Archaeology and History with a Year of Study Abroad (BA)

Entry year


Archaeology and History BA (Joint Honours) offers students the opportunity to study History at higher education with an added element of experiential archaeological excavation.

The four-year BA in Archaeology and History With a Year of Study Abroad gives you the opportunity to combine the study of History with the study of the human past, from the earliest human origins through to the recent past, and to study abroad for a year at a partner institution. 

Archaeology addresses big questions about the human past for much of which no written record is available. Archaeology at Cardiff University concentrates on the British Isles, Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. You will learn with staff who undertake exciting research on all periods from early human origins to the recent past. You will also benefit from our bespoke teaching and research laboratories, dedicated geophysical and surveying equipment and a range of sophisticated equipment for the analysis of artefacts.

History at Cardiff University enables you to learn about the very different worlds of people in the past and to better understand the present. It gives you an insight into the process of change from ancient Greece and Rome, through the medieval to the modern periods. You may study the history of societies in diverse parts of the globe, from India and China, through Germany and France, to Britain, Wales and Cardiff.

The degree aims to develop your knowledge and critical understanding of the material evidence for a wide range of periods and societies, and to cultivate intellectual skills such as the ability to assess evidence critically, to evaluate different interpretations of the evidence, to construct arguments on the basis of evidence, and to express opinions cogently in speech and in writing.  We deliver a degree which offers a challenging and diverse programme of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships within the School.

Distinctive features

  • You will gain invaluable cross-cultural experience by spending a year studying abroad in a partner institution in Europe, the USA, Canada or Hong Kong. 
  • The year of study abroad introduces novel academic study opportunities and will also provide you with the life skills to compete in an increasingly global workforce, such as cultural adaptability, resilience and independence. 
  • The joint honours degree in Archaeology and History provides the training necessary for those who wish to study Archaeology or History at postgraduate level, and a valuable range of intellectual and transferable skills for other professions.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration4 years
ModeFull time with year abroad
Typical places availableThe School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically has 380 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically receives 1800 applications.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerABB - BBB including a B in History. Please note, General Studies will not be accepted. 
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerThe Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Typical International Baccalaureate offerAchieve the IB Diploma with 665 in 3 HL subjects including 6 in HL History.
Alternative qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of History, Archaeology & Religion admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.
Other requirementsYou will require GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. Alternatively, IGCSE English First Language or English Second Language will be considered at grade C. 

This is a four-year degree programme with the year of study abroad normally taken in the second year.  You will take 120 credits in each year. 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018.

Year one

In year one, you take 60 credits of Archaeology modules and 60 credits of History modules.

The archaeology modules introduce you to the material evidence for the ancient Mediterranean societies of Egypt, Greece and Rome and the study of Britain from the Ice Age to the medieval period. 

All first-year History students take the 20-credit core module ‘History in Practice’ which introduces you to the different frameworks that underpin historical research and the many different ways of writing history, while providing training in the skills necessary to practice history at undergraduate level. The module is taught through a range of case studies from different chronological periods, stretching from medieval life-writing through to Nazi Germany and up to uses of history in the media today.

The Year Three archaeology fieldwork project is taken in the summer at the end of the first year, although it is credited to the Autumn Semester of Year Three.  This project is taught through four-weeks of participation in archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.

Year two: Sandwich year

Year two comprises a choice of modules at the partner institution in Europe, the USA, Canada or Hong Kong. You will select your location in consultation with the partner institution and your personal tutor. Your choice will need to be approved by our History Board of Studies.

You will receive guidance on the choice of partner institutions to apply to and which modules to study while abroad, and will continue to be associated with a specific personal tutor in Cardiff University during that year. 

The marks obtained in this year of study abroad will be converted into their equivalent marks on the Cardiff University mark scale, and the aggregate mark for the year will count as 10% in the calculation of the final degree classification. The marks obtained in Cardiff in Year three will then count 30% in that calculation and the marks obtained in Cardiff in Year Four 60%.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Year of Study AbroadHS5000120 credits

Year three

In Year three, you take 60 credits of Archaeology and 60 credits of History.

Year three Archaeology for joint honours students includes one 10 credit fieldwork project and 50 credits from a wide range of period, topic, or technique specific modules within Archaeology and Ancient History, allowing you a great deal of flexibility to follow the subjects they are most interested in. 

The Year four fieldwork project is taken in the summer at the end of the third year, although it is credited to the autumn semester of year four.  This project is taught through four-weeks of participation in archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.   

In History, you may study past societies in diverse parts of the globe, including China, the United States, Russia, and Britain.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Archaeological Field and Practical Skills 1 and 2HS220020 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Approaches to HistoryHS170130 credits
Exploring Historical DebateHS170230 credits
The Later Roman Empire, A.D. 284-480HS170630 credits
Heresy and Dissent, 1000-1450HS171030 credits
Poverty and Relief in Medieval EuropeHS171430 credits
From Dreyfus to the National Front: France, 1898-2012HS174130 credits
The British Civil Wars and Revolution, c.1638-1649HS174230 credits
Nations, Empire and Borderlands from 1789-presentHS174930 credits
A Great Leap Forward China Transformed, 1840-presentHS175230 credits
The American RevolutionHS175430 credits
From King Coal to Cool Cymru: Society and Culture in Wales, 1939-2000HS175630 credits
Diwydiannaeth, Radicaliaeth a'r Bobl Gyffredin yng Nghymru a Phrydain mewn Oes Chwyldro, c.1789-1880HS175730 credits
Radicalism and the Common People, 1789-1880HS175830 credits
"An Empire for Liberty": Race, Space and Power in the United States, 1775-1898HS176030 credits
Urban Visions, Rural Dreams: City and Country in Britain and the United States, 1850-2000HS176430 credits
India and The Raj, 1857-1947HS176530 credits
The Making of 'World Religions' in South Asia: Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from the Fifteenth Century to the Present DayHS176630 credits
Cultures and Communities in Twentieth Century Britain: from the Beatles to Cool BritanniaHS176730 credits
The Search for an Asian Modern: Japanese History from 1800 to the Post-War EraHS176830 credits
Martyrs and Collaborators: Catholicism behind the Iron CurtainHS177230 credits
Europe, East and West, 1945-1995HS177530 credits
The Soviet Century: Russia and the Soviet Union, 1905-1991HS177630 credits
Medicine and Modern Society, 1750-1919HS179930 credits
The Archaeology of the Anglo-SaxonsHS220120 credits
Geophysical SurveyingHS220220 credits
Later Bronze Age BritainHS230510 credits
Iron Age BritainHS230620 credits
Neolithic EuropeHS231120 credits
Post-Roman Celtic BritainHS234020 credits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS235020 credits
Evidence-based PreservationHS236920 credits
Material Change in Context: OrganicsHS237320 credits
Aegean Bronze Age: Emergence to CollapseHS238720 credits
Art and Archaeology of Classical GreeceHS238920 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS240710 credits
Pharaohs of the SunHS241020 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS241410 credits
Introduction to Spatial Techniques and TechnologiesHS241810 credits
Geographic Information Systems for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241910 credits
Museums' Collections ManagementHS242120 credits
Heritage CommunicationHS242820 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS242910 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS243010 credits
Ceramics in ArchaeologyHS243120 credits
BioarchaeologyHS243220 credits
Archaeology Independent StudyHS243320 credits
Death and Burial in the Roman WorldHS430820 credits
Greek WarfareHS436620 credits
Life in Ancient RomeHS437020 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits

Year four

In Year Four, you choose a further 60 credits of Archaeology and 60 credits of History, which may include a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either Archaeology or History. 

If you wish to take your final year dissertation in Archaeology you must have taken the prerequisite Independent Archaeological Study in Year Three.  The Dissertation enables you to gain genuine research experience and develop the skills needed to research an area of interest and present your findings in a critical, analytical and coherent study. 

Final year Archaeology for joint honours students includes one 10 credit fieldwork project and 50 credits from a wide range of period, topic, or technique specific modules within Archaeology and Ancient History, allowing you a great deal of flexibility to follow the subjects you are most interested in.

The Year Four fieldwork project is taken in the summer at the end of the third year, although it is credited to the Autumn Semester of Year Four.  This project is taught through four-weeks of participation in archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.   

Module titleModule codeCredits
Archaeological Field and Practical Skills 1 and 2HS220020 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion enables you to develop in a high-quality learning environment, supported by a student-orientated approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, practicals, field trips, and one-to-one tutorials. You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from tutors.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.  Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment.

Seminars usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. They offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field.

Welsh language teaching

The History side of the degree provides significant opportunities for learning and teaching through the medium of Welsh. Subject to staff availability, seminar teaching in Welsh is available on some or all of the major core courses, and at least one Welsh language option is offered in Years Two and Three. Welsh language supervision is also available for long essays (Exploring Historical Debate) and dissertations, and students may elect to write all or some of their assessed work and examinations in Welsh.

How will I be supported?

All modules make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Central, where you can access course materials and links to related reading and online resources. In addition to the main University libraries, you will have access to the Sheila White Library, which contains additional copies of books on Greek and Roman history and culture.

You will be assigned a Personal Tutor, who is able to advise you on academic and pastoral matters in a confidential and informal manner. Personal Tutors meet with you regularly to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance, and are available for consultation at other times as needed. Opportunities for you to reflect on your abilities and performance are made available through a structured programme of Personal Development Planning and through scheduled meetings with Personal Tutors.


You will receive written feedback on all your coursework assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations and seminar work. You will also receive oral and written feedback from your supervisor on preparatory work and drafts for the Independent Study and Dissertation. Individual written feedback is provided for exams.

How will I be assessed?

Modules are assessed by various methods, including coursework essays, written reports, source criticisms, critical reviews, examinations, class tests and oral presentations.

Coursework and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments.  Assessment, including coursework, exams, and oral presentations, will test the different skills you have learned. 

Progression is built into assessment, in that you will do smaller guided tasks in Year One, as well as formative essays in Years Two and Three. Progression is also evident in the growing emphasis on lengthier, independent work culminating in an optional 10,000-word dissertation in Year Three.  Final Year modules also demand deeper engagement with independent methods of working, together with greater demands on handling critically a larger number of bibliographical tasks and items.

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of essential transferable and discipline-specific skills, including:

  • Intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning, assimilating and summarising complex information and ideas, analysing and evaluating evidence, critiquing interpretations or arguments, coping with uncertainty or incomplete data, constructing arguments based on evidence, and presenting them effectively in writing and in debate;
  • Employability skills, such as effective communication through written reports and oral presentations, contributing to group discussions, working independently and in teams, using IT resources effectively, and time management;
  • Enterprise skills, such as creativity, problem-solving, initiative, and independent thinking;
  • Research skills such as defining a project, formulating research questions, locating relevant information, and presenting the results in an oral presentation and an extended written report;
  • Discipline-specific skills such as analysing historical problems, locating and using appropriate evidence and bibliographic resources, handling literary and archaeological material, analysing images, reading inscriptions, papyri and coins, and understanding the scholarly conventions used in relation to these types of evidence;
  • practical archaeological skills, such as fieldwork skills, illustration, photography, surveying, geophysics, GIS, dating, scientific analysis of artefacts, bones, soils and plant remains, museum practice and public outreach.

In 2015/16, 94% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion believes in giving its graduates the best opportunities to find employment. We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes and have our own, in-School Workplace Placements and employability officer.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Costs for sandwich years

During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

The University will provide:

You will need suitable clothing (e.g. waterproofs and suitable footwear) and sometimes accommodation (e.g. tent and sleeping bag) for field trips and fieldwork.  The University has funds available for students experiencing financial difficulties in purchasing this equipment.

Access to appropriate facilities and resources overseas is guaranteed by the Cardiff University process of selecting and approving partner institutions.  You will continue to have full access to the electronic resources of Cardiff University during your year of study abroad.

As per Cardiff University admissions policy.  “Non-traditional” applicants (such as those returning to education via an Access course) might be interviewed for entry.

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion has a dedicated Work Placements Officer who supports students with work experience opportunities both in and out of term time and careers advice.

We offer workplace experience to our students through our four-week, funded excavation, museum and heritage work placements at the end of the first and third year. You will also be encouraged and financially supported to attend fieldwork placements abroad.

Archaeology students are encouraged to take advantage of the Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP) which provides summer placements for undergraduates in the University research environment. CUROP offers a stipend to support a student on a placement of up to eight weeks duration, working with supervision on staff-defined research projects.

There are also opportunities to work with heritage industry professionals (e.g. Cadw) as part of fieldwork placements or the Heritage Communication module and to gain further experience in working with the public of all ages via a range of initiatives (e.g. the Guerilla Archaeology outreach group, the CAER heritage project and the Share With Schools scheme).

The Years three and four fieldwork projects are taken in the summer following years one and three.  The Fieldwork projects are taught through four weeks of participation in archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.

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