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Laura White

MSc Archaeological Sciences, 2010

Laura White
  • From Texas, USA
  • First degree in Oceanography and Maritime History with minors in Chemistry and Anthropology
  • Chose Bradford over Oxford


I was really interested in a directed course in which I could obtain information on a broad array of archaeological science techniques and training.  I already had a background in the sciences and in laboratory work, but I wanted to find a way to apply my experience to archaeological contexts.

Finding the right programme

My research into the different programmes, institutions and people that I could study with highlighted a number of courses that offered this sort of multi-proxy training in America, but the majority of these places focused on single techniques or a fairly limited research topic. This led me to start aggressively researching overseas opportunities for education, which identified two programmes: one at the University of Bradford and one at Oxford University, which offer some of the best-regarded programmes in Archaeological Sciences.

Choosing Bradford

I chose to study in Bradford for a number of important reasons: I was able to make great contacts with Bradford staff and students before I arrived.  When I first started toying with the idea of attending Bradford I contacted the course tutor, Cathy Batt, who gave me lots of advice and also strongly encouraged me to attend an excavation with British students before I decided on the Master's programme.

Viking Unst Project

I took part in a season of excavation with a Bradford-led research project, the Viking Unst Project, where I assisted in the excavation of a Viking longhouse in the Shetland Islands.  I worked with current students and staff from the University of Bradford; I found everyone to be warm, genuine, and possessing high levels of proficiency in their field, and I made great friends.

Economically friendly

Bradford was also a much better economic decision than Oxford due to the difference in the costs of living expenses. I also received an international student bursary that paid my tuition and fees, which helped even more. I really love the North of Britain. I love the incredibly friendly, approachable people that I got to know.

Combination of learning methods

Academically, Bradford took some getting used to, but it was a great experience. It was a combination of semester-long courses and short-courses focusing on specific scientific techniques in archaeology. The coursework took an entire academic year, then the summer was used to write a dissertation. I learned a lot, studied a lot, and I really liked the focused approach to getting the Master's programme.

Friends forever

My favourite part of living in the UK was the friendships I made. I was lucky that we had a remarkable cohort all studying together. I still meet up with many of my Bradford friends every time I am in the UK.

I can't recommend highly enough the decision to go overseas for my Master's, and the Archaeological Sciences programme at Bradford was a really, really good investment, both monetarily and in terms of experience and education.