The study of ancient and recent human past through material remains, archaeology gives an insight into human history and culture. It is a subject that significantly contributes to our modern day understanding of events, lives and societies of the past. Archaeology also adds to our knowledge of how communities, cultures and regions of today will be understood in the future.
Highlighted courses and degrees in archaeology
An undergraduate degree will focus on topics such as prehistory, ancient history, archaeological science, field archaeology and archaeological excavation. Your course will cover all aspects of archaeology, ensuring you have a well rounded understanding of archaeology.
Your course will be delivered in a mixture of modes. Some teaching will be done through lectures and seminars. You may be given the opportunity to take part in some practical lessons during your degree. There may also be a chance to travel to an archaeological dig site at some point, giving you an insight into the real world of an archaeologist, as well as a chance to develop your skills and knowledge in a real environment.
Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. These specialisations usually focus on particular eras, regions or dwellings. Common specialisations include:
If your degree requires you to write a dissertation or complete extensive field work, you will be given the opportunity to further research and understand a favoured area of archaeology.
The award given for an archaeology degree will depend on where you choose to study. Different countries have different accreditation systems. In the UK, it is most common to be awarded a bachelor of the arts in archaeology.
Generally, an undergraduate degree in archaeology will last three to four years. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years when studied full-time.
Once you have successfully completed your undergraduate degree, you can either seek employment in your chosen field, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could be in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.
The entry requirements of an archaeology degree will depend on where you choose to study. Requirements can vary greatly from institution to institution. Some universities may require you to sit an entrance exam, and other may rely on previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others may consider previous relevant work experience.
You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their archaeology programmes.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Tuition fees for international students are decided by each institution, and can therefore vary. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your course will cost you.
You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.
Archaeological graduates will be able to choose from a wide range of career options. There are positions available in archaeological contractors, national heritage agencies, universities, museums, building developers and the heritage sector. You could become an archaeologist, a conservation officer, museum officer, archaeological researcher, or culture specialist.
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