University of Barcelona

Advanced Studies in Archaeology

Objectives and competences


The main aim of the Master's Degree in Advanced Studies is to train researchers and professionals in the latest scientific techniques for the recovery, analysis, interpretation and process of heritage-ization of the archeological record. The course has two functions: to develop a professional profile within the field of contract archaeology; and to be the starting point for an academic or research pathway that leads to the preparation of a doctoral thesis on Archaeology and a subsequent professional career in the research field.

The master's degree provides the knowledge and tools required to analyse and interpret the archeological record in the field of bioarcheological and paleoenvironmental research into material culture and structures, spaces and territory. Thus, students can join interdisciplinary archeology teams and, at the same time, acquire methods and techniques from other disciplines according to their professional or research interests.

The first part of the training programme is a common pathway that covers methods, techniques and theoretical frameworks that can be applied to all chrono-cultural periods and to various archeological subject areas. The second part is comprised of three specialized pathways that can be selected according to the interests of the student: Bioarchaeology and Paleoenvironmental Studies, Archaeology of Materials and Technological Processes, and the Record of Structures and Territory. The aim is to provide comprehensive training in applied research, which students can then apply to their professional field or research.


General competences:
  • Capacity to predict and monitor the evolution of complex situations by developing new, innovative methods and techniques that are adapted to the scientific, technological or professional environment in which the activity is carried out, prioritizing interdisciplinarity.
  • Capacity to select and critically analyse the scientific theory and suitable methods and techniques for forming opinions based on incomplete or limited information, and include, when relevant, reflection on the social or ethical responsibility associated with the proposal made in each case.
  • Capacity to know how to interpret the development of the discipline and its association with archeological theory through social disciplines that are related to its historical development.
  • Capacity to contextualize historical processes and, at the same time, critically assess the sources and theoretical models, and to use analogy in a critical way to compare specific hypotheses on past societies.
  • Capacity to manage information: search, systematic compilation, organization, selection, presentation and knowledge of various technical aspects relating to archeological textual production and its implications in the publishing industrial (specific languages and graphic documentation). Expert knowledge of how to use the opportunities provided by the Internet (databases, bibliographies, specialized journals, etc.).
  • Capacity to work in a team and to collaborate in groups in the same and other disciplines, and to organize and plan the process from the compilation and recording of data to the final publication of results.

Basic competences:
  • Knowledge forming the basis of original thinking in the development or application of ideas, typically in a research context.
  • Capacity to apply the acquired knowledge to problem-solving in new or relatively unknown environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to the field of studies.
  • Capacity to integrate knowledge and tackle the complexity of formulating judgments based on incomplete or limited information, taking due consideration of the social and ethical responsibilities involved in applying knowledge and making judgments.
  • Capacity to communicate knowledge and conclusions and the grounds on which they have been reached to specialist and non-specialist audiences in a clear and unambiguous manner.
  • Capacity for ongoing self-directed and independent learning.

Generic competences:
  • Capacity to promote the work and collaborate in a team.
  • Capacity to stimulate the work and interdisciplinary reflection.
  • Capacity to formulate proposals for analysing and resolving problems based on the integration of data of a diverse nature.
  • Capacity to formulate innovative, creative and enterprising proposals.
  • Capacity to promote initiatives that lead to implementation of communication and leadership.
  • Capacity to plan research that respects the principles of ethical and professional responsibility.

Specific competences
  • To understand the impact of the passage of time on changes in social processes, and its bearing on such contemporary issues as human effects on ecosystems, globalization, equality and sustainable development.
  • Capacity to understand the adaptation mechanisms of human societies and their environment, the interrelation between cultures over time, and the ability to project knowledge of these past processes to current reality.
  • Understanding of spatial relations at different territorial scales, through the relations between nature and society over time.
  • Capacity to recognize and analyse the artistic and iconographic image and its use in past cultures.
  • Capacity to communicate through various media all kinds of aspects relating to sociocultural diversity, collective representations, and identities.
  • Ability to bring together from a multidisciplinary perspective the theoretical approaches and procedures used in areas of the humanities and in the applied social and natural sciences.
  • Capacity to generate innovative, competitive research proposals, based on a multidisciplinary scientific application.
  • Capacity to carry out and lead research studies in archaeology, to interpret the results, and put them in a geographic and historic context.
  • Capacity to develop a critical awareness of the various theoretical proposals.
  • Capacity to use correctly the methodology and chosen sources of information, and to manage the information obtained to obtain solutions that are consistent with the proposed objectives.
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