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About the programme
Language: Danish / English (See language requirements)  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: August / September (no winter intake)


Please note: It is not possible to apply for admission to this Master's degree programme to 1 September 2019. The programme is merged with other master's degree programmes in Archaeology into a common Master's degree programme in Archaeology

Traces of the past

The Master’s degree programme in prehistoric archaeology addresses the small and big questions about the origin of culture, the fates of past societies, and the role of things in everyday life. Traces of prehistoric times in the form of material artefacts are studied with a view to explaining major trends in human history, especially in Southern Scandinavia. Although there is a focus on Scandinavia, a broader European perspective is also taken into account from the beginning of the Stone Age until the end of the Viking Age.

Interdisciplinary investigations 

Both humanistic, natural and social science approaches are used in the interpretation of the material traces of prehistory with the aim of achieving a holistic picture of prehistoric societies. 

In the course of your Master’s degree programme, you’ll attend courses with a focus on the various prehistoric periods. These courses focus on a specific theme such as technology and knowledge, war, religion and rituals, or mobility and exchange. You’ll be free to choose between a range of topics within these general themes.

Furthermore, you’ll become familiar with different analytical methods for handling archaeological data and general anthropological theory. You will also have the unique opportunity to shape your education through an internship, by going abroad or by choosing some profile courses (read more under 'Structure').

The Department of Archaeology is based at Moesgård (south of Aarhus) and collaborates with the newly-built Moesgård Museum. 

Admission requirements

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.

Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.

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.

Selection criteria

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.

Language requirements

English at B level at upper-secondary school or the equivalent is a requirement for admission: read about English language requirements. 

Programme structure

Academic regulations

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.

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 courses (30 ECTS)

Study abroad (30 ECTS) – is also possible on your first and second semester

Internship (30 ECTS)

Profile courses

Profile courses are interdisciplinary, occupational courses located on the third semester of all humanities graduate programs. You can choose between five profiles:

The Teaching Profile

The Communication Profile

The Analysis and consultancy Profile

The Culture and Globalization Profile

The Organisation and Entrepreneurship Profile

Study abroad

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.

Student life

The Department of Archaeology is based at Moesgård – an old manor house located just south of Aarhus. Here, you have access to a library, computers, a common room, lounges, a cafeteria, as well as of course Moesgård Museum, and its beautiful surroundings.

  • Hikuin is the main association for students at the department. 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 legendary Friday bars and different social initiatives. Kulturlaget is a subsection of Hikuin, and issues the journal LAG.
  • The degree programme is also associated with DALF union (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 Arts and Aarhus University in general – e.g. lectures, intro days, career days, seminars, celebrations and sports days.

Campus Moesgård

Campus Moesgård is a unique place. It includes the Moesgård Library, which is a joint library for the anthropology and archaeology programmes as well as  Moesgård Museum. The library primarily serves students and staff members at Moesgård. You will find study space in the library, including study spaces reserved for students writing their theses. The 'Studenterkælderen' (Student Basement) is a meeting place for anthropologists and archaeologists, where you will also find the Thursday and Friday Bars. You will also have the opportunity to see many changing exhibits at the Moesgård Museum during your time here. As a student at Moesgård, you can access the museum for free by showing your valid student card.

MoCa Mates

MoCa Mates connects new international students and senior Master’s students, with the purpose of sharing experiences of studying at Moesgård and living in Aarhus as a foreign student. The Mates meet up on a weekly basis (at least during the first few weeks), and function as an informal and social forum for student-to-student discussions. Furthermore, the MoCa Mates programme closely collaborates with the student counsellors, to whom the Mates can address certain issues if necessary.


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

Aarhus as a city

As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus is a young and dynamic place with plenty of opportunities. The 40,000 students at the university make up 17.5% of the city’s population, which leaves its mark on city life. An attractive feature of Aarhus is that there are beaches and woods a short bike-ride away, as well as cultural events taking place throughout the year, including the Aarhus Festival in September. The theatres in the city and the ARoS international art museum offer many events that enable you to experience the Danish culture.

Why choose Aarhus? See studyguide.au.dk and get all practical information about being an international student.  

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

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With thousands of pictures #yourniversity and #moesgaardcampus gives insight into the everyday life as a student at AU; the parties, procrastination, exams and all the other ways you’ll spend your time at university.


The photos belong to the users, shared with #Yourniversity, #AarhusUni and course-specific AU-hashtags.


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.


Competency profile

With a Master’s degree in prehistoric archaeology, you have competencies in the following areas:

  • Historical and cultural comprehension: You have a general understanding of the living conditions and culture of previous generations. 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 material culture 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 many contexts.
  • 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.

Job opportunities

The five most common career paths for graduates of the prehistoric archaeology programme are:

  1. Excavations: Many archaeologists begin their career with project work at excavations in Denmark and abroad.
  2. Museums: The traditional labour market for archaeologists is the museum sector, where you can find work as a curator, researcher or communications officer. The majority of prehistoric archaeologists find jobs in the museum sector.
  3. Cultural institutions: Some prehistoric archaeologists work with communication and teaching at other types of cultural institutions, including archives, exhibition centres and libraries.
  4. IT and communication: With a degree in prehistoric archaeology, 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.
  5. Analysis and project management: Less traditional careers for prehistoric archaeology graduates include 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. Find out more information about PhD degree programmes at the Faculty of Arts.

Career Guidance

Please contact the Student Counselling Office for advice about employment opportunities and the subject profile options of your degree programme.

You can read more about the career services that are available from Arts Karriere who provide information about employment opportunities as well as arranging various events and workshops.