Nick Swift

MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology

‘Archaeology is a relatively new environment for me because I was in the RAF for 12 years and then went into logistics management. Although I am currently doing the MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology, I have done the Undergraduate Certificate in Archaeology, the Undergraduate Diploma in British Archaeology and the Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in Archaeology all through Continuing Education at Oxford University; the successful completion of the latter enabled me to join the MSc.

‘A love of archaeology and a chance find of the leaflet for the Undergraduate Certificate in Archaeology convinced me that a part-time University course was definitely for me! As I completed one undergraduate course after another, I realised that I still wanted to learn more from this subject, as well as being extremely satisfied with the teaching environment Continuing Education had to offer and so my aim was to go further and get onto the MSc. In addition, as I finished the Undergraduate Diploma in British Archaeology and its training excavation, I was offered the chance to join the commercial archaeology company Oxford Archaeology as a Graduate Trainee – which I did and have been there ever since! This makes being on the MSc more relevant as I now have the vocational aspect to consider as well as the immense satisfaction of gaining a post-graduate qualification.

‘This year the most challenging, but still fascinating, elements of course would have to be learning in greater depth the intricacies of planning policies, the subjective views of what a ‘landscape’ actually consists of and getting to grips with the computer program known as ArcGIS (Geographic Information System). 

"It is extremely satisfying to know that through my own hard work …I have been accepted onto [the MSc], been matriculated and am now officially a member of one of Oxford University’s famous colleges…not bad for someone who failed their A-Levels twenty years ago!"

‘While I am thoroughly enjoying the MSc, with its sheer depth of knowledge about this countries landscape evolution and the fact that it is now of significant use to me at work, I think that possibly the most rewarding element is the knowledge that I have been able to get on to the course in the first place. It is extremely satisfying to know that through my own hard work and five years of undergraduate study I have been accepted onto it, been matriculated and am now officially a member of one of Oxford University’s famous colleges (Kellogg) – not bad for someone who failed their A-Levels twenty years ago!

‘I will hopefully be able to use the Master’s Degree to further my vocational aspirations within archaeology, perhaps within a more University or research-based role - although it is enormously tempting to think about going to the next step up when it’s completed and starting a Doctorate! 

"tutors and lecturers who are very approachable and understanding of the conflicts of interest that occasionally happen between part-time education and a full-time job"

‘I would highly recommend the MSc to anyone who is interested -  whilst obviously requiring a greater degree of knowledge and dedication than at undergraduate level, it is nevertheless most certainly worth considering regardless of whether you are currently on an undergraduate course within the Department or simply wish to take the ‘next step’ for either academic or vocational reasons. It has a fantastic range of theoretical and practical knowledge being taught; tutors and lecturers who are very approachable and understanding of the conflicts of interest that occasionally happen between part-time education and a full-time job; it is conveniently only run on a few Saturdays each term which helps considerably, and ultimately, this course would benefit anyone wishing to immerse themselves further into the world of archaeology.’