archaeology (2010): Prehistoric Culture I and II and Archaeological Research Processes
- A humanistic Bachelor's degree with 45 ECTS-point supplementary subject in prehistoric archaeology. The supplementary subject must include the following modules from the Bachelor's degree programme in prehistoric archaeology (2010): Prehistoric Culture I and II, Archaeological Research Processes and Material Culture and Society.
The Board of Studies carries out an individual assessment as to whether applicants with qualifications other than the above have the academic qualifications required for their application to be given equal status.
Right of admission
Students of the Bachelor's degree programme in prehistoric archaeology at Aarhus University have the right to be admitted to the Master"s degree programme in prehistoric archaeology on the condition that application is made with a view to continuing directly from the Bachelor's degree programme to the Master's degree programme. This right of admission requires receipt of the application by Aarhus University within the appropriate period of time.
As the Master’s degree programme in Prehistoric archaeology (due to government legislation) only admits a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme.
In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the average mark (i.e. GPA) of the Bachelor’s degree at the time of application. Marks/grades obtained after the application deadline will not be included in the GPA.
The admissions committee assesses each applicant’s marks on the basis of the information provided by diplomas and transcripts.
English at B level at upper-secondary school or the equivalent is a requirement for admission: read about English language requirements.
In the following graphical presentation of the subject you can see the different modules and courses that, in addition, link to the course catalogue where you can read the course descriptions.
On the third semester of your master you have to choose a profile corresponding to 30 ECTS points. You can do this in three ways:
Profile subject(30 ECTS)
Study abroad (30 ECTS) – is also possible on your first and second semester
Internship (30 ECTS)
Profile subjects are interdisciplinary, occupational courses located on the third semester of all humanities graduate programs. You can choose between five profiles:
You have the opportunity to take a semester abroad. Remember, that It takes about a year to plan a semester abroad.
Prehistoric Archaeology has agreements with Universities in Berlin, Leiden and Leicester.
In addition, the University of Aarhus has agreements with many universities around the Nordic region and Europe.
Click here and learn more about going abroad.
You can also find more information on the website of the International Centre.
Project-oriented course (Internship)
By choosing a project-oriented course (internship) you put your theoretical knowledge in a practical perspective, you build a network and get work experience. It is up to you to make contact with the company / organization / institution you want to work with. Alongside your internship you will get guidance from the University, and at the end of your internship there will be an exam.
See current internship postings on AU Job and Project Bank.
As a student it is important to know the regulations for your chosen subject: what is the content, how is it structured and what does it require from you. You can find this information in the academic regulations.
The Department of Prehistoric Archaeology is based at Moesgaard – an old manor house located just south of Aarhus. Here you have access to a library, copying, computers, a common room, lunch room, the Moesgaard Museum (the museum is temporarily closed but will open again in 2014) and beautiful countryside.
You also have plenty of opportunity to take an active part in student life.
The following services are available at the Department of Prehistoric Archaeology:
- Hikuin is the main association for students at the Department of Prehistoric Archaeology. Its purpose is to ensure your well-being. Hikuin organises academic discussions about your studies and contact with the business community, not to mention the Thursday bars and different social initiatives. Kulturlaget is a subsection of Hikuin, and issues the LAG magazine.
- The degree programme is also associated with DALF (the National Association of Danish Archaeology Students), which safeguards the interests of archaeology students. This association establishes relations between students of archaeology at different Danish universities.
- In addition, there are many other events for students at the Faculty of Humanities and the University of Aarhus in general – e.g. lectures, intro days, career days, seminars, celebrations and sports days.
Student-to-student is your opportunity to ask about being a student at the Faculty of Arts and about Aarhus and Denmark in general to another international student who has already taken the leap and now lives in Denmark and studies for his/her Master's degree at the Faculty of Arts.
You can read more about the student-to-student service and find the list of AU international student ambassadors at Arts here.
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Job functions for grads
This data is derived from AU's 2013/2014 employment survey. This data should not be considered a completely accurate representation of the labour market and job functions for all graduates of the individual degree programmes. It exclusively represent the responses submitted to the survey in the years in question.
The five most common career paths for graduates of prehistoric archaeology are:
- Excavations: Many archaeologists begin their career with project work at excavations in Denmark and abroad.
- Museums: The conventional labour market for archaeologists is the museums, where you can find work as a museum inspector, researcher or communication officer. The vast majority of prehistoric archaeologists find jobs in museums or at excavations.
- Cultural institutions: Some prehistoric archaeologists work with communication and teaching at other types of cultural institutions, including archives, exhibitions and libraries.
- IT and communication: With a degree in prehistoric archaeology, you also have other options. You are proficient in systematising and communicating knowledge, and some graduates use these skills in IT jobs, as web designers and system developers, or in communication jobs, as editors and copywriters.
- Analysis and project management: Less traditional careers for graduates of prehistoric archaeology are jobs in administrative positions as project managers or analysts in public or private sector companies.
You can also have a career as a researcher in prehistoric archaeology. You have the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme at the faculty’s Graduate School. You can apply when you have completed your Bachelor’s degree and one year of your Master’s degree studies or when you have completed your Master’s degree. Find more information about PhD degree programmes at the Faculty of Arts.
With a Master’s degree in prehistoric archaeology, you have competences in the following areas:
- Historical and cultural comprehension: You have a general understanding of the living conditions and culture of our ancestors. As a result, you are capable of studying other cultures and periods, and communicating your knowledge to others.
- Practical archaeological work: You are familiar with basic excavation and documentation techniques and a wide range of analytical methodologies – ranging from carbon-14 dating to cultural analysis.
- Analysis and structure: An important part of an archaeologist’s work consists of documenting complex material using verbal and written communication, photos, measurements and IT processing. Archaeologists are therefore good at systematising and structuring material – in other contexts as well.
- Communication and a sense of aesthetics: An archaeologist analyses material and visual forms of expression. As a result, you acquire knowledge about aesthetics, space, architecture and communication.
- Project management and collaboration: An excavation is a concentrated project in which the ability to collaborate at both a scientific and interpersonal level is essential. You therefore have experience in managing and participating in scientific projects.
Please contact the Student Counselling Office for advice about employment opportunities and the subject profile options of your degree programme.
You can also read more about a range of career guidance services including special events and workshops at AU Career.