Hydrology or Arcaheology?


Hey guys I have a very long and confused history. Basically I ended up on a BA Combined Honours Geography with Music course three years ago because I couldn't choose between subjects :$

In second year (currently finalist) I chose to major in geography is it is the subject I have the greatest interest in. Basically I've been getting 2:1s in the geog and 1:1/2:1s in music (it's ethnomusicology - very much like anthropology. More study of culture than music)

Anyway I was very indecisive about what I do a masters in. As I've said I have a real love of geography, but get lower grades because it's less subjective. I want to do a masters to learn more and hopefully one day contribute to the field.

The problem is because of my course I didn't do a dissertation and on top of this, I haven't specialised in one sub-genre. To be fair my interests do lie in geomorphology (landscapes etc), rivers and ecosystems.

When it comes to next year I'm considering two taught MSc's (as I didn't do a diss):
I have been told I may be accepted for a hydrology MSc provided I work over summer to improve my maths (I don't have an a-level). However, I'm scared that as the course is in engineering it will be VERY maths based - not my strong point. However, the sustainable management of rivers (theory side) is of great interest to me and I'm willing to improve my maths to learn it. I would have difficulty narrowing down/presenting 1 specific research topic, however.

Similarly, this year I'm taking a module in geoarchaeology and this has prompted me to consider a MA in Arch, again because of personal interest and career prospects. Again it's not quite geography but geomorphology and landscapes play an important role in the subject, having discussed with the admissions tutor, I would be considered for the course. Here I feel I could propose a more definite topic.

My parents are telling me I should do music (which I stupidlylet them bully me into applying for), also my tutor thinks my work is publishable etc and I didn't know how to say "sorry but my heart's in geography'...

I don't expect any clearcut "you should do this" kind of answers, just any advice anyone can give. I'm torn as it is between hydrology and archaeology. I really would love a job in either!

Thanks for reading


Have you considered fluvial geomorphology by chance? In particular the use of archaeological evidence to reconstruct the chronology of Holocene landscapes. The 2 disciplines you mention do not have to be mutually exclusive and there is a lot of research going on this area right now.


Hi Sylvester, thanks for replying :)

I have; however for personal and financial reasons I have to stay in Newcastle this year. The only related courses are offered are the two I am considering. Having done either one, I'd then probably like to go on and do a PhD in fluvial geomorphology. To this end (especially as I haven't done a dissertation) I believe it would be beneficial for me to take a masters and gain relative study skills (i.e. lengthy report writing and research methods) whilst also learning more detail on the subject via the taught component of the course.

So I suppose I could theoretically do either - I'm just unsure which would be best. Definitely would like to go into that field though.


On a purely job basis, then the prospects for archaeology aren't great, though dependent on area to a certain extent. On the PhD front, a masters will be good because it should have a dissertation element, which since you missed on your undergrad degree will give you an idea of whats its like to do a PhD. Newcastle has a great tropical coastal unit, though it might be more ecology based, rather than geomorphology. I think most of the coastal stuff at Newcastle is geared towards engineering, but I might be wrong.

Hydrology has traditionally been pretty maths-led, and I suppose you need a grounding in that for the management side. Get a copy of Ward and Robinson - principles of hydrology. They explain the technical stuff pretty well.