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Frequently Asked Questions

Starting the Pathway

Do I need any prior qualifications?

No you do not. Exploring the Past is open to everyone and is designed to give you the skills you need to study successfully at degree level. The only thing to bear in mind is that you need to be fairly competent in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English. If you are not a native English speaker then you need to have scored 6.5 or above on the International English Language Testing System. If you are unsure what this means then just get in touch with the Pathway Co-ordinator for a chat. Other than that, all you need is an enthusiasm for studying the past.

When do Exploring the Past modules run?

The pathway is expressly intended for students who have busy lives and existing commitments such as work, family, or acting as carers. For that reason all modules are taught in the evenings and at weekends to fit around your existing schedule. Have a look at the information on each module for more information on dates and times. Although you will be expected to attend classes regularly – turning up and talking about subjects is half the fun of learning and studying at a higher level – we understand that this is not always possible, and we therefore operate a flexible and supportive approach to learning and teaching.

What if I haven’t done any study for a long while?

Don’t worry. Exploring the Past does not expect you to come with any prior subject knowledge and it is specifically set up for people who have been out of education for a long time. Experienced tutors will help you to develop your skills and expand your knowledge in a supportive, friendly and fun environment.

How do I enrol on Exploring the Past?

You don’t need to enrol on the whole pathway – just sign up for the first module. To do that, you just fill in a short enrolment form which asks you for your details and submit it to the Centre for Lifelong Learning. You can go into the Centre and get a form there, or you can phone up and ask for one to be sent out to you, or you can download and print one out from our website. You also have the same options if you are intending to apply for either a Fee Waiver or Bursary. Click here for more information on how to enrol.

What will it cost me to study Exploring the Past?

The pathway is made up of six 10-credit modules, each of which costs £207. However, you only have to pay for one module at a time and we also have schemes in place to help you meet these costs if you don’t have much money. If you are in receipt of DWP benefits you can apply for our Fee Waiver scheme which means that you will get each module absolutely free. If you are not eligible for that then you can apply for bursaries which will cover roughly 60% of the cost of each module. Click here for more information on fee waivers and click here for more information on bursaries. Alternatively, if you are in receipt of the state pension you would pay a concessionary rate of £167. In addition, because you can take up to three academic years to complete Exploring the Past this you can study as many or as few modules as you can afford each year. So the bottom line here is not to be put off by cost – we can help you to study affordably.

Can I do Exploring the Past modules even if I don’t want to go onto a degree?

Absolutely! Just sign up for whichever modules you are interested in and enjoy them.

Completing the Pathway

What do I need to do to pass each module?

Each pathway module will contain some kind of assessment – indeed the assessment is just as important as the classes themselves. These will usually take the form of essays, reports, source criticism and data analysis. However on all modules the assessment is broken down into bite-sized chunks and you will receive a lot of support from your tutor to help you do a good job. All assessments are designed to enhance your learning experience; they will hone your skills to enable you to study at a Higher Education level. The assessment process is two-way and will involve one-to-one feedback and guidance from your module tutors. As assessment is integral to all of our modules, we expect that all students enrolling on Exploring the Past modules will participate in assessment. You need to get 40% to pass each piece of work, although you will ideally be getting marks in the 50s and 60s when you go forward for your degree interview.

How much work will each module require?

For each module you will need to undertake a certain amount of personal study over and above the time you spend attending classes. It is difficult to give a precise measure of the amount of time you will need to set aside, as this may vary depending on the individual. However, as a rough rule of thumb you need do between six and eight hours of work each week in addition to your two-hour class. This can include all sorts of things, such as reading and taking notes, doing bits of homework, getting books from the library, and of module working on assignments. In addition, it is up to you how you organise your study so if you have less time one week and more the next week you can just adjust your studying to fit that.

Will all Exploring the Past modules be available every year?

No. Some pathway modules are part of a cycle which is repeated over a number of years. We shall do our best to put on as wide a range of modules as we can, but not all will be available in any one year and all are subject to the usual laws of demand – there are minimum numbers for modules below which they are liable to be cancelled for reasons of cost.

Going onto a Degree

What do I need to do to complete Exploring the Past and go onto a degree?

The pathway is designed with flexibility in mind. You can take any number of modules that you wish to during one academic year (up to a maximum of 60 credits). All we ask is that you complete six modules from a choice of twelve, including at least one of the Group 1 core modules, within no more than three academic years from the date of your first module. However, we do recommend that you take at least one and preferably two modules each year to keep you in the habit of studying.  In addition, it may be possible for you to use one module that you have already done from the Centre for Lifelong Learning’s Choices programme. The Pathway Co-ordinator will be able to advise you on this. You need to pass all of the six modules that you take to be eligible to go onto a degree in History, Archaeology or Religion. Once you have a few modules under your belt, you will also need to attend a short informal interview with the Admissions Tutor for the degree you want to study. Don’t worry though – the Pathway Co-ordinator will make sure that you are fully prepared for this.

What sorts of things will I study when I go onto degree?

Exploring the Past leads onto degrees in History, Archaeology or Religion, or indeed a combination of those subjects. That means that you could go onto to study a wide range of topics ranging from medieval slavery to Egyptian archaeology to Ancient Greek society to the religions of the East. Here’s a list of Degrees you could study.

For more information on the modules you might take as part of your degree:

You may need to use the links at the side of each web page to look at the various modules available in different years of study.

Will Exploring the Past count towards my degree?

Yes it will. Assuming you pass all the modules and are successful at interview, the 60 credits from Exploring the Past will count towards the First Year of your degree. Each First Year consists of 120 credits. That means that by having 60 credits from your pathway already completed, you will go onto your degree with half of the First Year already under your belt.

What financial support is available when I go onto a degree?

There are various sources of financial support available from the government to help you fund your studies once you are actually on a degree. The type and extent of this support depends on whether you intend to study full-time or part-time, and on your own personal financial situation. Don’t worry though – once you are enrolled on an Exploring the Past module you will have access to expert advice in the shape of our Student Advisors. They will be able to sit down with you and talk you through all the funding that you might be eligible for when you do progress onto a degree.

What if I already have a degree or other Higher Education qualification?

At the moment this will not affect the cost of taking Exploring the Past modules. It does mean that you cannot apply for fee waivers but you can still apply for bursaries, However, it may mean that you will not be able to apply for funding from the government if you decide to progress onto a degree. If you are unsure about whether your existing qualification counts or would like more information on this then simply contact the Pathway Co-ordinator for a chat.

What if I am interest in a BSc in Archaeological Conservation?

Because of the specialist nature of this degree and the high level of scientific study it includes, you will need an A-Level or equivalent in Chemistry in addition to completing Exploring the Past. If you would like more information on this then please do contact the Pathway Co-ordinator.

Getting in Touch

Who should I contact for advice and guidance?

The Pathway Co-ordinator is Dr Richard Marsden. His email address is MarsdenR@Cardiff.ac.uk and his telephone number is (029) 2087 5610. Alternatively, contact Reception at the Centre for Lifelong Learning on 029 2087 0000 or learn@cardiff.ac.uk. You can also follow us on Facebook.