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Master of Archaeological Practice (MArchP)

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Take a lead role in caring for heritage places

The Master of Archaeological Practice (MArchP) is an applied, professional qualification – linking theory with practice – that aims to develop our future leaders' knowledge and experience in archaeological heritage management.

Learn from leading academics who are grounded in the Pacific, and New Zealand's place in it.

Help to preserve our cultural heritage and safeguard it for future generations.

Archaeological heritage management

The management of our heritage and archaeological legacy is a growing sustainability issue. Currently, New Zealand has a need for qualified archaeologists to work in the heritage sector. This new programme responds to both an industry demand, and a desire by students and workers in the area for a high-level qualification.

The MArchP focuses on the unique landscapes, cultures and policies of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. It addresses the following areas:

  • The management of New Zealand and Pacific cultural heritage places
  • Working with Māori and Pasifika communities
  • The application of archaeological approaches and methods within a heritage context
  • Understanding the diverse relationships between people, places and the past

Local grounding

Our academics specialise in, and are passionate about, the indigenous archaeology and heritage of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

We are committed to working with communities, assisting with Māori research issues and informing heritage management as it relates to Māori places and values.

We work with Pacific Island organisations and communities to manage and protect heritage sites, and support staff in cultural heritage institutions and agencies.

This is done through academic research in the University of Otago's Archaeology Programme and our research unit and consultancy, Southern Pacific Archaeological Research (SPAR).

Our goal is to develop graduates who will make an impact in archaeological heritage practice in New Zealand and the Pacific.

Flexible study options

The MArchP offers a great degree of flexibility, allowing students to tailor their learning to their personal circumstances. There are options to study full-time or part-time, and on campus or by distance.

Teaching methods are inclusive and supportive of distance learners, who will be able to connect with their cohort through field-school and online forums. (Papers that can be studied by distance are indicated in the Structure of the Programme section below.)

Additionally, you can tailor your study to areas that interest you through your selection of papers, the internship programme and your dissertation topic.

Career focus

During the programme, students will have the opportunity to undertake an internship, and build their skills and experience in a real-world setting.

Graduates will be able to pursue careers in archaeology, heritage and environment consultancies, government, regional and local councils, iwi organisations, infrastructure and land management agencies. Additionally, increasing synergies between heritage places, museums and the tourism industry offer opportunities for further career pathways.

The programme also provides opportunities for people already working in archaeological heritage management, and it will be valuable for professional development and career progression. Many professionals working in this sector will benefit from having a master's degree and a broader work experience.

The MArchP offers students a route towards studying for a PhD. This could suit archaeology students or those from other disciplines wanting to transition into archaeology and heritage studies.

In particular, this programme presents a great pathway for Māori and Pacific students to develop a career in which they can take a lead role in the care of their own heritage places.


Archaeology Programme
Tel +64 3 479 8751


Regulations for the Degree of Master of Archaeological Practice (MArchP)

  1. Admission to the Programme

    1. Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
    2. Every applicant shall normally
      1. be a graduate with an ordinary bachelor's degree in Archaeology, Anthropology or comparable major, and have an average grade of at least B in the 300-level papers for the degree, or
      2. be a graduate with a Masters degree in a relevant discipline acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities), or
      3. have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
  2. Structure of the Programme

    The programme of study shall comprise three core papers, a Research Dissertation and two elective papers totalling 180 points.

    Core papers
    ANTH 505  Advanced Archaeological Excavation 30 points (Distance)
    ANTH 550  Archaeology and Heritage Practice 30 points (Distance)
    HUMS 401  Internship Practicum 20 points (Distance)

    ANTH 590  Research Dissertation 60 points (Distance)

    and two from
    ANTH 409  Material Cultural Studies 20 points
    ANTH 410  Special Topic 20 points
    ANTH 427  Archaeological Theory 20 points
    ANTH 430  Advanced New Zealand Archaeology 20 points (Distance)
    HIST 401  A Topic in New Zealand History 20 points
    MAOR 404  Toitū to Whenua – Land, Lore and Colonisation20 points (Distance)
    MAOR 407  Presenting Pacific Histories 20 points (Distance)
    PACI 402  Resource Conservation and Environment in the Pacific 20 points
    PLAN 411  Planning Theory 20 points
    PLAN 412  Spatial Planning and Development 20 points

    Or other approved 400-level papers totalling 40 points as approved by the Head of Programme.

  3. Duration of the Programme

    A full-time candidate shall normally complete the requirements of the degree within twelve months or three semesters, and a part-time candidate within four years of commencing the programme.

  4. Withdrawal from the Programme

    Where a candidate withdraws from the programme, whether voluntarily or otherwise, after completing some of the prescribed papers, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may recommend the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Arts or determine which papers shall be credited towards the Diploma.

  5. Research Dissertation

    1. The research dissertation (ANTH 590) shall be completed over the course of one year. It should be started by a full-time student at the beginning at of the programme if they are completing in 12 months, or at the beginning of the second semester of study if they are completing the programme over 3 semesters.  Part-time students should plan a programme of study whereby the dissertation is undertaken in the last 12 months of that programme. The limit is 20,000 words of text, exclusive of appendices, footnotes, tabular material, bibliography or equivalent.
    2. Before commencing the research dissertation, a candidate shall obtain the approval of the Programme Co-ordinator and the supervisor(s) of the proposed topic.
    3. A candidate may not present a dissertation which has previously been accepted for another degree.
  6. Examination of the Research Dissertation

    1. The Head of Programme concerned (or nominee) shall appoint a Convenor of Examiners who shall oversee the examination of each research dissertation.
    2. The research dissertation shall be examined by at least two examiners, one of whom may be external to the University
    3. Where both examiners are internal to the University, the examined dissertation shall be subject to external moderation.
    4. The candidate's supervisor shall not be an examiner.
    5. Each examiner shall supply a written report on the research dissertation and recommend a mark and grade on the basis of the work as submitted.
    6. Where the examiners cannot agree on a result, the Head of Programme should so report to the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Humanities) or nominee who shall arrive at a decision after consulting a referee who should normally be external to the University.
  7. Degree Requirements

    The three core papers and two elective papers together contribute two thirds, and the research dissertation one third, of the overall mark.

  8. Level of Award of the Degree

    The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.

  9. Variations

    The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.

This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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