The World's first MA Egyptology Online course begins!

So. What's it like to study Egyptology online, and at Master level? Well, it's pretty cool actually. I've already spent 5 years studying at Manchester online, so although I have a fair amount of experience with the process, studying at this level is quite challenging.

When people find out I'm studying Egyptology at Manchester, the next question is usually something along the lines of: "So, do you have to go over there?" (I live more or less on the opposite side of the planet to my University).
The answer is: "No. The course is delivered entirely online."

That's right, entirely online. You can study from anywhere in the world at whatever time suits you. So long as you do your homework, meet your deadlines and requirements, of course.

I'm currently studying 2 modules for this semester:
☥ Academic Skills and Research Design in Egyptian Archaeology Part 1 (30 credits)
☥ Historical Studies in Ancient Egypt (15 credits)
If you want to know more about the actual topics studied as this level they are (at the time of posting) available here: Master in Egyptology Course details
I have to come up with 8,000 academic words by January 14, 2020 in 3 tasks and post seminar work weekly in order to pass. Later I will study more subjects and write a 15,000 word dissertation. To some this might sound daunting, but I've been well prepared by previous studies to handle this kind of expectation, and I'm looking forward to it.

So how does this all work?
Once you have applied and been accepted via forms on the University website (see below) you have to accept your offer and then register for the course. The University sends you emails and instructions about how to do this. You can also apply for Disability Support should you need it at that time.

The University allocates you a unique ID (not your student number) to access their online services. From there you log in to access a range of different things, like timetables, student services, webmail and so on, but the most important component for online students is BlackBoard which is the platform used to deliver the coursework. BlackBoard comes as an app as well so at a pinch you can use it on a smartphone or tablet, but it's usually easiest to use a desktop or laptop because its easier to see and navigate (for most people).

BlackBoard has different sections where you find your subject coursework, which is basically your lessons: Lectures by supervising tutors or guest experts recorded in lecture theatres, podcasts, reading materials and activity questions.
You also have access to discussion boards for the course and tutorial groups - imagine these like traditional seminars where you post responses weekly, and comment on and discuss each other's work with tutor input.

You also have access to books online provided by the University through a Library service and also journals such as JSTOR and specific journals which publish peer reviewed papers and research. These are invaluable for study. Many of these sites are available for public use but if you want to download certain things sometimes there is a fee. The University also has a browser extension which will look at your searches and let you know if the library has a book on the topic you are looking at.

When you study, you also have to complete formal academic writing tasks, essays and dissertations, but also demonstrate that you can communicate using different styles and for different audiences. For example you might have to write a review, pamphlet or make an educational poster.

Formal academic work is submitted using a special system called Turnitin. You simply log in to your account, and upload your work as a pdf. After the hard yards of many hours of research, writing and referencing this part is usually fairly painless. Turnitin also scans student submissions to identify plagiarism, so it saves tutors some time as well!

Your tutor will then assess your work and provide feedback and a grade where appropriate (some courses are "pass/fail" so numerical marks are provided only for guidance)

How do you pay?
Reading Petrie's excavation journals for the 1888 season
Well, you pay by the academic year, so September prior to starting the course. This can be a bit tricky as many students studying will not be from the UK. I found I had budgeted for the cost of the course but not the extra 6% my bank was going to hit me for, so I had to use a transfer service which had more reasonable fees. Thankfully that aspect is getting easier. Always check out what your bank charges you to conduct international transactions, any card fees and exchange of currency. With a bit of homework you can save a lot of money - money that is better spent on buying textbooks right?

How I study:
Everything I come across that I'm legally allowed to access I save. It's best to save to a cloud service like iCloud or Dropbox because you can then work remotely on other devices and by spreading things around, you are less likely to lose them. I also do weekly backups of my entire computer and print important documents and assignments off. Saving everything also has the advantage of making it a bit easier to find that article you read about the thing you can now use as a search term on your computer!
I also take handwritten notes and colour code them. Hand written notes are excellent to consolidate your learning and help you absorb content.

So, if you've always wanted to study Egyptology - regardless of your level, the University of Manchester can offer you some great courses online to get you started.
What are you waiting for?


We offer a range of distance learning courses in Egyptology, from award-bearing courses to shorter non-credit-bearing courses and MOOCs. Led by internationally recognised scholars, all of our courses are delivered entirely online, so they are accessible to students worldwide and can be studied at a time that is convenient for you.