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Current Issues in Quaternary Research


Admission requirements

Admission to the MSc Archaeology programme, or relevant discipline.


The idea behind this course is for it to act as a bridge from student to early career academic. You will be exposed to a conference setting. You will research a topic, write an essay, an extended abstract, produce a PowerPoint presentation, and deliver the presentation to an audience. Students who are not presenting will read the relevant literature provided by the speaking students, and ask the speakers questions.

During the course, a series of mini conference sessions related to current Quaternary research and climate change will take place. Each session will be arranged in themes agreed by the participants. A visiting senior academic, research active in each theme, will be present at each mini conference. This senior academic will also present, ask questions, and participate in the resulting discussions.

Set-up of the course

  • First 2-3 sessions: introduction lectures of 2 hours each;

  • Remaining sessions: mini-conference set-up:

  • 30 minutes guest speaker talk;

  • 10 minutes discussion;

  • 1 hr 20 min students’ presentations.

Course objectives

  • To gain up-to-date knowledge of current issues in themes agreed at the beginning of the course;

  • To understand its relevance to hominins and humans;

  • Ability to independently search literature on a given theme;

  • Ability to critically assess current research on each theme of the course, present the outcome, and voice one’s own properly argumented opinion;

  • Ability to present and write a thematic essay that contains a critical assessment of the literature, and includes the student’s own properly argumented opinion.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA and MSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Self-instruction under supervision;

  • In a conference setting: discuss, ask questions, and deliver an oral presentation on a theme.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14 hours of seminars (1 ec);

  • Ca. 280 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • Presentation (1 ec);

  • Essay of ca. 1,500 words (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Active participation (attendance and participation in the discussions) (30%);

  • Presentation (PowerPoint and delivery skills) (30%);

  • Essay (40%).

There is only a retake for the essay.

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the MA and MSc examination schedule.

Reading list

To be compiled by the students.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. M.H. (Mike) Field or dr. L. (Laura) Llorente Rodriguez.


Compulsory attendance.